West Indies’ skipper Jason Holder has called for his team to raise their game and close the gap to India in the second Test beginning in Jamaica tomorrow.
The visitors had won the first Test in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs.
“Well we need to be better than the last game. Our bowling wasn’t good enough. And we obviously didn’t bat well enough. So that’s cricket as it is,” said Holder today.
“You need to bat well, you need to bowl well and in the field when the chances come you need to take it. One of the things we really stressed on was the consistency. We need to build pressure for long periods and bowl well in partnerships. But we didn’t sustain that long enough in the game. That’s some of the key areas we need to pay attention,” he said.
“We failed in both bowling and batting. In cricket you have to execute. You know in hindsight you can say a lot of things but then it boils down to execution. Bowlers have to be consistent for longer periods and batsmen just have to knock it down, occupy the crease and score. That’s the bottom-line,” he added.
There has been a lot of talk about the green pitch at Sabina Park, and the grass wasn’t taken off on Friday, a day before the match. As such, it could impact both team’s playing elevens, with Holder keeping his cards close to the chest.
“The last game we played here was against Australia (last year). There was not this amount of grass on the pitch. Previously there was grass but this pitch still ends up being on the slower side. To be fair as I said, probably it’s difficult really to predict how the pitch will play here in Jamaica. Going into this game tomorrow morning, I just need to take a final decision,” said the skipper.
Talking about 19-year-old pacer Alzarri Joseph who was included in the West Indies’ squad for this Test, he said, “To be fair I have never played against Alzarri, and never seen him play cricket live. But I have seen him play cricket on TV.”
“And there is obviously a lot of talk going behind him. He has the talent, the ability and he has pace. I support him fully. He has done what is done to get here. He got here by hard work and by performances. He will just continue doing what he has been doing before and if given the opportunity, I wish him all the best,” Joseph said.
“We just need to get behind him if he is making his debut tomorrow. If he plays in the near future, we just need to give him support. Anything is possible. We will just wait and watch what the pitch has in store for us. I will make the final decision tomorrow morning,” he added.
Despite the green grass and additional firepower in bowling, West Indies will have to put in a lot of hard work to bridge the gap in quality between the two sides. India had won here last in 2011 by 63 runs in four days.
“It’s not difficult to motivate this team. This is a young team and they are looking to make their mark. Everybody’s always looking forward to playing Test cricket. As a youngster you come to see the likes of Sir Garfield Sobers, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner, and the lot aspires to be like them. As I said it’s a very young group and everybody is eager to make a mark on international circuit so it’s not difficult to motivate them,” Holder said.
“For us it’s just about getting accustomed to international cricket, familiarizing ourselves with the conditions and putting out some good performances. We just want to look at it as three Test matches to go. It’s just a matter of making significant improvements from the last game into this one,” he signed off.