Holder urges Windies to lift their game against England

Sunday, January 13, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — West Indies Captain Jason Holder has labelled the upcoming England Test tour as a “big series” and says he hopes his side can replicate the fight they showed on their fierce rivals' last tour of the Caribbean four years ago when they drew the three-match series.

England touched down here on Friday for the three-Test rubber which bowls off at Kensington Oval on January 23. Ironically, the last time the two teams met at the venue in the final Test of the 2015 tour, the Windies pulled off a stunning five-wicket victory inside three days to force a 1-1 series stalemate.

“An England series is a big series in the context of West Indies cricket,” Holder told reporters here Friday.

“The last time they were here it was a pretty well-fought series. [We] came out with a draw in the end and there were big crowds, massive support both from England and the Caribbean, so I expect something similar this year and hopefully we can lift the trophy.”

History will not be on the Windies side, however. In their last 12 Tests against England at home, they have won just two, while losing four and drawing six.

And in the last two decades, West Indies have won just two series against England, leaving the odds in the upcoming series stacked firmly in the visitors' favour.

Despite this, Holder believes the series presented the ideal chance for the Windies to match their talents against the world number two Test side.

“It's obviously a wonderful opportunity to play against one of the top teams in the world,” the all-rounder pointed out.

“They're just coming off a really good series win against Sri Lanka. We obviously played Sri Lanka last home series and we had a pretty good tour there. I'm really looking forward to the challenge.

“England is obviously one of the better teams in Test cricket around the world and it would be really good to beat them on our home tour.”

West Indies will need a dramatic turnaround in form if they are to upset England. Last year, they won three of nine Tests while losing five. In their last two away tours, their whitewashed 2-0 by India and Bangladesh, respectively.

Holder pointed out that while there had been some excellent individual performances over the last year, the time had come for the Windies to play consistently as a team.

“I would just like us to do a lot better collectively. We've had a lot of individual success within the last two years, so I just think it is a matter of time before we put together the collective effort and hopefully lift this trophy at the end of the series,” he said.

“Over the last two years we've had some really good times on the field; we've had some really hard times on and off the field as well. I think it's a matter for us just to put it together more consistently.

“We've shown we can beat top sides in the world and we have shown we can compete against top sides in the world. It's a matter for us to be more consistent, especially in our batting. We've probably fallen short there a few times and I think if we can put some runs on the board, I back our bowling attack to bowl out England.”

The tour also comprises five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals and runs until March 10.

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