WEST INDIES captain Jason Holder believes this ICC Cricket World Cup will prove that his team aren’t the underdogs everyone says they are. The lanky Bajan boasted after the recent home Test series win and drawn One-Day rubber against England, along with their experienced stars like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, they’re going to make a big impact as they bowl off tomorrow in the campaign opener against Pakistan from 5.20 am local time from Trent Bridge, England.
“We’ve had the underdog title now for a long time, and to be fair I don’t mind having an underdog title, and I think if we put things in place – like we’ve been doing, in my opinion – to develop and harness the talent within the region, we won’t always have an underdog title,” he said to The Telegraph.
“(…) And it would be a situation where people put a little bit more respect on our names. But I’m sure after the last year, year and a half, two years in international cricket people are now starting to understand, well, look – the West Indies are not a walkover,” continued Holder.
He admitted this wasn’t just his mindset but a “collective belief” of the guys, echoed by their 91-run warm-up win over New Zealand on Tuesday. The Windies made 421 in under 50 overs with Shai Hope making a century, Evin Lewis and Russell cracking fifties and Holder himself adding 47. The Kiwis were bowled out for 330 with Carlos Brathwaite snatching three wickets, which Holder said showed how deep they are in terms of players ready to step up.
With Darren Bravo still to hit form, the experience of Kemar Roach and hotshots such as Shimron Hetmyer and Nicolas Pooran to pick from, Holder has the welcomed problem of depth versus the Pakistanis, who’ve been struggling recently after a 5-0 ODI whitewash against Australia. Nonetheless, with players such as Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam in their ranks, Holder knows his team can’t underestimate their opponents. However, he does see an opening victory, as well as a solid performance in the tournament, as mere first steps to moving up the ICC rankings.
“If we are hungry and we’re detailed about what we’re looking to do we can become number one. No doubt about it. I think we’ve got the talent. We’re sure we can beat top sides in the world. It’s just a matter of finding consistency. Consistency will come in all your actions. So when you have consistent preparation, consistency in planning, consistent analysis then I think you can have more and more consistent performances,” he concluded.