Holder feels bowlers can trouble England’s new Faces
Jason Holder, the Windies captain, believes his fast bowlers can help the “huge underdogs” make life uncomfortable for England during their upcoming three-match Test series starting in Birmingham on Thursday (August 16) with the inaugural day-night Test in England.
Although Windies come into the encounter having played a day-night Test already, where they lost by 56 runs to Pakistan in Dubai in October 2016, their away record since 1997 looks dismal — excluding contests against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, they have just three wins out of 86 away Tests, losing 66 and drawing 17.
Their most recent encounter against England saw them draw the series 1-1 at home after Colin Graves, the then chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, had labelled the Windes side ‘mediocre’.
Their last Test win on English soil was at Edgbaston itself, in 2000 and it would constitute a major upset if they defeated an England side who come into this match on the back of a dominant 3-1 series win at home to South Africa.
But Holder believes an emerging pace attack can trouble an England top order where only Alastair Cook and Root are currently certain of their places. England will be fielding a debutant opener in Mark Stoneman, while Tom Westley and Dawid Malan have yet to cement their places at No. 3 and 5 respectively.
“I think for us, it’s mainly just to make it as uncomfortable as possible for their senior players … and put some pressure on the junior guys who are coming in to make their mark,” said Holder. “I think our bowling has really carried us throughout the last few Test matches.
“Shannon Gabriel has had a pretty decent year; I haven’t been doing too badly, and we’ve got young Alzarri Joseph and Miguel Cummins. Kemar Roach is actually showing some very, very good form –- so I’m really confident in our bowling.”
Gabriel took 15 wickets at an average of 18.8 during the home Test series against Pakistan in April 2017, with the 20-year-old Joseph taking 10 wickets at an average of 28.4. But Windies still suffered a 2-1 reverse in a three-match contest — their sixth straight Test series loss.
“It’s just for our batsmen to make some runs,” said Holder, after four Windies batsmen scored hundreds in the floodlit warm-up match against Derbyshire. “We’ve struggled in the past, primarily with our batting, but so far on this tour we’ve been doing really well. So I expect good things from the batters.”
Unlike their last encounter, there hasn’t been any inflammatory remarks from the England camp so far.
“I don’t think there’s anything to spark that,” said Holder, whose squad remain without several star names — the legacy of a bitter dispute with Caribbean cricket chiefs.
“But we expect a good contest … the English come pretty hard, and we expect to go back just as hard at them. We’re obviously huge underdogs. We’ve got guys who are showing signs they can compete at Test level.” AFP