Holder makes ambitious statement on West Indies Test rankings

By December 02, 2019
West Indies Test captain Jason Holder West Indies Test captain Jason Holder

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder wants his side to be among the best in the world by July 2021 and goes further to expect a top-five ranking by then.

There was a time when that kind of brash talk would have been expected from a West Indian but not given the kind of lean times the region has had with bat and ball in the last 25 years.

Holder was speaking after the West Indies won its first Test match under new coach Phil Simmons in Lucknow, India, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) started the World Test Championship on August 1, 2019, creating a league for the top nine Test-playing teams over two years with the top two teams qualifying for a World Test League Championship Final. The World Test Championship begins again in July of 2021.

That being said, the West Indies did not start their World Test Championship campaign very well, losing to India in the Caribbean in a largely one-sided affair.

But now, with the dominance the West Indies showed against Afghanistan, despite it not being a World Test Championship encounter, hope abounds once again.

"I think by the end of the Test Championship, I don't see it being impossible for us to be fourth or fifth in the world," said Holder.

"That would be a significant achievement in a two-year period. We've got some tough series coming up. We've got England, then South Africa coming to the Caribbean, then we've got New Zealand… all good cricket sides. But I don't think it's beyond us to beat them. We've just got to make sure we keep building and developing. Once we do that, we can compete with any side in the world. A realistic target in two years would be to be ranked three or four in the world."

According to Holder, while the game was not part of the World Test Championship, there was enough shown by the West Indies to offer a road map of what needed to be done to get into the top five.

"I've said it in the last couple of series we've played: more responsibility needs to be taken by our batters," Holder said.

"Once they do that and take the bull by the horns, I think our bowling attack has shown it can compete with any attack in the world. We've shown glimpses of brilliance, which is all well and good, but consistency is the name of the game. In order to be a world-class team, you have to be consistent with your batting. You have to get 20 wickets of course, but you have to set it up with the bat. First innings' count for a lot. If we can put teams under pressure with our first innings scores, more often than not, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world."

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Related items

  • Smith 'finds hands' as Australia talisman prepares for India tussle Smith 'finds hands' as Australia talisman prepares for India tussle

    Australia star batsman Steve Smith believes he has found the rhythm and technique that had gone missing from his game, just in time for the home series against India.

    The former captain felt the disruption of the COVID-19 lockdown in his batting, with his once-assured mastery of the crease replaced by a sense something was not quite right.

    It is only in the past week, he said on Tuesday, that Smith has begun to feel like his old self.

    After struggling for form in the recent Indian Premier League, where he captained Rajasthan Royals, Smith is out to remind India what he is really about.

    The 31-year-old said: "The past few days I have found something... I have found my hands which I am extremely excited about.

    "I had a big smile on my face after training the other day, I walked past [Australia assistant coach] Andrew McDonald and said, 'I've found them again'."

    The rejuvenated Smith has even been sharpening up his batting skills in his hotel bedroom, which has not been overwhelmingly popular with team-mates.

    He said: "I've done a bit of shadow batting in the hotel and copped a few messages last night saying, 'stop tapping the bat down'."

    An in-form Smith would be a formidable opponent for any touring side, and a hugely valuable asset for Australia, whose three-match ODI series against India starts in Sydney on Friday.

    That will be followed by three Twenty20 clashes and four Test matches.

    Smith explained his technical tweaks, saying: "Theoretically it is a simple thing, but it is just getting that feel and the look of the bat behind my toe the right way and the way my hands come up on the bat.

    "It's hard to explain but it just hasn't quite been right until probably two days ago and I found a little something and everything just clicked in.

    "It's taken me a lot longer than usual, I don't know why… I pretty much didn't bat for four months at the start of COVID."

    Smith said he was "pretty disappointed" with his form for Rajasthan, for whom he scored just 311 runs in 14 innings at an average of 25.91, with only three half-centuries.

    "There are those players around the world that can hit sixes at will, and I'm probably not one of those," he said.

    "For me it's about playing proper cricket shots and hitting the gaps and manipulating the field as much as I can, and I probably went away from that a bit in the IPL."

  • More than 80 women sign up for CWI Coaching Foundation Course More than 80 women sign up for CWI Coaching Foundation Course

    Women’s cricket will take centre-stage in the coming week as Cricket West Indies (CWI) continues to unfold its plan to grow the game and create more opportunities for females who are keen to develop their skills and help increase participation in the sport, at all levels.

    CWI will deliver a series of free events — featuring several former players and administrators — which include an Online Women’s Foundation Coaching Course for over 80 present and past players, an interview series with special guests that explores the past, present and future of West Indies women’s cricket, as well as several Cricket Development Workshops held in Antigua. The aim of these initiatives is to engage, inspire and recruit more female players, coaches and course facilitators.

    CWI President, Ricky Skerritt, will address the participants at the start of the virtual training session on Tuesday evening. In response to a question following his speech at the recent UWI Frank Worrell Lecture series, Skerritt promised that West Indies Women’s Cricket would soon see an increased attention and focus which he said should help vitalize Women’s cricket and strengthen the female cricketer’s pathway from grassroots to the international stage. The President highlighted the recent appointment of Courtney Walsh, as one of the key steps already taken.

    Chris Brabazon, the CWI’s Coaching Development Manager, will be part of the CWI team who will be delivering these events in collaboration with Territorial Boards, Ministries of Sport and a host of past greats and contributors to West Indies cricket.

    “In what is a hugely exciting time for women’s cricket with the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19s and Cricket World Cups on the horizon, we want to ensure that women and girls from across the Caribbean feel that they can be part of the game in a playing, coaching or administrative capacity at any level as their involvement is crucial to a thriving and sustainable cricket pathway,” Brabazon said.

    “The response to this week’s Online Foundation Course has been overwhelming with over 80 women signed up to take part in the event which is a clear reflection of the passion that exists for the game. The course will be held online, via Zoom, over two evenings due to the present COVID-19 restrictions.

    “We will also be releasing a series of interviews and presentations that highlight the rich heritage of women’s cricket, the current landscape and the future direction which will bring together some of the ‘best of the best’ to share their views including newly appointed West Indies Women’s Coach, Courtney Walsh, Jimmy Adams, Merissa Aguilleira and Anne Browne-John.”

  • Darren Bravo says Red Force captaincy aided in his development, maturity Darren Bravo says Red Force captaincy aided in his development, maturity

    West Indies batsman Darren Bravo believes that being appointed captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in January aided in his development and his maturity as a cricketer.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.