The current West Indies squad may not have much experience of playing in India but captain Jason Holder believes his team can take on the world number one side like it has done against other top teams such as England. After a memorable win against England at Leeds last year, the West Indies have had a decent 2018 as they drew with Sri Lanka at home before beating the visiting Bangladesh side.
The unit is not short on talent but it has little idea of playing in India with only five members of the 15-man squad having featured in a Test in the country.
Skipper Holder, who himself has not played a Test in India, however, remains confident.
“It is a great challenge and everyone is up for it. We have pushed top teams in the last few years. This group has shown what they can do. We are just focussed on playing good cricket and would not like to be drawn in personal battles,” said Holder ahead of the first Test beginning here Thursday.
The team is clear with its game plans having spent a week in Dubai before playing a two-day warm-up in Baroda.
“Patience plays a massive role in India. We need to stick to games plans and not get into one-on-one battles. We have discussed how we are going to score runs against their quality attack,” said the 26-year-old, who has played 34 Tests.
“One of the things I spoke about was patience, capitalising on every opportunity to score. Not be reckless at the same time but have a clear game plan to score.”
Pace is West Indies’ strength though they have been hit by the absence of Kemar Roach in the series opener after the lead fast bowler had to rush back home following the death of his grandmother.
The pitch here has bit of grass covering and Holder is not complaining.
“It (pitch) was covered when I came today but there seems to be a bit of grass. The practice facilities are brilliant in Gujarat. But like I said cricket is played on the day. It is about executing your plans,” he said.
The West Indies have produced a battery of world-class T20 players including Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard and since they are a force to reckon with in the shortest format, there is a perception that the region’s players are not attracted to the five-day format.
At least in the current setup, Holder said there are many who rate Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game.
“Funny you have asked me that question. Couple of days ago I was just chatting around in the dressing room. I highlighted how much of a joy and pride I feel in playing Tests. I love all formats but Test is my favourite,” he said.
“It was shocking to know that most, if not everyone, said that they want to be successful Test players. Even during CPL T20, you see young players showing eagerness to play Test cricket.
“There is often talk about Test cricket dying but if youngsters coming in the Caribbean are looking forward to play Tests, the format will stay for a long long time,” said the captain.
In the end, Holder paid a glowing tribute to outgoing coach Stuart Law, who will part ways with the team after the India and Bangladesh tour.
“He has definitely brought in a lot of order to West Indies cricket. He has put the structures in place. He will be missed and I wish him the best,” he added.