CAPTAIN of the Windies Jason Holder wants his team to make a quick start in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka and avoid playing “catch up cricket.”
The first Test bowls off at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair at 10 am, today. In recent years, Windies have been making poor starts in series and gradually improving as the series goes along, sometimes winning the final match after already losing the series.
Talking to the media after a training session at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday, Holder said starting slowly in a Test series has become the norm in Windies cricket.
“It is something that we need to address, it is something that has crept into West Indies cricket over the past few years. We tend to play catch up cricket,” Holder said.
Holder said Windies must start strongly and focusing on the basics will help the team.
“We have also noted as well that is a matter of us starting the series well, do the basics and try not to get result oriented up front, try to deal with the process and what we need in order to get a win. In order to do that, we need to perform well in all three departments,” Holder said.
The Windies selectors have stuck with a core group of players over the last two years or so, with the aim of seeing more consistent performances. Holder said the team is starting to find a level of consistency saying, “I think we are moving in that direction, if you look back at the year, we have played a lot of top teams in the last year and we have won Test matches against every top side that we have played. It is just a case for us to string together more collective efforts more often than not.”
Devon Smith has been recalled to the Windies squad for the first time in three years after dominating the regional four-day tournament last season. Holder welcomes 36-year-old Smith back into the team saying, “He has played lots of cricket over the years. He played at the international level, as well as the first class level and he has done what he needs to do in order to regain his selection.”
Smith amassed a record breaking 1,095 runs at an average of 84 with six hundreds for the Windward Islands Volcanoes last season. Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal knows they have never won a Test series in the Caribbean and Windies cannot be underrated.
“That is in the back of our minds, that we have never won a Test series here. We all know especially West Indies are really good in their home soil, so we never underestimate them. We had really good preparations before we came to West Indies. We had a really good camp in Kandy (Sri Lanka), that went really well and everyone is in good shape.”
West Indies Squad
Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jamar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith
Sri Lanka Squad
Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Mahela Udawatte, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva.
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