RAJKOT: This has been a good year for West Indies Test cricket. They had a decent home run, beating Bangladesh 2-0 and drawing 1-1 with Sri Lanka. But even more importantly, a dozen players signed contracts for the longest version of the game.
Ever since the inception of T20s, the burgeoning leagues across the globe have lured away players from the Caribbean the most. This new development has given skipper Jason Holder hope for the future.
“Just a couple of days ago, we were sitting down in the dressing room to chat as part of a group. For me personally, it is a thing of joy and pride to play Test cricket.
“Of all three formats, Test is my favourite and it was really good to see most if not everyone saying the same thing. And in recent chats as well around the Caribbean Premier League and even prior to the event, the amount of young players we saw who are eager to play Test cricket is remarkable,” Holder said a day before the first Test in Rajkot.
“There’s been a craze that Test cricket is dead around the world but if you have young players coming through such as the ones in the Caribbean who are really looking forward and really want to play a Test match for West Indies, I’m sure Test cricket will be here for a very long time.”
Part of the reason behind the apparent apathy towards Tests cricket has been their poor form. Since Holder taking up the mantle of captain in 2016, the visitors have managed a meagre seven wins from 26 Tests. And those results have not had a positive effect. Something the 26-year-old feels needs to change.
“We should not stress too much, think too much of the results. We have been through some tough times in the past but everybody has stuck together, particularly here in this Test group. We should just try to look at the process, and be confident to be able to express ourselves.”
But recently, things have been on the up. They secured a famous win over England at Headingley and came close to beating Sri Lanka at Bridgetown and Pakistan in Dubai. Now after an encouraging home season, they have come to face the numero uno Test side, knowing that since 2002, India haven’t lost a single Test to the West Indies. Of the 19 matches played, India have won 10, while the remaining have ended in draws. Another factor against them is the fact only five members of the 15-man squad have played a Test in India.
“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 focussing on playing good cricket and would not like to be drawn in personal battles. Patience plays a massive role in India. We need to stick to game plans and not get into one-on-one battles. We have discussed how we are going to score runs against their quality attack. One of the things I spoke about was patience, capitalising on every opportunity to score. Not be reckless, and at the same time have a clear game plan to score.” Incidentally, Holder, himself, has not played a Test in India.