PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – West Indies captain Jason Holder has called for more consistency from his batting group as the side gets ready to face mighty India in a five-match one-day series starting here next week.
The Caribbean side struggled throughout the recent three-match rubber against minnows Afghanistan, losing the first game and winning the second, before the series decider was abandoned due to heavy rain in St Lucia.
Not a single Windies batsman managed a half-century in the series with Shai Hope getting a best of 48 not out in the second game, and Holder said this was an area that needed to be addressed.
“We are still looking for a bit more consistency, not only from him (Hope) but the entire group. I think one of our biggest things is to build partnerships. We have to find ways to build parnerships against quality bowling attacks,” he pointed out.
“I felt Afghanistan had a really good bowling attack – it obviously showed in the two games which we played. But having said that, I think we have more than enough talent and ability in the dressing room to counter that.
“I think going into this series here now, it is a perfect opportunity to stamp your authority. India are now in the Champions Trophy final so they are obviously playing some good cricket so we have quality opposition to do well against.
West Indies entered the recent series as heavy favourites but were stunned in the opening ODI when they went down by 63 runs, failing to chase down a modest 213 for victory at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.
However, they rebounded to win the second a couple days later at the same venue even though their batsmen laboured before overhauling a paltry 136 in the 40th over.
Despite the below-par showing, Holder said he was not discouraged as they had been some positive signs.
“It wasn't a bad series but obviously we would have wanted a better end result in terms of a series win but unfortunately the last game was rained out,” the all-rounder said.
“I think the two games we had in our grasps – obviously we let the first one slip. I thought the bowling was exceptional on that tour, backed up by some pretty decent stuff in the field.
“Obviously we didn't bat probably the way we wanted to but that's obviously an area we needed to tighten up on and and see if we can build some partnerships going into this series against India.”
The Indians will pose a completely different challenge to Afghanistan, and could arrive in the Caribbean possibly as ICC Champions Trophy winners, as they face off against Pakistan in Sunday's final in London.
As a result, Holder said the Windies needed to boost their preparation in all areas in order to be ready for India.
“As a team, I think the focus should be more mental strategies going into the games,” he stressed.
“We got a few days before we get going with some testing and what's not but the main priority for me is cricket and at the end of the day we've got to be right to play cricket.
“So I'm looking forward to the practice sessions. We're going to try to have a practice game and make use of those opportunities to get some good form going into the series.”