Holder wants unit kept together
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – Captain Jason Holder has urged his West Indies side to “stay hungry” after they broke a prolonged slump to beat Pakistan by five wickets in the third and final Test Thursday and post their first Test win in 19 months.
The all-rounder said the Windies had the makings of a very good unit but stressed it was important to build on the Sharjah success and begin to produce more consistent performances in the future.
Holder, who was presiding over his first Test win, also called for the unit to be kept together as he believed they had the potential to become a dominant Test force.
“This is a very good group of guys. We’ve shown glimpses that we can compete, we’ve shown glimpses we have what it takes to compete at this level,” said Holder, who turns 25 on Saturday.
“For us, it’s just a matter of consistency. We mustn’t get complacent, we have no reason to be complacent. One Test victory by all means is not enough. It’s a situation where we have to stay hungry and that’s something I really believe we have in the group.
“Everybody is young, everybody is looking to make their mark on the international circuit so everybody is hungry for success. And one thing I really enjoy in this dressing room is that everybody is happy for each other’s success.”
He continued: “It’s just a situation where I think we need to stay together, we need to be given some time together as a group, to gel, to understand one another, to play some good solid cricket.
“We’ve definitely shown it here, we’ve competed against India [earlier this year], we had a good last few Test matches in Australia [last year] so it’s a situation where we need to string together consistent performances over an extended period of time.
“I have no doubt we will get back on the right track in order to take West Indies cricket back up to the top.”
West Indies completed an emphatic victory at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium when they easily chased down a modest target of 153.
They resumed the final day on 114 for five still requiring 39 runs for victory but opener Kraigg Brathwaite and wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich both stroked 60 not out in stretching their overnight unbroken sixth wicket stand to 87, to rule out any chance of defeat.
Holder said that after losses in the first Test in Dubai and the second Test in Abu Dhabi, he was proud of the way West Indies had rebounded to win here.
“If I could sum up my feelings right now in one word I’d just say proud. Proud of the character which the guys showed, proud of the fight they showed, on the back of a lot of criticism here and there,” he explained.
“It’s been a tough year and for the guys to come out in this last Test match and perform the way they did – and not only this Test match. I thought we were competitive the entire series and just to show that commitment, that will power, that never-say-die attitude, it’s really, really commendable and makes me feel really proud.”
He added: “One Test match victory does not make us a world-beating side but it’s just a situation where we’ve shown people we can do it. We’ve competed with Pakistan throughout this entire series.
“We fell short in Dubai, I thought we were basically outplayed in Abu Dhabi but still managed to come up with one of the highest fourth innings totals there in that Test match and to come here now and just finish an actual game on the winning side is just a wonderful feeling.”
Seamer Holder played a pivotal role in the victory, coming up with his maiden career Test five-wicket haul to help bundle Pakistan out for 208 in their second innings, and put the Windies in command.
He said the performance was an inspiring personal achievement.
“Playing cricket for West Indies is something I always dreamt of doing and I’m here today playing cricket for West Indies and to be able to win a Test match – win any cricket game for West Indies – means a lot to me personally,” he noted.
“But to be a big factor in terms of contributing to the team win is obviously a heartening feeling for me and one which I really, really take to heart and will go a long way for me going forward in the future.”