Saturday, 23 October 2021

Jason Holder remains wary of downtrodden Pakistan


NOTTINGHAM: Despite the ground history at Trent Bridge, and their opponents’ questionable form in the lead-up, West Indies captain Jason Holder isn’t getting complacent ahead of his side’s opening clash of the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup.

They will face off against Pakistan, who have lost their last 11 completed ODIs, as well as their one completed warm-up, against Afghanistan. Nonetheless, Holder wasn’t getting ahead of himself, speaking the day before the two sides face off, and was quick to point out his own team’s frailties rather than focusing on Pakistan’s.

“We just want to be as professional as we possibly can and not take anything for granted,” he said. “We just assess who we’re playing against, formulate our plans and look to execute them. You try to pinpoint particular areas that you can attack.

“Us as a bowling group, we just want to be as disciplined as we possibly can. In the past we’ve been a bit inconsistent and just generally when you’re just sitting back and analysing the game, we just want to be ticking our box in terms of being consistent and being ruthless.”

Even if Holder is playing it cool, pundits and West Indies fans have been purring about the possibilities abundant in the Caribbean side. In their final warm-up game against New Zealand, the Windies racked up 412, and with Trent Bridge having been the scene of the two highest team scores in ODI history – one of which came against Pakistan – some have speculated that we could be about to witness ODI cricket’s first 500-plus total.

“I don’t want to sit before a game and say we’re looking to score 500 or 600,” Holder said. “I just want to play it as we see it as assess the conditions like any other game. I think where the game has gone now, especially in England here, there have been some high totals, but there have been totals that are relatively low scoring. It can happen.”

Still, while Holder didn’t want to make any bold claims, he was keen to talk up the merits of his team, who have come from being outsiders to being rated by many as dark horses to take home the title.

“Every player is in a good frame of mind,” he said. “Everybody is playing with a smile on their face, and I think that’s how we play our best cricket. We’re fearless, we enjoy what we’re doing and we enjoy one another’s company. We’ve got an atmosphere that we would like to create, and we’ve got the energy going into this tournament that we would want to have.”

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