Leading from the front in this mini-revival is Jason Holder. The skipper delivered compelling performances with both the bat and the ball. Not many talk about him, but currently, the tall Barbadian is the No. 1 Test all-rounder in the ICC rankings. If the Caribbeans are struggling in the third Test, it’s because they are missing their inspirational captain who was suspended for a Test due to a poor over rate in the second Test. Holder spoke to TOI from St. Lucia.
Did you expect a 2-0 scoreline after the first two Tests?
When we began the series and put runs on the board, we definitely had a chance. I didn’t expect England to fall the way they did in Barbados and then in Antigua which is a tough surface. Credit, however, to our bowlers, who bowled really well and put them under pressure.
What is the main reason for your superb show in the series?
We were very disciplined in our bowling. Our fast bowlers really ran in and hit the straps and then when we batted, I felt we did well. There were lots of plays and misses in this series but we stuck to our game plans and hung in as long as we possibly could to wear down the English bowlers. That, for me, was the difference.
Do you think we will see a resurgence of WI cricket now?
If you look back to this team’s progress over the 18-24 months, you would have seen glimpses of brilliance. We’ve been in top ranked series and our players have had tremendous individual success. Now it’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a unit and gathering more experience and gaining knowledge and we’ll definitely see more improvement as we go up.
Your own performance with both the bat and the ball has been outstanding in the past couple of years. What is the reason that you have found so much success in this period?
I have a lot more clarity in terms of what I want to do and what I want to achieve. I have definitely developed a bit more patience, especially in the context of Test match bowling and batting as well. Earlier in my career, I was chasing a few things and now I’ve understood that it’s a game of patience and time. I was able to sit back and analyse where I was and I felt I needed to add a bit more patience to my game.
Can we say that you are the best all-rounder currently?
Well, statistics would show that I’m probably right up there. I’m ranked the No. 1 all-rounder in Test cricket. It was one goal to achieve and now it is to stay at the top and continue to perform for the West Indies team. Another aspiration is to be the No. 1 all-rounder in ODIs and if I get back to the T20 circuit, I would like to see myself as the No. 1 there as well.
The Windies pace attack in this series – Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and you – was superb. It reminded fans about the time when their pace attack was truly lethal. Is this the best attack the Windies have had in a long time?
That’s a difficult question, but in terms of what we’ve now got in the Caribbean and with where world cricket is, if you look at the stats of the past 18 months, I think we’re now right up there with the top pace attacks in the world. Our fast bowlers are now a lot more experienced. They’ve played quite a lot of cricket and have definitely had personal success.
How tough was it for Joseph Alzzari to continue to play in the Test match, considering the personal tragedy that he had suffered?
He was exceptional. He has held up strongly for his family, for himself and for his team as well. I don’t think many people would have been able to get out of bed or leave home to come and play cricket after getting such tragic news but he has been an inspiration for everyone. He has shown tremendous strength and it’s something everybody in his team can draw upon whenever we face tough times. We can look up to someone like Alzzari.
(THIS INTERVIEW WAS FACILITATED BY THE BROADCASTER OF THE WEST INDIES-ENGLAND SERIES)