Windies skipper Holder to focus on new standards for Test squad

Bridgetown (Barbados), Sep 15 (IANS) West Indies Test captain Jason Holder says he intends to place a heavy emphasis on standards and believes this will be key to getting the best out of the regional squad.

Speaking during his first official media conference on Monday, the 23-year-old said he had already discussed this area with head coach Phil Simmons and hoped this would mark a departure from the past, reports CMC.

“We need to set standards. The first thing we need to do is set a standard in the dressing room where we don’t fall below,” Holder told journalists here.

“It is something I have had a lot of discussion with the coach about. It is important that we set this standard so guys know where we are at the moment, what is the benchmark and know that we just can’t fall below it.

“Once we do that and get players to buy into that theory, then moving forward it should be a lot easier.”

He continued: “In the past we have been a bit haywire and we’ve not been settled in a sense where we have a standard, and we have encountered a lot of hiccups here and there.

“I think once we can clarify the whole situation as to what is required as an international cricketer and we set the standard, it should be a lot easier going forward.”

West Indies have struggled on and off the field in recent years, and have plummeted in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings in both the Test and one-day formats. They lie eighth in the Test rankings and ninth in ODIs, and are now set to miss out on the 2017 Champions Trophy.

They have endured a tough year with series losses in South Africa and more recently, to Australia, but Holder believes they can win on the tour of Sri Lanka which starts next month.

“Sri Lanka’s just lost their two (stalwarts) in Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara so they are basically in a rebuilding phase where they trying to look for young players to come in and fill those boots,” Holder explained.

“We’re in a similar situation where we’ve just lost players like Shiv (Chanderpaul), Chris (Gayle) is out with injury and we have a pretty young side at this present time so it should be a really good series, one that should give us a gauge of where we are at and also where we need to be at the end of it.

“I’m looking forward to it, I’m sure the other guys are looking forward to it as well and I expect a very good encounter with us coming out on top at the end of it.”

At 23, Holder is the second youngest ever West Indies Test captain. He has just eight Tests and 33 ODIs under his belt and is a relative newcomer to international cricket, after making his debut two years ago in Australia.

However, he is confident he will receive support from all quarters, especially from the West Indies Cricket Board.

“I think the support is there. I have a pretty good management team at hand. I’ve gotten emails and congratulatory stuff from a lot of people from the board so that’s pleasing in a sense,” he noted.

“It’s no doubt I (don’t) think there is a time where I can’t lean on the board for support. I think the board should be there to assist me in any way and I expect their assistance as my journey goes on.”

West Indies leave month-end for the tour of Sri Lanka which runs from October 8 to November 14.

The series will comprise two Tests, three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20s.

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