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Holder demands fearless cricket from confident West Indies

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Holder demands fearless cricket from confident West Indies

Postby BallOil » Tue May 28, 2019 11:16 pm

West Indies captain Jason Holder has urged his side to enjoy themselves during the World Cup and put a smile on the faces of their fans by playing fearless cricket.

The Windies produced a blockbuster display with the bat in their final warm-up game as they piled on 421 runs against New Zealand in a 91-run victory at the Bristol County Ground.

Shai Hope smashed a century off 84 balls, with Evin Lewis (50) and Andre Russell (54) also contributing quickfire fifties.

But while talk has already turned to the 500 barrier being broken during this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Holder is reluctant to put pressure on his players - instead calling on them to play with freedom.

“I think every team has got the potential to break records, I think the conditions here in England are so that you never know what to expect,” he said. “You have to be disciplined as a bowling unit.

“I’ve got little to no expectation for the group, that’s the method that we want to approach it, no expectation and just to play fearless and enjoyable cricket.

“I think one of the things that has hampered us sometimes in the past is that we’ve not really enjoyed it to the extent that I think we should be, it’s our living, our job.

“We have put so many smiles on people’s faces back home in the Caribbean and for me, I just want to continue to do that. I think we’re at our best when we play with freedom and a smile.

“All the teams are well balanced and I think the conditions level the playing field. They are very good for batting and we will probably see a few very high scoring games.

“I think as the tournament progressed you could potentially see some scores coming down, but once you go well in these conditions and limit sides to 400, 350 is probably par.”

While Hope took the headlines with his milestone, Holder also reserved praise for the performance of veteran batsman Chris Gayle after the opener bashed 32 from 22 balls.

“That performance should give the entire group a lot of confidence, I thought we batted really well and we kept the momentum going through the innings,” he said.

“Credit to the way Shai played, I thought Chris was outstanding at the very beginning, getting us off to a good start, and then Andre [Russell] played a really good knock as well.

“We had the foundation up front, I think we hit every target that we set to hit and the beautiful thing is that we had set batters in most of the time and wickets in hand to launch at the very end.”

Attention now turns to the Windies’ opening game of the tournament against Pakistan at Trent Bridge, with Holder admitting his players have given him plenty of selection headaches.

“It’s still a dilemma we’re faced with but it’s a good position to be in,” added Holder. “Everyone is firing and you saw that the batters really stepped up and played nicely.

“I thought the bowlers were outstanding as well. To defend on such a good wicket and a small field it can be difficult and we went both sides of the park last time against South Africa.

“It was good to see the bowlers come back and show a lot more discipline, I thought stepped up the plans we set up and we executed really well, so it’s a good dilemma to be in.

“In terms of the overall picture of the squad, if you have a strong bench then you tend to go well in tournaments as long as this one and we will put our heads together in the next few days.”
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