Holder to focus on raising WI cricket standards
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
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, 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.
"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 Monday.
"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 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 ICC 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're 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."
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 ODIs and two Twenty20s.