Holder calls for improvements
HARARE, Zimbabwe, (CMC):
Captain Jason Holder hopes the key areas addressed during the recent one-week camp in South Africa will see West Indies turn the page on their dodgy One-Day International form in the Tri-Nations Series here, which bowled off yesterday.
West Indies were swept 3-0 by Pakistan last month and have now lost 12 of their last 16 games in the last four bilateral series. They were good enough to reach the final of the Tri-Nations Series against Australia and South Africa in the Caribbean earlier this year, but lost to the Aussies.
"I think it is a situation where we need to come together as a team. We've struggled in the last few one-day series in terms of batting the 50 overs and that is one area we have addressed," Holder said ahead of his side's first game tomorrow.
"In terms of the bowling, we need to be a lot better in the first power play, and then we have to close in the last 10 overs. Those are the significant areas we have paid some attention to.
"I think once we do that and we string some big partnerships [together]. In the past, I think we have found ourselves getting a lot of starts but not carrying on - we leave less for the middle and lower order to do."
West Indies open their campaign against Sri Lanka before taking on the hosts on Saturday in their second outing.
LAST YEAR'S MATCH
Last year, the Caribbean side suffered a 3-0 whitewash away to the Sri Lankans, and Holder said they were expecting a strong challenge from them again, along with a tough showing from Zimbabwe.
"It's going to be tough. Obviously, they are two good teams. Sri Lanka play good cricket, and, obviously, are of a higher rank than us, and Zimbabwe have a point to prove," the all-rounder explained.
"They are playing in their backyard as well, so they will be [familiar] with their conditions. It's a situation where we have to assess as early as possible and go out and play some good aggressive cricket."
West Indies endured a long difficult tour of the United Arab Emirates recently, where they were trounced in the Twenty20, one-day and Test series by Pakistan.
Their only success came in the final Test in Sharjah when they produced an admirable performance to win by five wickets.
Holder said the camp in Potchefstroom had been a great chance for the unit to re-assess.
"We had a good week in Potchefstroom. I thought the guys had a few days off to catch themselves and recuperate after the long series in Dubai," he said.
"It's just a situation where we got what we wanted out of the training camp and moving into the [Tri-Nations Series]. I think we are much better prepared."