Windies not fazed by underdog tag
BIRMINGHAM, England (CMC):
Inexperienced West Indies will hope to silence their many detractors when they clash with a dominant England in the historic day/night opening Test at Edgbaston here on Thursday, in what is likely to be their sternest challenge in recent times.
Written off long before arriving here for the three-Test series, the Caribbean side are expected to be put under intense pressure from an England squad still buoyant from their emphatic series win over South Africa last month.
Further, the Windies have not won a Test here in 17 years and are also without a series win in nearly three decades since the incomparable Sir Vivian Richards presided over a 3-1 victory in 1988.
Captain Jason Holder, on his first tour of England since taking over the helm of the side two years ago, told reporters here yesterday that despite being underdogs, he had been boosted by his side's form in the recent first-class tour matches.
"We're obviously huge underdogs. England are a very good cricket team. They've played some very good cricket, and a number of their players are in good form," Holder said.
West Indies have showed signs of form in the tour matches, with four batsmen - Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, and Kieran Powell - all getting
hundreds in the drawn game against Derbyshire last week.
Seamer Kemar Roach, on his first Test tour in nearly two years following a spell on the sidelines due to injury and loss of form, started the tour with a five-wicket haul against Essex, while rookie 20-year-old speedster Alzarri Joseph shone with a four-wicket haul against Kent.
Pacer Holder, who bowled well in the Derbyshire day/night game, said it was important that the Windies brought all the facets of their game together, especially since they would be playing under lights with the pink ball.
"I think our bowling has really carried us throughout the last few Test matches. We've got people like Shannon Gabriel, who has had a pretty decent year, myself I haven't been doing too badly," he pointed.
"It's just for our batsmen to make some runs. We've struggled in the past primarily with our batting, but so far on this tour we've been doing really well so I'm expecting things from the batsmen."
The Windies enter the series with a less-than-stellar recent record, with just three wins in their last 23 Tests and without a Test series win in three years.
The Test, the first to be played with the pink ball in England, bowls off at 2 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern Caribbean time).
WEST INDIES - Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Braithwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.