Holder, Windies look to improve at Headingley
LEEDS, England (CMC):
Jason Holder admitted that an improved performance is essential to restoring confidence in his battered West Indies side when they face England in the second Test, starting today at Headingley.
The Windies captain said that his side had spent the last few days in deep introspection as they seek to recover from a demoralising innings and 209-run defeat inside three days in the day/night first Test, which ended on Saturday at Edgbaston in Birmingham, and derision from friends and foes.
"We have copped a lot of criticism from West Indians, the English, and pretty much everybody else, to be honest," said Holder to a large pool of reporters on the eve of this match.
"It is something that could inspire and motivate some players, and it can break some players, but it is important that we stick together as a side. We must be able to lift those that the criticism might break, and it must drive those that it motivates."
Holder said: "My biggest role as captain is to make sure that each individual stays true to himself and gets the best out of himself to help this team."
West Indies conceded over 500 runs in the first Test and failed to reached 200 in their two turns at the crease, but they will be looking to buck their feeble recent record to defy Joe Root's side.
"We think it's more of a patience thing, with our bowlers having a consistent plan and sticking to it, and for our batsman to get stuck in and fight it out," said Holder.
Conditions are expected to be unfriendly for the visitors, with temperatures between 16 to 19 degrees Celsius forecast and a green pitch tailored to suit the home team rolled out.
"It's not going to be easy," said Holder. "We're coming up against a very good side and are relatively inexperienced, but having said that, I think over the last few days, we've got guys opening up their minds to change.
"As a bowling unit, I don't think we were as patient as we would have liked to be. We lacked consistency, and it was difficult to set fields as the England players scored both sides of the wicket.
"As a batting unit, we've got to know where our off stump is and be a lot more selective in our stroke play. We do not want to complicate it too much but try to keep it as simple as possible."
West Indies have not announced a final 11, but regular spearhead Shannon Gabriel and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo would be under strong consideration for places in the line-up.
On the flip side, England have made the bold move of announcing their final 11 on the eve of the match with fast bowler Chris Woakes, now fully recovered from a side strain he sustained in June, making the cut ahead of Toby Roland-Jones.
West Indies, however, can take hope in the knowledge that this venue has not been a happy hunting ground for England of late. They have won just two of their last seven Tests here.
Scheduled start: 5 a.m. Jamaica time.