Holder welcomes World Cup warm-ups
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Captain Jason Holder has underscored the importance of several one-day series leading up to next year's World Cup in England, stressing that it was vital that West Indies use them to gain confidence, momentum, and a settled line-up for the global showpiece.
In preparation for the May 30 to July 14 event in England and Wales, the Windies will play home and away ODI series against Bangladesh later this year tour India for another five matches and before hosting England early next year.
"For many of us, it will be another opportunity to play a World Cup. For some of us, it will be the first opportunity, so it's definitely something we're all looking forward to," Holder said.
"But we've got four series leading up to the World Cup, and we've got to handle those series first, think about those series and try a few combinations in terms of the make-up of our final squad.
"This year is obviously very important for us. If we can do well in these one-day series we have leading up to the World Cup, improve our ranking and gain some confidence."
The Caribbean side missed out on automatic qualifi-cation but secured one of the two spots up for grabs by finishing second in a 10-team qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe last month.
While the Windies' participation in the tournament - which involved the likes of Nepal, Hong Kong, and Papua New Guinea - was widely regarded as somewhat belittling for the two-time former World Cup winners, Holder said it had been a blessing in disguise.
"Playing in the World Cup qualifiers was not all bad in a way. I think it was an opportunity to come together as a side, get some wins under our belt, play some of the Associate nations and some of the nations, that qualified as Full [Member] nations," explained the 26-year-old, who led the Windies at the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
"It gave us some momentum. It gave us a feeling [of] winning again. We've won quite a few games in the World Cup qualifiers, and everybody got some performances in here and there, and it wasn't one or two individuals that really stood out in every particular game."
He added: "I am glad that we did qualify for the tournament, and it's just a situation for us to build on that, get some more wins under our belt leading up to the 2019 World Cup."