Holder staying grounded
MANCHESTER, England (CMC):
Uncapped fast bowler Chemar Holder says he is confident but will not be putting himself under any pressure, as expectations surrounding a possible Test debut next week continue to mount.
The 22-year-old forced his way into the 14-man Test squad for the tour of England after impressing in the recent West Indies first-class championship, where he emerged as the leading pacer with 36 wickets from eight games.
Some former players have called for his inclusion in the opening Test at the Ageas Bowl, starting next Wednesday, but Holder said it was important that he remained grounded.
“I have a lot of confidence coming off the regional four-day competition that’s just gone, but also, I have to be mindful that these are whole different conditions that I’m playing in, so I’m still doing a lot of homework and a lot of preparation leading up to the first Test,” he told reporters via Zoom, following the second day of the four-day practice match at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
“I’ve been here [to England] more than once. The conditions, I’ve seemed to adapt to them, especially the cold weather, so it’s just staying focused and doing what I have to do.”
He added: “I know my ability, I know what I can do, so going out there, if given the opportunity, I’m just going to stay focused and do what I have to. I won’t put a lot of pressure on myself going into whatever game I play, so, basically, for me it’s just staying focused and staying patient.”
Holder was included in the Test squad ahead of the recovering Shannon Gabriel, who was named among 11 reserves for the tour, after undergoing ankle surgery last December.
And with West Indies expected to boast a four-pronged pace attack for the three-Test series, Holder and Gabriel could be competing for that final spot, with captain Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph virtual certainties.
A member of the successful West Indies side which won the ICC Under-19 World Cup four years ago, Holder said the current tour was a major stepping stone, especially training alongside the likes of Gabriel, Roach and namesake Holder.
“It’s actually a big transition coming from youth cricket coming up, but I’ve had a few experiences with senior-level cricket in terms of A team and President’s XI,” he explained.
“And I’ve also got a lot of information and a lot of guidance from Kemar Roach, coming up playing for my franchise team back home in Barbados, so I know that if anything happens during these Test matches, that I can easily go to either Shannon or Jason or Kemar, and they will assist me in anything that I need.”
He added: “It’s great to be on the same team as Alzarri once again. It brings back memories of the West Indies Under-19 and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
Holder has played 19 first-class matches since making his debut two years ago and says his West Indies call-up had been a dream come true.