New Zealand v West Indies, World Cup 2015, 4th quarter-final, Wellington March 21, 2015

'We've never been consistent' - Holder

Jason Holder has arguably had the toughest gig in this World Cup. He's only 23 and was given the West Indies ODI captaincy suddenly at the start of the year, with little time to shape a squad without Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine to his style of leadership. He then lost Darren Bravo to injury and had to cope with the uncertainty surrounding Chris Gayle's fitness. And then there was the issue of performance, with West Indies losing heavily to Ireland, South Africa and India in the group stage, before another comprehensive defeat to New Zealand in the quarter-final ended his campaign.

"Me personally, I've taken a lot you know, been through a lot, there's been a lot of criticism, left right and centre, all over the place," Holder said, when asked what he will take away from the World Cup. "I'm proud of the way I stood up. I'm not one to shy away from responsibility or dip my head when things get tough. I expected a tough job when I accepted the captaincy.

"No doubt it's been a tough time but we've had some very good times and I've learned a lot in how to manage our players, just trying to get the best out of our players, you know. It's been a challenge yes, but one I truly enjoyed."

Holder put the immediate cause of West Indies' exit - Martin Guptill making 237, New Zealand racking up 393 - down to missed opportunities in the field and poor lengths from the bowlers. Guptill was dropped by Marlon Samuels on 4, and he went on to spearhead a surge that cost West Indies 206 runs in the last 15 overs.

"It was obviously a good innings, he really took the game away from us," Holder said. "What was good about his innings was he batted straight through. Having said that we put him down early and we had a few half-chances that we probably could have taken. I think we just need to respond well when bowling at the death. We didn't land our yorkers and we paid for it today.

"We were inconsistent when we bowled. With our lengths upfront, thought we were a bit too full, and at the back end we didn't land our yorkers. That's just it. I don't think we need to over-analyse things at this point of time.

"If we were too short the ball just sat up … but in terms of the right length on the pitch, it had to be that in-between length and also vary your pace because it was a good pitch, in my opinion."

When asked about the larger picture - Holder began his captaincy tenure with a 4-1 defeat in South Africa - he put West Indies' troubles down to inconsistency. "We've had some good games, we've had some bad games, but we've never been consistent. Going forward we need to be a lot more consistent that we are at the moment."

The road ahead for West Indies doesn't contain one-day internationals until the end of the year, when they play Sri Lanka, so Holder will have time to take a break from the captaincy - Denesh Ramdin is in charge of the side for Tests - as West Indies regroup under a new coach Phil Simmons.

He said the team had been on the road for a long time and could do with some much-needed rest and recuperation before the home Tests against England.

"The guys have put their bodies on the line for the last four months. We've been away from our families for four months," he said. "I think the first thing to do is just refresh a bit at home. We just have a few days at home before the training camp for the England series. I think that break will be well deserved. It will do well for a lot of the guys. Just need to refresh, come back strong against England. We don't have ODI cricket until the end of the year against Sri Lanka so we have time to make some changes, or try to fix problems that we have."

It is unlikely that Holder will face as difficult a challenge in the near future as the one he has just endured. He hasn't always been in control on the field, but he comes across as a calm and measured individual - a bowler with obvious batting talent - and West Indies will hope that he is stronger for the experience.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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