West Indies captain Jason Holder has said he is a fan of the concept of day-night Test cricket, urging players to give the format a chance on the eve of his team's maiden pink-ball Test against Pakistan in Dubai. Holder said he felt the day-night format would give Test cricket the push it needs to sustain itself in the modern cricket market.
"I like the concept and I think it is one that should be there to stay," he said. "We have to give a chance to something new. Obviously, teams might first take time to adjust to it. Test cricket needs that bit of impetus, needs a bit of a push, and I think, possibly, day and night cricket could be it."
The day-night concept has had its share of support from various corners, including Holder's counterpart, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who recently stated that the "future belongs to night Tests." Various concerns remain, nonetheless, on the durability and visibility of the ball. "It is a new thing with the pink ball, everybody is just trying to get accustomed to it," Holder said. "I personally did not have big problems with the sighting.
"Few of the players from the slip cordon said it was bit difficult to pick up, and also fielding square of the wicket, probably looking into the sun, it was difficult to sight. Having said that, it is what it is. Tomorrow starts the pink-ball Test, so we have got to adjust to it, we have got to just go there and just try to be as professional as we probably can."
Holder did have his doubts about the ball's durability, though. "Personally, it does do a bit with the new ball. Five-six overs and after that it just stops a bit, and what I am basically concerned is just the condition of the ball, whether it will hold up," he said. "Obviously, we had the experience of playing the warm-up game, and I reckon that around 30 to 40 overs, the ball starts to deteriorate and got really soft as well. It is interesting to see how it goes in this Test match, different conditions here in Dubai, and, hopefully, I just think the most important thing to do is keep it as simple as possible, just assess what the ball is doing, try your possible best and make it swing and move."
West Indies have struggled in the longer formats of late. Their previous Test assignment, against India at home, ended in a 2-0 defeat, with one match being affected by rain.
"Obviously, it is a young team and we obviously went down in our last series. But it is a fresh series here and we had a pretty good lead-up to this Test series. We have been here quite a while, and most of the guys had a good camp in the Caribbean for the Test players alone, and they came here early and had a two-day game prior to the three-day game. I feel preparation, we have covered. It is just a matter of executing now. From the talks in the dressing room, everybody seems pretty confident, everybody is in good spirit, and so we can transfer on to the field of play."
West Indies did have some positives in that India series, however, most notably in the second Test where they salvaged what had seemed an improbable draw. Reduced to 48 for 4 and still trailing India by 256 runs in the second innings, Roston Chase led a stoic resistance as West Indies batted out 88.1 overs on the final day, scoring 340 runs while losing just two wickets.
Holder said the talent was there in the team, it was just a matter of execution. "We have got some quality players. If you look down our line-up, Kraigg Brathwaite has been around for a little while and he has got a few centuries, Shane Dowrich came back into the squad in the last series and did well for himself. We have got the talent there, it is a matter of execution. We need to play some aggressive cricket."