Holder focused on bowling, but maintains all-round ambitions
Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, has said he is focused on performing the role assigned to him in the side with bowling as his "first priority", but has admitted he would prefer batting higher up the order. Holder has taken 22 wickets in 15 Tests at an average of 44.27 and scored 675 runs at 29.34, with a century and four fifties. So far, he has played all his Tests as a bowling allrounder, and has never batted higher than No. 7.
In his most recent Test, against India in Kingston, Holder bowled 34.2 overs, conceding only 72 runs but picking up only one wicket, and scored an unbeaten 64 to help West Indies save the match on the last day.
"For me, I just try to do whatever the team requires," Holder said on the eve of the third Test against India in St Lucia. "Currently, I'm playing as a bowling allrounder, I think my first priority is to bowl. I was very pleased with the way I bowled in the last Test, particularly. I didn't think I got enough wickets, the wickets column wasn't as fruitful as I wanted it to be.
"Having said that, the beauty about my spell, for me, was remaining patient. I think on another day, you may get two or three more wickets. For me, [it's important] just contributing to the team's cause, just make sure every time I bat I score some runs, at least steady the ship. Most of the times, when I've batted in recent times, I've been under a bit of pressure, I think that brings out the best in me. I like those situations when I am being heavily relied on. You just knuckle down and play a memorable innings.
"Ideally, I would love to move up the order and bat higher up for the West Indies in the future. I guess I have to just keep doing my job and when I get the opportunity, make the most of it."
Expecting the pitch in St Lucia to provide pace and bounce, Holder said West Indies were likely to play an extra seam bowler.
"If you look at the pitch here, there seems to be a little bit of grass," Holder said. "There's a strong possibility that we may have a change in terms of our bowling department, we may think about the extra seamer. That's pretty much it.
"This wicket here, over the years, has played quicker than most pitches in the Caribbean. For me, I think it's the best cricket pitch in the Caribbean in terms of carry and assistance for the quicker bowlers. So, there's a strong possibility that you may see an extra seamer."
In West Indies' second innings in Jamaica, each of the batsmen occupying the four slots from No. 5 to No. 8 went past 50, with Roston Chase scoring an unbeaten hundred. The top order, though, failed - and not for the first time in the series - leaving West Indies 48 for 4 at one stage.
"For me, if I look back at the first two Test matches, the difference is that the top order hasn't really been getting in," Holder said. "I think they need to work a little harder in getting in. Once they get in, the likes of [Darren] Bravo and [Kraigg] Brathwaite and [Marlon] Samuels, we all know what they can do once they get a start. It's just about just getting a start, and get themselves going and carry it on from there."
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo