West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Gros Islet, 5th day August 14, 2016

Holder points out gulf between West Indies' first-class and international levels

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Jason Holder felt an overcautious approach resulted in West Indies' undoing in St Lucia © Associated Press

Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, felt the gulf between the region's first-class structure and the international level stood exposed, as they lost by 237 runs in Gros Islet to concede the four-Test series to India with one match still to play.

"It is going to be difficult. Test match cricket is very different from our first-class cricket at this point of time. I have had the privilege to play first-class cricket and I've also had the privilege to play Test cricket and I can see a vast disparity between the two," he said. "It is a situation where many of us coming to international cricket and are trying to learn on our job. It is definitely not easy, but it is something that we are faced with and I hope the guys can learn quickly.

"Hope that our guys' bodies are accustomed to the workloads of international cricket because it is far different from first-class cricket. For instance you get a first-class game where a fast bowler hardly bowls the amount of overs we have bowled in this series. For the last five to 10 years we have had spinners dominating first-class cricket in terms of wickets taken. So it is a transition that we have to try to open up and adjust to as quickly as possible. It is by no means easy and sometimes we don't make it easy for ourselves."

West Indies, who had to bat out a minimum of 87 overs to save the Test, were bowled out for 108 in just 47.3 overs, with just one batsman - Darren Bravo - crossing 20. They had fared only marginally better in the first innings, being bowled out for 225 after being handily placed at 202 for 3 at one stage.

"We haven't been able to put up reasonable first-innings totals which have hampered us in the recent past. If you don't put up a good first-innings total, then you are chasing the game," Holder said. "We need to knuckle down. As batsmen, we need to be accountable for our actions. At the top, predominantly, we haven't been consistent; not getting starts we've been looking for."

Asked to elaborate on the batting struggle, Holder said it was simply a case of being too overcautious at times, apart from failing to learn from their mistakes in the first innings. "I think the difference from here to Jamaica is that we also spent time but we didn't score," he said. "I think most of the batsmen have spent some time initially but they haven't tick over the scoreboard as well as we would like. I can't speak for every batsman and it is a situation where each batsman needs to cope, how we are going to score and how we are going to occupy the crease. So sitting here is difficult to answer but all I can say is that the responsibility is on the batsmen at the present time."

Holder emphasised the need to string together patches of domination before looking at bigger goals, something the team did sporadically in Jamaica, and then on the first two days in St Lucia before things slipped away from them.

"At the beginning of the series, I made very clear that we need to show signs of improvement. We have had a really tough tour in Australia in terms of our bowling and I have seen significant improvements in terms of our bowling," Holder said. "We have been inconsistent with the bat for quite a while now. You have to make steps forward and you just can't leap. As a baby you need to crawl before you can walk.

"Definitely winning is a priority but we need to put ourselves in position to win games but the only way we can do that is by taking 20 wickets and at least putting up a very good first innings total in terms of securing the draw and then push for win. But we haven't been able to put ourselves in those situations, to be quite frank. I think, moving forward, we need to be more consistent in terms of getting those first-innings total, 350-plus, obviously taking 10 wickets up front and coming back and taking the other 10. I think that's the direction in which we need to move towards."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • legendscricket on August 16, 2016, 18:17 GMT

    Who is the WINDIES batting coach? There is always lots of discussion Re: bowling, and or the coaching staff seeing after the bowlers, but little is said about the lack of technique and mental toughness from the front line and or senior batsmen-Who are they anyway,-2 or 3? Will you please stand up Samuels, Bravo, and Brathwaite; also J Holder.Do you have 4 0r so men who can go past 50, with at least 1 of you making a 100-You need a score of at least 350 to be compettitive in test cricket.Samuels will not change his technique at this time,neither will Brathwaite or Bravo- too much playing back, and or staying in the crease-heavy laden-Who should cpt. Windies, not Brathwaite-too defensive, needs to focus on his batting-Johnny Bravo maybe the man-but there is too much ongoing between him and the board, OOPS also he isn't in the team-NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.Promising bowling unit.It's time to part ways with my favourite cricketer-Marlon Samuels-Hope is preparing himself- Windies foremost Win!

  • noexpectationfromindia on August 16, 2016, 13:04 GMT

    One a slightly different note i find india's performance in the olympics deplorable, although the general apathy towards competition is no surprise considering india's mediocrity. Its an embarassment to be referred to as an indian!!!

  • wpbus13 on August 15, 2016, 13:32 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar said it rightly, the West Indian batsmen are not equipped to play test cricket or something along those lines. With the exception of a couple players most of them lack the footwork, temperament and skills needed to be successful at that level. There are going to be instances of brilliant individual performances but they are not consistent enough to make any significant impact or change to the outcome of a series. There also seem to be a disconnect somewhere, if as Holder stated spinners dominate domestic, first class cricket, then why aren't you seeing any of them come through and be more successful at test cricket? Is Bishoo the best of the lot? Are games being played on substandard pitches? Is the batting pool that poor? What are the coaches doing to develop players? How soon before the fans begin calling for the head of Phil Simmons? He certainly hasn't made things better, major problems abound for the West Indies!

  •   Jemmady on August 15, 2016, 12:48 GMT

    Our last bowling performance was very encouraging but for the past five years or more we have had more issues with our batting. It seems like our batsmen are afraid to play on the front foot. No matter how good of a captain you have cricket is a team sport and if your batsmen are not scoring runs your bowlers can't win a match without enough runs on the board.

  • CRICFAN081 on August 15, 2016, 10:56 GMT

    We have seen it over the last several years that WI cricketers, don't have the mental capacity to play test cricket and be successful. They cannot concentrate for a long time, that's why they get good starts and can only make 30, 40, and 50 runs. the bowlers get early wickets, but cannot follow-up and bowl out the opponent for a low score. so the idea of changing players is not the answer. the cricketers needs to be mentally prepared for tough Test cricket. The talent is there, but not the ability.

  • butcherboy on August 15, 2016, 9:10 GMT

    I wish the WICB was as knowledgeable as some of the contributors in this forum.This test team has a good nucleus esp in the bowling unit.As it's already well known,the only way up for the region is by improving the pitches there by improving the first class structure and the players that play in it.Wicb erred by making Holder the capitain.If Sammy held on to the test spot which would have gone to Dwayne Bravo,Holder is keeping the more effective Brathwaite or an extra pacer/specialist spinner out of the team.But who else is captaincy material?

  • cricfan20007517 on August 15, 2016, 8:20 GMT

    I feel sad for west indies team and well done team India...my probable team of west indies is 1.kraigg braithwaite 2.chesney hughes 3.kieorn Powell 4.marlon Samuels 5.blackwood 6.chase 7.dowrich(wk) 8.narine/bishoo/any new spinner 9.holder 10.joseph 11.gabirel

  • rubbas on August 15, 2016, 6:13 GMT

    The WI cricket board with this President has persisted with pushing players especially the mature players out and replacing them with very young green players who get no chance to learn from senior players. They have persisted with Samuels simply because he not one to speak out against the board. Once you do though, you are gone. They have suspended the coach and dropped players for speaking out. But it also seems to me that they don't appear to be to concerned with the heavy losses at all. Someone has got to explain to me why Holder despite being totally out of depth is still the captain. What is really going on? For the first time in my life I am saying that I will not support this current WI setup until the President is changed and until some semblance of rational thinking is restored. This immature leadership at the top is getting to me. The policy to surround yourself with yes men and not the best players has worn me out totally.

  • ShekarRamlal86 on August 15, 2016, 0:47 GMT

    1.Kraigg (Captain) 2.Keiron Powell 3.Bravo 4.Leon 5.Chase 6.Carlos 7.Dowrich 8.Narine 9.Bishoo 10.Joseph 11.Cummins

  • Metman on August 15, 2016, 0:19 GMT

    Samuels should have stood up with Bravo and BAT until near close of play as the others that follow ARE NEWCOMERS TO TEST CRICKET. This test match SHOULD BE SAMUELS' LAST even if he scores a century.This NONSENSE cannot go on...

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