West Indies v Pakistan, 1st Test, Kingston April 20, 2017

Holder expects lively pitch at Sabina Park

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jason Holder is hoping his West Indies bowlers will be able to seize what are expected to be helpful conditions © Getty Images

West Indes captain Jason Holder believes his side can pick up where they left off against Pakistan in the final Test of their previous three-Test series in the UAE, aiming to carry that momentum into the opening Test of the return three-Test series beginning at Sabina Park on Friday. But Holder says that in order for his side to achieve a positive result, the team has to follow through on the potential they showed at the end of their UAE tour rather than the inconsistent displays that have undermined progress in the past.

"For me just stressing consistency," Holder said at a press conference in Kingston on the eve of the first Test. "One thing we've spoken about in the dressing room is momentum and if we have the momentum, we need to hold it as long as possible and not shift it back to the Pakistanis. For us it's just to get runs on the board in the first innings and our bowlers will support us in the field."

Holder's men have found success hard to come by in the longest format - the 25-year-old was winless in his first 11 Tests in charge - but finally earned a gritty victory at Sharjah by five wickets last November and is hoping to bring that winning spirit into Kingston.

"We finished off the year last year quite well, we won that game in Sharjah," Holder said. "We batted well and we also got 20 wickets. In the past we've been able to get 20 wickets but we haven't been able to consistently put runs on the board and that's one area that we need to obviously pay attention to. The first innings total obviously is very very important for us to start the game well and obviously set up things well for the end of the game."

History is on West Indies side. They have never lost a Test series at home to Pakistan, hosting them seven times previously with four series wins. There have been three drawn series, including each of Pakistan's last two visits when the teams split twin two-Test series. On both occasions West Indies won the first match before Pakistan came back to draw the final match, including in 2005 at Sabina Park.

Corey Collymore took 11 wickets in that match for West Indies and a recent match in the regional four-day competition between Jamaica and Leewards Islands lasted just 151.4 overs on a dicey pitch where fast bowlers prospered. Though that pitch came under criticism from both sides for the way it was prepared, Holder says he had asked for a pitch for the upcoming Test that will aid quick bowling and is pleased at what he saw when the covers were off during training.

"It's similar to what we asked for," Holder said. "We asked for some pitches now with some grass and some life in them. Hopefully our faster bowlers can get the ball in the right area and extract whatever there is on the surface. For us, we just need to be consistent."

Holder did not seem concerned that such a pitch would backfire on what is a relatively inexperienced batting lineup projected to take the field on Friday. Of the team that won in Sharjah, three of the top six are not in the current squad: Darren Bravo, Leon Johnson and Marlon Samuels. Vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored 142 not out in the first innings and then an unbeaten 60 in the winning chase, will face even more responsibility to shepherd newcomers Shimron Hetmyer and Vishaul Singh while Kieran Powell is in line for his first Test in nearly three years. Holder is backing them to perform regardless.

"I think this squad that we have is a very good squad," Holder said. "It's a young squad and guys have been doing well in first-class cricket. It's just about transitioning that into the international circuit now and being consistent here."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Josiah on April 22, 2017, 20:14 GMT

    Soo @Shekarramlal86 do you have anything else to say about the captain's place?

  • Shekar on April 21, 2017, 14:34 GMT

    Jason Holder is nothing more than a PR gimick. Certainly does not warrant a place in the Test team as either a batsman nor a bowler. If we are looking for leadership from within the existing set-up then we should thrust Kraigg into the captaincy as he has been captaining WI U19s, WI "A" and Barbados for far longer than Holder. Additionally, if we are looking at allrounders then the man in form who will also add a bit of variety is 25 yr old left-arm allrounder Ramon Reifer.

  • Shekar on April 21, 2017, 11:23 GMT

    FOUR-REAL-QUICKS - tell us more about Keon Harding. How quick is he?

  • tanmoy0839158 on April 21, 2017, 10:25 GMT

    This would be a memorable Series for both Misbah-ul-Haque and Younis Khan as after this they both will retire.

  • CRIC on April 21, 2017, 9:55 GMT

    With Gabriel and Roach (now he's finally flit and back at 90mph) leading the way, and the exciting prospects Alzarri Joseph, giant Jamaican speedster Reynard Leveridge and the extremely quick Barbadian youngster Keon Harding in the wings, the pitches NEED to be prepared to assist the West Indian quicks...not just for this series but for the future. If there is to be ANY hope at all on getting back on track...faith must be put in the true WEST INDIAN way of playing the game. Attacking batsmen playing their shots on pitches with carry, speedy bowlers at the bastmen and not this boring dull attritional way of recent years. Go fast, go far.

  • sam on April 21, 2017, 3:45 GMT

    Just hope the pitches do not become slow by day 2 or day 3. The biggest problem with pitches in WI is not seam movement on day 1 even against India last year the pitches had a lot of seam movement on day 1 but the fact the pitches become very slow by day 2 or day 3 and sometimes even on day 1 even with a good grass cover. Sabina Park pitch vs India had a lot of seam movement on day 1 and thus sharp spin as well because of the moisture content and seam movement and spin reduced on day 2 but vs day 3 it was slow and by day 5 very, very slow (slower than a typical Indian day 5 pitch).

  • castro6065533 on April 21, 2017, 3:27 GMT

    Sabina Park used to be lightning fast back in the day of Mikey Holding and co, but has never been the same since at least the 1998 fiasco vs England, if not before. Wait and see I guess.

  • Steven on April 21, 2017, 2:56 GMT

    A spicey pitch in the windies that would be worth seeing cos there hasn't been many of those type of pitches in the windies for many years if the pitch is like that this series could be acomplete lottery both teams have more weaknesses then strengths but it could make for a close interesting series Im guessing I think the batting is key both sides look vulnerable in that area so whoever bats best will go along way towards winning the series I think both teams have decent enough wicket taking bowlers I think sarfraz Ahmed needs to stand up more with the bat now younis n misbah r just about finished he's good enough to score bigger runs and for the windies kraigg Braithwaite has been round long enough now to score more consistently and show the younger players the way to score runs

  • Simon on April 21, 2017, 1:32 GMT

    Young squad...always a young squad...I can't think why this is? Why have we been transitioning for the last 20 years...hmmm.

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