Darren Bravo and Gayle on Test radar, but others 'not interested'

Jason Holder has said that while he has heard Chris Gayle's talk of a Test return he does not believe many of the absent West Indies' players are interested in the longest format

George Dobell
George Dobell
Jason Holder has played down the prospect of "big name" West Indies players re-joining the Test team, stating "we have the best of the lot right now."
With Cricket West Indies having recently relaxed their selection criteria and offered an amnesty to those players who have chosen to play in T20 leagues, it had been presumed the likes of Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard (who has never played Test cricket) might come into consideration ahead of series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
But Holder, West Indies' captain, suggested that, apart from Bravo and perhaps Gayle, he "didn't think there's anybody interested in playing Test cricket that we can call upon."
"Darren Bravo is a guy who has done well for us in the recent past," Holder said. "But apart from Darren I don't think there's anybody else who's interested in playing Test cricket that we can really call upon or the so-called big names people are looking for.
"Chris has probably hinted that he would like to play if he's fit enough. He's always said he would like to play. I spoke to him a while back. We would love to have a guy like Chris in our side. He brings a lot.
"But apart from those two players I don't think there's anybody else we can really look to."
While Bravo's return would appear close to automatic - Kyle Hope failed to take his chance in England, averaging just 6.83 batting at No. 3 in the series - Holder described himself as "extremely proud" of the performance of his young team and hinted that he would be reluctant to see too many of them replaced. Shane Dowrich, who averaged 4.80 and struggled with the gloves, might also come under pressure from the likes of Denesh Ramdin.
"I think we've got the best of the lot [playing] right now," he said. "I'm really, really happy with this squad to be honest. I enjoy playing cricket with this squad and I enjoy leading this squad. I wouldn't trade this squad for the world."
Speaking after being beaten in the deciding Test against England at Lord's, Holder was encouraged with the way his side had pushed for what would have been a shock series victory.
"I'm extremely proud, can't really fault the guys for effort," he said. "We've still got a lot of room for improvement, still got a long way to go before we can get consistent performances. That said, not a bad tour of England, could have been better, obviously, but I'm still very proud.
"The credit must go to the bowlers. After the Headingley Test match we asked for another big effort. The way we came out here first innings and bowled, I think at the start of the match if you said we'd have got England for 190, we'd have taken that."
While the bowling was consistently challenging after the aberration of Edgbaston, West Indies' win at Headingley in the second Test - their first in England for 17 years - was built on the batting performances of Shai Hope, who scored hundreds in each innings, and Kraigg Brathwaite.
Holder said he wanted the team to build on what they had started in their next two tours, in Zimbabwe next month and then New Zealand.
"For a first tour here for many of us, I still think it's a hell of an achievement and fight we put up," Holder said. "Hopefully we can learn from this, we have New Zealand at the end of the year which could be similar conditions and similar type of bowlers, so it should be good chance to take what we've learned here into that series. But first we've got Zimbabwe, in a few weeks time, so hopefully we can really kick on from there.
"Obviously Shai was outstanding in this entire series and we must not forget Kraigg's contribution as well, he really did a hell of a job, especially at Headingley. Unfortunately we didn't get more batsmen to carry on, lots of us got starts but didn't carry on, and we let ourselves down with our fielding, probably this entire series. We dropped quite a few chances and gave good players two opportunities to bat, and in international cricket they'll make you pay for it.
"I think we've shown improvement. When we sit down and critique each series, we just try to look for improvement. We've definitely shown that, especially in our bowling, improving our consistency there ... But hopefully guys can gain a lot of confidence form this series against a world-class side and top-class bowling unit. To be able to achieve something in this series speaks a lot."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo