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West Indies building 'something special' - Jason Holder

Player of the series against England says squad is strong ahead of India tour

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
West Indies are building "something special" with their T20I side according to Jason Holder, who has said that the "strong togetherness within the dressing room" is something he has rarely felt before during his nine-year international career.
Holder, who was named player of the series after icing West Indies' win in Sunday's decider against England with four wickets in four balls, spoke in the dressing room after the game and told his team-mates that "nothing is impossible" ahead of their white-ball tour to India next month. The three-match ODI series starts in Ahmedabad on February 6, with three T20Is to follow from February 16 in Kolkata.
"We aint 100%, but we're building nicely," Holder said to his team-mates. "For me, this is the closest that I've felt a group be in a very, very long time. Honest to God, the energy I felt from the meetings… most contributions I've ever seen in a West Indies dressing room. Even though you might not understand a certain decision, everybody's still buying in with it.
"Tough luck to the guys who didn't really get the opportunity but they never showed it: I ain't seen a boy sulk. That says a lot about the camaraderie and the strength of the unit. I don't think it's a finished product and we've got to strive to be consistent.
"We've got a couple of days before we start, start over, and then we go again in India. Nothing is impossible. We've got to believe that nothing is impossible and continue to be happy for one another's success and continue to build as a team."
Holder said on Monday morning that the squad's response from their shock ODI series defeat against Ireland - in which they lost 2-1 to a side missing their captain and coach after positive Covid tests - demonstrated their character.
"It's been great after the start we had in Jamaica against Ireland - where everybody was really, really down and deflated - to see the way we've bounced back here against England," he told CWI's in-house channels. "We really pulled together as a side. It's a great feeling: hopefully we can continue this on and keep building something special.
"I think we came together, closer. After that series we were shell-shocked, very, very disappointed, and we felt as though we let not only ourselves down, but the entire region. We had extensive chats and everybody had to do some soul-searching. Feeling the way we did after that series made us really pull together and come out with a big performance here in this series."
Holder endured some difficult moments in the series, not least during Saturday's fourth T20I when Moeen Ali hit him for four consecutive sixes, but he started and ended in style, winning the player-of-the-match award in the first and last T20Is and troubling England with the new ball throughout.
Holder's tally of 15 wickets was the most-ever by a bowler in a bilateral T20I series, and he became only the fourth bowler to take four wickets in four balls in men's T20Is. He added that he was "pleased with the consistency" he showed throughout the series - and admitted that he had not realised that he had bowled Saqib Mahmood for his fourth consecutive wicket until seeing a replay on the big screen.
"I was just pleased with the consistency in terms of the wicket-taking column," he said. "It's something I pride myself on, particularly in this format. There were tough times in the series, which you would expect, and just the way I came through the tough periods was very, very pleasing. There's still areas to improve on, coming back and finishing off spells well.
"It's special for me, knowing how badly I felt after the Ireland series. Personally, I felt as though I let the team down with my personal performances. It wasn't for lack of effort, it was just one of those times where it didn't click and it didn't happen. But everything happens in its time and this series was my time.
"I was just happy that [the final ball] didn't go for six and I knew the game was definitely closed off there. I didn't realise the ball hit the stump and it was only when Sheldon [Cottrell] came running towards us, and Nicholas [Pooran], that we found out that the ball actually hit the stumps.
"Even when we were waiting for the decision on the big screen, I don't think any of us were 100% sure, but then to see the ball clipping the stumps and the bail falling was exceptional."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98