Holder: Players upbeat as preparations continue ahead of first Test

Windies Test captain Jason Holder in England. (Photo courtesy CWI)
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By Neto Baptiste

Windies Test captain, Jason Holder, said team unity remains high as they continue to prepare ahead of the first Test against England starting July 8 at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground in Southampton.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Monday, Holder said that players remain upbeat amidst the coronavirus lockdown, which has seen players living in a bio-secure environment since arriving in England earlier this month. 

“We split up in a way where some players go out in the middle and some go out to the side-netting and they just keep mixing it up. Some players will start maybe in the side-netting and then come over to the middle, or players will start in the middle and then go over to the side netting. So it’s not a case where we are separated by no means and it’s just a matter of structuring the practice sessions so that everybody could be active at one particular time. The team unity is fine; it is no different from what it normally is,” he said.

Windies will play three Tests with the final match starting July 24 and will go down in history as being part of the first official series following the coronavirus outbreak.

Holder expressed satisfaction over the level of work being put in by the players during daily sessions.

“It’s not a case where anyone is uncomfortable and not happy with what’s going on here. We’ve had a few activities going on within the bubble so players are really safe and just looking forward to the opportunity and the bottom line is that cricket has to be played,” he said.

“The game is played on the day and I am really happy so far with the progress of the group and I think once we continue to move in the direction we are going in, I have no doubts that we will do really well in this series. The guys are working really hard and I think the work ethics of the group has really changed and not only for this tour but it has changed drastically over the last two years and I think the hard work will definitely pay off,” Holder added. 

The captain also spoke favourably of the accommodations put in place for the team, adding that there are no distractions ahead of the series.

“We’ve had the whole facility here for ourselves, we’ve got access to the middle, access to the side-netting and we have also got access to the indoor facility. In terms of having the camp set up in time, I think it’s ran pretty smoothly and it’s just a matter of the guys to keep talking up and building up towards our first Test match,” he said.

“We haven’t played cricket for a while but it’s good to be back out on the park and doing something that we really love. The moral of the guys are really high it’s just a matter of keeping it that way and as I’ve said before, it’s just a matter of making use of the preparation phase of this tour and making that you’re tuned and ready by the time the first ball is bowled by the 8th of July,” he added.

Holder is ranked the number one all-rounder in Test cricket and was the leading run-scorer on either side when West Indies defeated England 2-1 in the Caribbean in early 2019. 

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