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International Cricket

Hard to build something amid constant churn, rues Jason Holder

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, rued the frequent changes to the national squads and support staff, pointing out that it made it difficult to maintain progress.

The West Indies will lose head coach Stuart Law at the end of the year. His departure will mark the third change to the position since 2014, when Ottis Gibson made way for Phil Simmons, who in turn was sacked in 2016.

With each coach came a different dynamic and new plans – although positive results have been harder to come by. While the team did impress in England and against Pakistan in the UAE, they are still eighth in the ICC Test rankings and crumbled to their biggest defeat against India inside three days in Rajkot.

Stuart Law is set to leave the West Indies set-up at the end of the year

Even as he insisted that the churn in coaching staff was no excuse for their performances, Holder said it was a difficult “reality” for the team to deal with.

“It’s difficult. We’ve had a number of coaches in the last five years. And I must commend the guys because they have really been professional to be able to adjust to each and every coach that we’ve had,” he said ahead of the second Test against India.

“That’s why I don’t get too caught up with what people are saying, because I know what really goes on within the dynamics of the team … Anybody would say that the only way to get results as a team is by coming close together. But if the dynamics of the team changes quite a bit, it’s hard to build something. Every time it seems as though you’re building something, there’s almost a barrier, some kind of obstacle.”

Phil Simmons had a short tenure as coach before he was sacked in 2016

Holder hailed the contribution of Law, under whom they completed qualification for the 2019 World Cup and made occasional strides in Test cricket even while several of the big names remained in a stand-off with the board.

“I think Stuart has brought a different dynamic in terms of professionalism. He’s obviously tried to implement certain structures and certain methods, which we needed to change, and credit really must go to Stuart Law for that. Hopefully, whoever comes in, we could just settle on a coach for a little while longer and build something positive for the next couple of years.”

The loss to India, by an innings and 272 runs, came in for much criticism, but Holder remained defiant and backed his players.

Shai Hope has been one of the positives for the West Indies Test side, doing especially well in England

“A lot of things have been said about this Test team particularly, which I’m not in agreement with,” he insisted. “We’ve beaten top sides in the last two-three years that we’ve played. We’ve maybe not won as many series as we would like, but within the last year, I think we’ve won two out of four or five series we’ve played. So I don’t understand why people would be this harsh towards us.

“We’re playing the No.1 side in India in their backyard. And history would show [the Windies] haven’t won a Test match here since 1994. If you look at the players who came through West Indies cricket, I think Brian Lara and these guys were playing in that time.

“But everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just focus primarily on what I have to do and what the team has to do.”

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