WI must use Headingley victory as learning moment – Holder

FLASHBACK: Shai Hope celebrates after leading West Indies to victory in the second Test against England last August.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – As phenomenal an achievement as the recent Test victory at Headingley was, West Indies captain Jason Holder says the regional side will not be dwelling on it, as they seek to make even bigger strides in coming series.

Last August, West Indies arrived in Leeds following an innings defeat inside three days in Nottingham and produced a magnificent performance to thrash England by five wickets, after chasing down 322 on an epic final day.

However, with West Indies about to engage Zimbabwe in a two-Test series in Bulawayo, Holder said it was more important to learn from the Headingley experience than dwell on it.

“Personally I have the mentality to keep moving forward. What’s gone in the past is gone,” he told CMC Sports on Monday just prior to the squad’s departure.

“We’ve had bad games before and we have tried to put them behind us so I don’t see why when we have good games we should really hold on to them too long.

“I think we should enjoy it (the win) in the moment, probably not forget about it but we should, most importantly, learn from it but I don’t think we should sit down and toil on it too much.”

He continued: “It’s something that has gone already, everybody has seen what we can do it’s just a matter for us to keep moving in that direction to overtake [the] teams head of us.”

Though West Indies lost the three-match series against England, 2-1, selectors retained an unchanged squad for the tour of Zimbabwe as they chase their first series win in three years.

Several players enter the series with big reputations. Shai Hope stroked hundreds in both innings at Headingley, Roston Chase scored heavily in the series against Pakistan earlier in the year while seamer Kemar Roach made an impressive return to international cricket following an extended break with 11 wickets against England.

Holder praised the unit for the way they had approached team building.

“I just urge each member of the team just to remain focus on their individual goals but they must fit into the team goals,” he said.

“I think we’ve been gelling really nicely as a unit, and the guys are really working for one another and that’s probably something I haven’t really seen in West Indies cricket in the past.”

With little break between the Pakistan, England and Zimbabwe series, Holder also stressed the importance of players focussing on their fitness.

“It’s been tough to get down time. It’s been very hectic this year and I presume next year will be just as hectic but I would encourage the guys to stress on their recovery and keeping their bodies fresh,” the all-rounder said.

“There are a few guys who are overlapping the formats so it’s more difficult for them because they are playing more cricket. For me it’s about managing each player, making sure everybody stays as fresh and are as ready as they possibly can.

“Apart from that, you just have to be as professional as you can be. It is what it is in terms of the schedule and I don’t see it easing up anytime soon. This is what we are paid to do and we have to be professional enough to go out there and do it.”

West Indies face Zimbabwe A in a three-day tour match starting Sunday, their only warm-up game before the first Test bowls off October 21.

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