Aggression name of the game for Windies, says Holder

Sheldon Cottrell

NOTTINGHAM, England,  CMC – Captain Jason Holder said the aggression displayed in yesterday’s seven-wicket victory over Pakistan was a blueprint of the type of cricket West Indies hoped to produce going forward in the ICC World Cup.

Bowling with pace and hostility, the Caribbean side needed less than two hours to crush Pakistan for 105 off 21.4 overs, and then raced to their target in the 14th over with veteran opener Chris Gayle lashing a stroke-filled 33-ball fifty.

“I think our style was just to be aggressive. We just want to be aggressive with whoever we’re playing against. It’s just something that we need to do in order to pick up wickets,” Holder told a post-match media conference.

“I think with the the modern-day game, if you are not picking wickets up throughout the innings you’re going to struggle to contain teams. So we just want to be aggressive even if we give up a few runs up front, trying to get wickets.

“One of the things we’ve spoken about in the recent past is just trying to have that mindset to take wickets because if you’re not taking wickets you’re going to struggle.”

He continued: “I think every single team in the competition that’s going to be looking to pick up wickets throughout the entire innings has been a common trend. If you don’t get wickets continuously going throughout the innings, you’re going to struggle to contain teams at the very back end.

“It’s something you have to do, whether it be through spin, which is the way a lot of teams have gone, or whether it be through good fast bowling, which is the direction we’ve been going.”

Rookie speedster Oshane Thomas revelled in a fresh pitch and overcast conditions, roughing up the Pakistani batsmen to end with four for 27 while Holder picked up three for 42.

Andre Russell was sensational in a pacy three-over burst, taking two for four to initiate the Pakistan collapse.

“I thought we bowled really well. We got wickets with the new ball and really set them back, slowed their momentum and quite fortunate for us we were able to keep picking wickets up and they never recovered from the position they were in at the very beginning,” Holder said.

“I think when we batted it was a clinical performance as well, obviously started nicely by Chris. He put the accelerator on them and was supported by (Nicholas) Pooran in the very end.”

He added: “[Thomas] has been excellent. The last game he got five wickets and then he comes and follows it up with four wickets here today. It was great to see him running in and bowling fast. That’s one thing we ask of him, just to be aggressive in those middle overs, as I said before.

“He’s working out quite nicely for us. It’s just a matter for us to be consistent with it, and at times not get carried away with it in terms of overdoing it.

“[Andre’s] spell had great impact, obviously. It started the slide for Pakistan, and again, he’s one of those players that runs in and gives it his all. He has a lot of force going through his body, and he’s one of those players that he will give you 110 per cent every time he steps up to the plate.”

West Indies, rated underdogs in the tournament, will now face title-holders Australia in their second match next Thursday also at Trent Bridge.

And despite Friday’s convincing victory, Holder said West Indies would remain grounded, especially with a long way to go in the tournament.

“I’m not thinking too far ahead. We’ve got Australia in the next encounter. As I said to the guys, we’ve got a long tournament here, it’s just a matter for us to take it game by game, and I’m not getting ahead of myself,” he pointed out.

“We just want to be consistent. The only thing we can focus on and control is cricket, and we’ve got three departments to make sure we’re clinical in in terms of our batting, bowling and fielding, and I just want us to be the best we can in terms of performing our roles for the team.”

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