LEEDS: West Indies captain Jason Holder said increased patience with the ball and greater fight with the bat were the keys to his side’s chances of an improved showing in the second Test against England at Headingley.
The West Indies head into Friday’s match after a chastening innings and 209-run defeat inside three days in the inaugural day/night Test in England at Edgbaston that left them 1-0 down in this three-match series.
England, on the back of Alastair Cook’s double century and a hundred from captain Joe Root, piled up 514 for eight declared in Birmingham.
With James Anderson and Stuart Broad then leading the way with the ball, England took 19 wickets in one day as West Indies were bowled out for 168 and 137 on what turned out to be Saturday’s final day of a lopsided match.
West Indies great Curtly Ambrose labelled the performance “embarrassing” and “pathetic” but Holder insisted an improvement was possible at Headingley, despite the short turnaround.
‘Open to change’
“We’ve had a few days off,” said Holder on Thursday. “We sat down and spoke about a number of things.
“I think it’s more of a patience thing with our bowlers, having a consistent plan and sticking to it.
“Mainly for our batsmen, to get stuck in and fight it out.
“It’s not going to be easy here, we’re coming up against a very good side and we’re relatively inexperienced,” the all-rounder added.
“We’ve got guys to open up their minds a bit more to change and we’re going to be tinkering a few things going into this second Test,” said Holder.
Asked how the team had dealt with what he labelled “over the top” criticism, Holder replied: “Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Some guys use it as motivation, every individual is different.
“We can’t control it so we might as well focus on what we can do and that’s play cricket.”
The West Indies are currently without several senior players, the result of a longstanding row with administrators and a clash with the Caribbean Premier League, although the likes of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels are set to arrive in time for the subsequent one-day international series with England.
Meanwhile Holder said he hoped a fledgling side had “learnt a lot” from the Edgbaston debacle.
“We were under the pump for three days and it wasn’t the best showing for us,” Holder freely admitted.
“It’s important we rally together and stay together. Through hard times we have to stay together and this is a difficult time as a group.
Holder said greater clarity of purpose on the field would also aid the West Indies’ cause.
“I think we’ve got to be decisive about what we want to do and stick to it. I don’t think we stick to our plans as long as we want.
“When it comes to our bowling, I think we were relatively inconsistent and we all agreed on that. I want us to focus a bit more on consistency.”