Jason Holder: Afghanistan needs to understand the dynamics of Test cricket

It takes time to get the hang of how Test cricket must be played, admits the West Indies captain after his team’s nine-wicket win.

Jason Holder: “We’ve shown glimpses of brilliance, but consistency is the name of the game.”   -  AP (File Photo)

After defeating Afghanistan by nine wickets at the Ekana International Stadium on Friday, West Indies captain Jason Holder had a piece of advice for Rashid Khan’s men: “understand the dynamics of Test cricket.”

“I think they’ve got some really good players. They just need to understand the dynamics of Test cricket. You learn it over a period of time,” Holder said.

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The West Indies captain remembers a conversation he had with former captain Clive Lloyd on how to get accustomed to the longer format. “He would always say that he only learned to play Test cricket after three years. It takes time to get the hang of it. I think [Afghanistan] need to rely a bit more on their seamers. Over the month I’ve been here, they’ve got some quality seamers. They need to put more confidence in them and try to make a balanced attack,” Holder said.

No regrets

On a spin-friendly track, West Indies opted to field despite winning the toss, a decision many thought was bizarre. But Holder defended the decision. “I don’t regret the decision at the toss. In the end, we played a really good cricket game, and we were clinical. I asked the guys to make sure we don’t leave any stones unturned. Probably would have liked a little bit more in our first innings in terms of our batting, but having said that, we had a lead of 90. I think leads win games. Once you have a hefty lead, it puts pressure on the opposition,” Holder said.

Despite having some of the top fast bowlers in its ranks, West Indies rode on spinner Rahkeem Cornwall’s 10-wicket haul to tame the home team. “We did expect the spinners to play a heavy role in this game, but with the new ball we probably expected a little more from the fast bowlers. As the ball got older, I felt it did a little bit more. Their openers played well and pretty much saw off the new ball. Our spinners really came into effect with the harder ball, so I think it all worked out the way it was supposed to,” he said, crediting Cornwall.

‘Exceptional spell’

“[Cornwall] bowled an exceptional spell in the first innings and then backed it up really well in the second innings, supported well by the other bowlers.”

Holder felt the batsmen should have taken more responsibility. “Once they do that and take the bull by the horns, I think our bowling attack has shown it can compete with any attack in the world. We’ve shown glimpses of brilliance, which is all well and good, but consistency is the name of the game,” he said.

In order to be a world-class team, the West Indies needed to be consistent with the batting, felt Holder. “You have to get 20 wickets of course, but you have to set it up with the bat. First innings count for a lot. If we can put teams under pressure with our first-innings scores, more often than not, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world.”

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