West Indies are about to lose their head coach Stuart Law at the end of the year. Before that, in 2016, they lost Phil Simmons. And before that, in 2014, they lost Ottis Gibson. The captain Jason Holder praised his team-mates for keeping up with such a churn but hoped the next coach will be able to stick around longer.
“It’s difficult. We have 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.
“A lot of people don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes. And that’s pretty much an example of the things the players have had to deal with. Credit must go to the individuals in the group because despite who coaches the team, we are still judged on the cricket that we play. But all this has a part to do with the cricket that we produce.
“That’s why I don’t get too caught up with people saying what they say, because within, I know what really goes on within the dynamics of the team. It’s not an excuse or looking for things to ease pressure, but at the end of the day you deal with reality. 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.
“But that’s life. 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.”
West Indies’ performance in the first Test against India in Rajkot – they lost all 20 wickets in four sessions – drew a lot of flak, with cricket pundits and former players suggesting on social media that they weren’t good enough to play Test cricket. Holder had come across some of these unflattering comments, but he brushed them aside with grace, dignity and some decent statistics too.
“We’re playing the No.1 team, India, in their backyard. And history would show we haven’t won a Test match here since 1994, and if you look at the players who came through West Indies cricket – I think Brian Lara and these greats have been playing all that time.
“Sure, we probably haven’t won as many series as we’d 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.
“But everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just focus primarily on what I have to do and what the team has to do. There’s not point worrying about what people have to say because people will always have [something] to say. The only way we can silence the critics – or try to silence them, because I don’t think they’ll never shut up – is by playing [good] cricket.”
Holder’s immediate focus is on getting himself fit for the second Test against India in Hyderabad on Friday. He missed the Rajkot Test with an ankle injury, but has since resumed bowling off his full run-up.
“I am pushing really hard to be ready for the Test match. In the last Test match, it just wasn’t right. I had a scan and it didn’t turn out to be too bad. But, it’s a matter of managing the pain. Injuries aren’t new to me. I didn’t want to start a Test match and then be in a situation where I am not able to finish it. I feel a lot stronger now and the pain has decreased. It’s matter of sustaining for five days.”
Their lead fast bowler Shannon Gabriel is also under a cloud – Holder said they’ll take a call on the morning of the match – but Kemar Roach was in full flow at training at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium and will likely slot back into the XI. The bowling coach Corey Collymore put their loss in Rajkot down to indisciplined bowling in the first session of the match, and the return of Roach could help improve that.