Jason Holder Optimistic Ahead Of Zimbabwe Clash
West Indies skipper Jason Holder has backed his premier batsman, Chris Gayle, to fire against Zimbabwe in their World Cup encounter in Canberra on Tuesday.
After the defeat against Ireland in the opening game, West Indies got their campaign back on track with a 150-run win against Pakistan on Saturday with Gayle managing only 40 runs in both the games combined.
"Well, every time I see Chris Gayle, I expect to see a positive Chris Gayle," Holder said.
"Although he hasn't been getting runs, we still have a lot of confidence in him.
“I just hope that he can come tomorrow and just get us in and just take it as deep as possible for us.
"Any team would despise having Chris Gayle going guns blazing at the top.
“Obviously he hasn't yet, but we still have full confidence in him.
"And it's very good to see that he still hasn't fired and yet we're still getting 300 runs.
“I guess when his contribution comes, we'll get somewhere close to 400 hopefully."
Terming the win against Pakistan as crucial, Holder emphasised the need to maintain momentum in such a short tournament.
“It was very important win (against Pakistan), once you lose the first game it is hard to play catch up in a short tournament. We need to keep the momentum going.”
Holder was extremely pleased with the performance of West Indies’ middle order batsmen and insisted that it would be a matter of time before the top-order performs.
“We got in excess of 300 twice. It is a good feat to get as well as a psychological edge going into field in the second half of the game.
“Obviously we didn’t get runs from the top-order but the middle order is ready and has taken the responsibility of taking the innings through, hopefully the top order will fire in this game.”
The West Indian captain also expects a good game against Zimbabwe tomorrow.
“I expect a very good game (against Zimbabwe).
“I don’t think any game in this tournament is a walkover but at the same time, I will back my players to secure our plans and come out on top.
“We have some pretty slow pitches in Caribbean too.
"I am not too worried about the conditions.
"Whatever the conditions are, we need to adapt and play positive cricket.” Holder responded when asked the slower conditions in Canberra might suit Zimbabwe more.
Reacting to the comments made by ex-coach, Ottis Gibson that Holder was not ready to handle the captaincy of West Indies, the 23-year old said: “I have a decent relationship with Ottis Gibson. We got along pretty well.
"I respect him a lot, and I heard about his comments.
“I can say I'm ready. If I wasn't ready, I probably wouldn't accept the job. I think I can make a difference.
"It's early days for me in captaincy in terms of this West Indies team, but I think over time once I can get my players to come together a lot more and just gel as one unit, I think we can be world beaters again."
The Barbadian cricketer also stated the replacement for Darren Bravo, who has been ruled out of the next game, will be named only tomorrow.
Giving credit to former West Indian captain and chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd, Holder said his experience of playing in World Cups is handy for the current squad.
“Clive Lloyd has a wealth of experience. He has also been a leader, a cricketer and a mentor for some. His information is very crucial for us.”
Holder also expressed confidence of beating Zimbabwe tomorrow and pushing on towards the quarter-finals.
"I'm very confident going forward into this game. I think what is important is that we keep this momentum that we have going," he said.
"I think we still have room for improvement. Obviously we can cut a few of our boundary balls when we bowl.
"I think if we can get a few more contributions going deeper into the innings in terms of the top order, I think we can get close to 350 plus, and I think that is not beyond us because of our firepower in the middle and the end.
"I think we still have to improve, too, in our fielding. I think we could be a lot sharper in the field and give a better account of ourselves."
West Indies are currently ranked second in Pool B with their net-run-rate keeping them ahead of Ireland, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
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