Windies welcome 'pink ball' Test, says Holder

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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BIRMINGHAM, England (CMC) — West Indies captain Jason Holder is hoping his side's relative experience with the pink ball pays dividends when they face England in the historic day/night Test starting her Thursday.

The fixture at Edgbaston marks the first-ever Test under lights in England but while the hosts will be having their first taste of the novelty, West Indies will be playing their second such game following their maiden 'pink ball' Test against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates last October.

“We've got a bit of experience – for a lack of a better phrase. The guys really look forward to the pink ball cricket,” Holder told media here Wednesday.

“I think it is something we've really accepted it. We've been playing it in the Caribbean now for a number of years as well and many of the guys have played a few first class games with the pink ball.

“Some people [have problems] sighting and picking it up but for me personally I think the newer ball is a little more difficult to pick up than when the ball gets a bit old and loses the shine but a few other guys share different opinions.”

The floodlights at Edgbaston warm up as West Indies undergo practice ahead of Thursday's start of the day/night opening Test. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)
In the only pink ball warm-up first class game against Derbyshire last weekend, the Windies flourished with four of their batsmen scoring hundreds and their seamers bowling superbly.

Holder said while the ball had held up well during that game, there was still some question marks about how it would fare on the bigger arena at Edgbaston.

“Speaking to a few of the Derbyshire lads, they seemed to think it didn't do much, [that] it didn't hold up as well as we thought it did,” Holder explained.

“We were able to keep good care of our ball. We got some movement initially, then it stopped for a bit and then it picked up in that twilight period. It would be interesting to see how it goes here in terms of this surface.

“It's a big square as well so I don't know if that will have some effect on the ball itself but the outfield is pretty soft and lush as well so we'll see how it goes.”

Labelled as rank underdogs, West Indies will be gunning for their first Test win in England for 17 years on Thursday.

Pundits have given the Caribbean side little chance in the series but Holder said even though England were the favourites, they would be looking to execute their plans properly and make inroads.

“We can look at a number of areas which we can probably target but as I said, England is a quality cricket side and they are playing good cricket,” the 25-year-old all-rounder pointed out.

“The beauty about England is they have people like Alistair Cook, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes who really carry their batting as well so these guys can easily settle in around these [younger] guys.

“For us, it's mainly just to make it as uncomfortable as possible for their senior players and put some pressure on their junior players to come and make their mark.”

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