(AFP) West Indies captain Jason Holder is urging his side to keep their collective cool as they bid for a historic win against England in the third Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday.
Victory would give the Caribbean side their first Test series win in England in nearly three decades — a result no one predicted after they lost the first Test at Edgbaston by an innings and 209 runs.
That defeat appeared to be just the latest chapter in a desperate decline stretching back 20 years.
But following their brilliant five-wicket victory at Headingley, Holder’s men have a chance to win the three-match series 2-1.
When the West Indies last won a Test series in England, 4-0 with one draw, their side boasted all-time greats such as batsmen Gordon Greenidge and Vivian Richards as well as fast bowlers Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose.
By contrast, Holder’s unheralded team arrived in England without any fanfare.
However, the skipper said it was vital his side did not get ahead of themselves.
“It would be great to win the series in England but there’s a process towards going about that,” Holder said at Lord’s on the eve of the match.
“I spoke about consistency a lot on this tour, and that’s the main objective for me,” the all-rounder added.
“We are obviously confident coming off the last game at Headingley but I told the guys ‘that’s gone’.
“The first game, pretty much everybody wrote us off. Our heads were a bit down after how we got defeated in the first Test match.
“To pick ourselves back up and come back and respond how we did at Headingley was remarkable. It’s obviously given us some new life.”
For several members of the team, it will be their first Test at Lord’s — the scene of both of West Indies’ World Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1979 as well as several brilliant Test displays down the decades.
“A number of us are playing our first Test match here at Lord’s, our first series in England,” said Holder.
“There’s a lot to play for, and our guys are really up for it.”
As for playing a Test at Lord’s, a career highlight for any cricketer, Holder said: “It’s just another cricket game, albeit here at ‘the home of cricket’. It’s exciting times for the entire group so hopefully we can put on a good show.”
The match takes place with Hurricane Irma having swept through the Caribbean and Holder said the thoughts of the squad were with those affected.
“I understand it hasn’t done major damage to Antigua… It’s gone further up north.
“We just hope the islands it is going to affect, the people prepare well and hopefully they are not hurt too badly.
“We have everybody back home in our thoughts and prayers,” Holder added.