The West Indies’ fast-bowling was again impressive in the little time they were on the field during a rain-shortened second day of an intra-squad warm-up match at Old Trafford in Manchester yesterday, with Chemar Holder grabbing two wickets as he continues to press for a spot in the tourists’ starting line-up for the first Test against England starting next week.
Holder took two for 15 as the Kraigg Brathwaite XI’s fast-bowling unit, which also includes Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas and Marquino Mindley, ran through the Jason Holder XI top order to leave them struggling at 120 for five after 34 overs when bad light stopped play.
Rookie wicket-keeper Joshua Da Silva was the only batsmen to stand up to the pacers, the 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago player hitting 60 to ensure his team got past triple figures. Da Silva got support from Sunil Ambris, who scored 25 as they posted 79 for the second wicket after left-hander Shayne Moseley was bowled first ball of the day by speedster Oshane Thomas. Ambris was eventually caught by Mindley off the bowling of Holder.
His dismissal triggered a slide as Holder’s XI lost four wickets for 29 runs. Mindley, Phillip and Thomas took one wicket each.
The first day of the four-day match had been abandoned without the toss being taken due to rain and the second day started in similar circumstances before the weather cleared up enough for the match to get under way in the afternoon.
Speaking to the media during a Zoom press conference yesterday, Holder said he was enthused by the performances of the fast bowlers and was trying to learn as much as possible from his first tour with the senior West Indies team.
The former West Indies Under-19 champion has said he is simply trying to “maintain what I’ve done before and looking to progress” and he was not shy about approaching the senior fast-bowlers on tour for advice about the game.
“It is great because I know that anything I want to know, I can ask them and they will give me the information. Also, I am learning a few things. Firstly, how hard Test cricket is and that you’ve got to stay mentally strong and keep putting in the work and keep making the effort,” said Holder.
“This time around it has been going good. I’ve been here more than once and the conditions, I seem to have adapted to them, especially the cold weather so it is just about trying to stay focused and doing what I have to do ahead of the first game,” he added.
Holder also noted that he wasn’t going to put pressure on himself to live up to the hype and buzz around the resurgence of fast bowling in the region.
“I know my ability and what I can do and if given the opportunity, I’m just going to stay focused and do what I have to. I won’t put a lot of pressure on myself going into whatever game I play so, basically, I just have to stay focused and be patient,” he said.
“For them to label us as the future fast bowlers, that means they really see something in us, so I feel good that coaches (are) looking at me and the others could say that this is the future going forward,” he concluded.
Weather permitting, the four-day match continues today and concludes tomorrow before the Windies travel to Southampton ahead of the first Test, bowling off on July 8.