Holder reveals pandemic-era series took a mental toll on West Indies team

By Sports Desk July 28, 2020

Jason Holder revealed there were players in his West Indies team who were mentally "worn out" by the effort involved in playing a Test series in the COVID-19 era.

Captain Holder saw his team slump to a 269-run defeat in the decider against England at Old Trafford, losing the series 2-1 but thankful to have been allowed to tour at all.

His verdict was that it had "been a blessing to come over here and get some cricket", albeit acknowledging the future was "so uncertain" as to when cricket can return to normal.

The West Indies and England teams have been confined to bio-secure environments, staying in on-site accommodation, meaning their freedom of movement has been curtailed over the past month.

Each match has been played behind closed doors, too, with players unable to feed off the energy of a crowd.

Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said: "It's been challenging, it's been really challenging. Mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.

"It could be this way for a little while so we've got to find ways to make it work.

"Hopefully things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure."

He added in a news conference: “We've been kept indoors for the last two months. The guys haven't seen a bit of real life for a bit.

“It's tough to constantly get up, you're here, you open your curtains and you just see the cricket ground. You're not hopping on the bus as you normally do."

West Indies made a great start to their tour with a win at the Rose Bowl, but England found form in Manchester with back-to-back Old Trafford successes, inspired by the likes of Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad.

Holder's team conceded first-innings leads of 182 in the second Test and 172 in the series decider, and such batting disappointed the skipper.

"I felt the wickets were good enough for us to put a bigger first-innings effort in both Test matches," he said on Sky Sports.

"If you look at our batting performance, we had plenty of starts, quite a few guys got half-centuries, got into the forties and thirties but didn't kick on.

"The difference with England is when Stokes got in he went big, when [Dom] Sibley got in he went big; unfortunately we didn't do that."

Related items

  • Windies Women batters need to raise their game says Coach Andre Coley Windies Women batters need to raise their game says Coach Andre Coley

    After a disastrous World Cup earlier this year when none of their batters lived up to expectation, West Indies women's interim head coach Andre Coley has called upon them to step up during their five-match T20 series that begins on Monday.

    "White-ball cricket, and T20 cricket specifically, is about scoring runs," Coley said. "If you watch the history of our cricket, our bowling department has always held its own, done well and been competitive.

    "[But] we'll need to post challenging totals and be able to chase them as well. We need to be clear in our roles for each player, and how we want to go about the batting, and we should be okay."

    Coley said he was happy with the fact that during the two intra-squad warm-up matches they played in the past few days, the batters did fairly will Captain Stafanie Taylor and Lee-Ann Kirby being the standouts with scores of 71 and 85, respectively.

    "It's very good that in all innings that were played, we batted the full complement of overs," Coley said. "And there were individual performances as well as partnerships throughout. It was good for everyone to have had some time out in the middle in a competitive environment, which we haven't had for a while.

  • Capitals gain as Kings XI collapse in IPL classic. Pooran out twice without scoring. Capitals gain as Kings XI collapse in IPL classic. Pooran out twice without scoring.

    Delhi Capitals made the most of a stunning late collapse by Kings XI Punjab to triumph in a super over at the end of an IPL thriller on Sunday. 

    Marcus Stoinis made 53 from 21 deliveries as Delhi recovered from a shocking start to post 157-8, though their fightback appeared in vain when their opponents matched their total with three balls to spare. 

    However, needing just one more run to prevail, Kings XI were somehow unable to get over the line, losing wickets off the final two deliveries. 

    Mayank Agarwal was the first of those to depart having made a superb 89, the opener rescuing his side after they had slipped to 55-5 in their reply. 

    He hit 10 runs off Stoinis' first three deliveries at the start of the 20th over, but the bowler hit back when a wide full toss was slapped to Shimron Hetmyer in the deep.

    Chris Jordan then clipped a full toss straight to Kagiso Rabada at square leg to leave the scores level, meaning a super over was required to decide the outcome of a see-saw contest.

    Kings XI managed two runs off the opening ball but Rabada then claimed a pair of wickets, leaving Delhi needing three. They easily reached the paltry target to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

    STOINIS STUNS KINGS XI

    Having come together at 13-3, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant made 39 and 31 respectively. Still, when both fell in successive balls, the Capitals were reeling at 87-5.

    Stoinis, though, emphatically changed the tempo of the innings. Kings XI leaked 57 from the final three overs – including 30 off the last, bowled by Chris Jordan – as Delhi finished with a flourish.

    PAINFUL OUTING FOR ASHWIN

    Playing against his former franchise, Ravichandran Ashwin's involvement was cut short when he suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

    The India spinner claimed two wickets in his opening over before getting hurt when diving to stop a ball, forcing him to leave the field with his left arm in a makeshift sling.

    PAIR FOR POORAN

    It is not often you get to bat twice in a Twenty20 game. However, Nicholas Pooran failed to capitalise on either opportunity he had for Kings XI.

    The West Indies batsman was dismissed by Ashwin first time around and then, called into action again in the super over, was cleaned up first ball by Rabada.

  • 'WI Women feeling at home' - skipper Taylor insists team well-settled ahead of England series 'WI Women feeling at home' - skipper Taylor insists team well-settled ahead of England series

     West Indies Women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has revealed that the team is buoyed by its comfort level, having been given time to settle in England ahead of the upcoming series.

    The particular nature of the series, played in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed the Caribbean team to arrive in England at the end of last month.  The players have been since locked away in a biosecure environment where they have had the time to get used to conditions.

    “The good thing is that we have been here for a while now.  It feels like home.  Normally when we go on a tour it feels like we are the away team.  This time it feels like we are the home team.

    “The girls are in good spirits.  We’ve had a few weeks to get out there and get used to the conditions,” she added.

     All matches will be played behind closed doors at Derby, where West Indies have been based for three weeks.  The England Women has dominated the West Indies in recent meetings and have racked up comfortable victories in multiple formats.   Monday's series opener will be the first women's international since 86,174 people watched Australia defeat India in the T20 World Cup final in March.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.