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Holder looking to Windies young bats for success

Thursday, April 20, 2017
GETTING READY Jermaine Blackwood working out during the West Indies training session at Sabina Park, Jamaica yesterday, ahead of the first Test against Pakistan which bowls off today. Photo: (WICB Media Photo/Philip Spooner)

The last time these two countries locked horns in a Test battle was back in November 2016 at Sharjah in the UAE and the West Indies won.

Five months on, they renew acquaintances clad in white and will be hoping to continue with the fight that gave them that Test win in Sharjah. The preceding T20 series and ODI series went in favour of the visitors but many of the players coming in to do Test battle did not take part in those tussles.

Skipper Jason Holder is hoping for a repeat: “We have a very good squad, a young squad and they have done well in First Class cricket. Now it is for them to transfer their performances into Test cricket. We have spoken at length during team meetings on what we need to do and one of the things is that we need to finish off well. In the past we got 20 wickets but not enough runs on the board. The key is to set up the match with good batting in the first innings. Added to this we have stressed on consistency and momentum and the need to hold on to it and don’t send it back to the Pakistanis, when we are on top.”

The Barbadian likes what he sees on the Sabina strip: “It is interesting with some moisture, some life and some grass on it and it tells us there will be something there for the fast bowlers in the first hour, or the first session.”

The onus will be on the home side to make this series more than just a farewell for Pakistan stalwarts Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.

The opening Test match of Brighto Paints presents Q Mobile Cup Test Series at Sabina today marks two special occasions – the 50th Test at the Sabina Park and also the 50th Test between West Indies and Pakistan.

“This is a huge honour to lead the West Indies team again in Test cricket, and it is made even more special because of this great occasion. West Indies and Pakistan have a rich history going back close to 60 years, so as a team we are mindful that we have to carry on the legacy established by those great men who paved the way,” Holder said.

“It is also significant that we will be part of the celebrations to mark the 50th Test at Sabina Park – a splendid occasion at one of the iconic venues in world cricket. To host 50 Test matches is something to be very proud of and as a team we want to do something memorable to commemorate the moment for the people of Jamaica and the entire Caribbean.”

Pakistan captain Misbah said: “It is a great honor and privilege for me to lead Pakistan team in the 50th Test match between our two sides. I would like to congratulate West Indies Cricket Board, the team and the local people on this auspicious occasion.

“West Indies has produced some great players over the years and it is always heartening to see both teams go against each other on the field. I once again congratulate the host country on this occasion and look forward to a great Test series ahead.”

West Indies and Pakistan played their first Test match back in January, 1958, when the visitors toured the Caribbean for the first time. The first series featured two historic innings – the first being Hanif Mohammad’s 337 in the second innings of the first Test in Barbados.

A month later, a young Garfield Sobers made his first Test century – 365 not out in the third Test at Sabina Park – which set a new record for the highest score in Test cricket. This remains the highest score ever at Sabina Park.

The first Test at Sabina Park was between West Indies and England in 1930, when Karl Nunes led the home side. In that match George Headley made 223 in the second innings and the home side earned a draw.

Action gets underway at 11am T&T time.


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