Pleased Holder wants West Indies to continue playing “aggressive” brand of cricket
West Indies were pretty much ruthless in their approach on Friday against Pakistan. (AFP Image)

NOTTINGHAM: Jason Holder couldn’t have hoped for a better start for the West Indies to the World Cup than a win as dominating as Friday. Their fast bowlers came to the fore to bundle Pakistan out for 105, a total West Indies chased down with seven wickets remaining. Stressing on the need to be aggressive, the West Indies skipper pointed out that it is the one thing West Indies are not looking to compromise on as they head forward into the tournament.

“I think our style was just to be aggressive. We just want to be aggressive with whoever we’re playing against,” Holder said following West Indies’ crushing defeat of Pakistan. “It’s just something that we need to do in order to pick up wickets. I think with the modern-day game, if you are not picking wickets up throughout the innings you’re going to struggle to contain teams. So we just want to be aggressive even if we give up a few runs up front, trying to get wickets. One of the things we’ve spoken about in the recent past is just trying to have that mindset to take wickets because if you’re not taking wickets you’re going to struggle.

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“I think every single team in the competition that’s going to be looking to pick up wickets throughout the entire innings has been a common trend. If you don’t get wickets continuously going throughout the innings, you’re going to struggle to contain teams at the very back end. It’s something you have to do, whether it be through spin, which is the way a lot of teams have gone, or whether it be through good fast bowling, which is the direction we’ve been going.”

Aggressive it certainly was. The way West Indies’ pacers operated, it was reminiscent of the West Indies of their prime, when bouncing out oppositions was their thing. Oshane Thomas and Holder shared seven wickets, while Andre Russell’s spell of 3-1-4-2 triggered an implosion for Pakistan.

“His [Russell] spell had great impact, obviously. It started the slide for Pakistan, and again, he’s one of those players that runs in and gives it his all. He has a lot of force going through his body, and he’s one of those players that he will give you 110 percent every time he steps up to the plate,” said Holder.

(ALSO READ: Sarfraz Ahmed says Andre Russell’s spell was the turning point)

“He [Thomas] has been excellent. The last game he got five wickets and then he comes and follows it up with four wickets here today. It was great to see him running in and bowling fast. That’s one thing we ask of him, just to be aggressive in those middle overs, as I said before. He’s working out quite nicely for us. It’s just a matter for us to be consistent with it, and at times not get carried away with it in terms of overdoing it.”

Besides aggression, Holder also emphasized the importance of discipline for this West Indies side. Recently, they had also bowled England, the world’s No-1 ranked ODI side, and the skipper said it was important for West Indies to start on the right footing.

“When we start any campaign we always have team meetings. We go through the players on the opposition and just try to formulate our plans. As I said generally, we’ve got a team plan to be aggressive. We get a lot of short bowls in the nets, as well, too, so it’s good to see a lot of short bowls transcending from the nets onto the field of play,” Holder pointed out.

West Indies next face Australia five days from now and Holder did not rule out the possibility of the team sticking to the plan of bowling short.

“We’ve got Australia in the next encounter. As I said to the guys, we’ve got a long tournament here, it’s just a matter for us to take it game by game, and I’m not getting ahead of myself. We just want to be consistent,” Holder said. “The only thing we can focus on and control is cricket, and we’ve got three departments to make sure we’re clinical in in terms of our batting, bowling and fielding, and I just want us to be the best we can in terms of performing our roles for the team.

“It depends on the players (on bowling short). As I said before, we sit down, we plan for each player in the batting line-up. If we feel that a batsman is a bit susceptible to the short ball, then we’ll use a short bowl. If not, we’ve got to find other options.”