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West Indies Winners

'Expect to finish fourth or fifth in World Test Championship' – Holder

AFG v WI, Only Test, reaction

After securing a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Afghanistan in their only Test on Friday, 29 November, West Indies captain Jason Holder believes his side has a realistic chance of finishing in the top four of the World Test Championship.

West Indies are currently ranked eighth in the MRF Tyres ICC Test team rankings, but Holder is confident his team is good enough to finish 'fourth or fifth' in the points table of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. The Caribbean side were exceptional against Afghanistan in Lucknow and secured a big victory under three days.

"I think by the end of the Test Championship, I don't see it being impossible for us to be fourth or fifth in the world," Holder said during the post-match press conference. "That would be a significant achievement in a two-year period.

"We've got some tough series coming up: we've got England, then South Africa coming to the Caribbean, then we've got New Zealand - all good cricket sides. But I don't think it's beyond us to beat them. We've just got to make sure we keep building and developing. Once we do that, we can compete with any side in the world. A realistic target in two years would be to be ranked three or four in the world."

Although this Test was not a part of the World Test Championship module, Holder feels the experience has helped them get better. He was particularly impressed with the spinners, who played a vital role in winning the game. The star of the show was Rahkeem Cornwall, who picked up a ten-wicket haul in only his second Test.

"We did expect the spinners to play a heavy role in this game, but with the new ball we probably expected a little more from the fast bowlers," explained Holder. "As the ball got older, I felt it did a little bit more. Their openers played well and pretty much saw off the new ball.

Rahkeem Cornwall was the Player of the Match for his 10-wicket haul
Rahkeem Cornwall was the Player of the Match for his 10-wicket haul

"Our spinners really came into effect with the harder ball, so I think it all worked out the way it was supposed to. Credit to Rahkeem [Cornwall]. He bowled an exceptional spell in the first innings and then backed it up really well in the second innings, supported well by the other bowlers."

The only aspect of West Indies' win that left Holder unsatisfied was their batting. West Indies could manage only 277 in their first innings, a score possible because of Sharmarh Brook's maiden Test ton. While the score eventually turned out to be enough for Afghanistan, Holder agreed that the Caribbean batters need to take up more responsibility to facilitate West Indies' rise up the table.

If we can put teams under pressure with our first-innings scores, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world

Jason Holder

"I've said it in the last couple of series we've played: more responsibility needs to be taken by our batters. We've shown glimpses of brilliance, which is all well and good, but consistency is the name of the game," he said.

"In order to be a world-class team, you have to be consistent with your batting. You have to get 20 wickets of course, but you have to set it up with the bat. First innings count for a lot. If we can put teams under pressure with our first-innings scores, more often than not, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world."

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