PERTH: West Indies captain Jason Holder on Friday returns to Perth´s WACA ground, the place where he made his one-day international debut in 2013 and the scene of one of his team´s greatest humiliations.
The West Indies were bowled out by Australia for just 70 on February 1, 2013 – their third lowest total of all time – in a game where ´extras´ were their top scorer with 17.
Holder made just seven runs on his nightmare debut but at least had the consolation of taking the only Australian wicket to fall as the home side knocked off the runs in under 10 overs.
“It means a lot to me to play here again,” said Holder on the eve of Friday´s World Cup clash against defending champions India.
“I made my debut here and it was a dream come true. To be able to play for West Indies against Australia in my first game, I was touched.
“Being back here now I would like to improve on my performance from last time, and having said that, I´ll do everything in my power to enhance our chances of winning.”
Only four players from that disaster in 2013 remain in the current squad – Holder, Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy and Kemar Roach – but Friday´s mission may be just as thankless.
The game will be the first meeting between the two countries since the West Indies controversially abandoned their tour of India over a payments dispute in October, a decision which left the cash-strapped West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) facing a $42 million compensation bill.
Of more pressing concern for Holder is the West Indies´ stuttering progress towards a quarter-final place at the World Cup after two wins and two defeats, the last of which was a record-equalling 257-run loss to South Africa in Sydney where the Proteas piled up 408 for five.
Holder himself was in the eye of that Sydney storm, his 10 overs costing 104 runs – the fifth most expensive return in all one-day internationals – with 64 runs alone scored off his final two overs.
“That´s cricket, that´s sport. You have good days, you have bad days. I´ve had a bad bowling effort. But the way I look at it, I just try to learn from it, and I´m not too worried about it,” he said.
“That´s gone. That´s in the past, and I´ve taken a lot from it. So I´m really looking forward tomorrow to just coming back stronger.”
So far at the World Cup, India have three wins in three games – a 76-run victory over Pakistan, a 130-run romp past South Africa and a nine-wicket stroll against the United Arab Emirates.
A win on Friday would guarantee a quarter-final spot for India while a defeat would leave the West Indies on a knife-edge although they face rock-bottom UAE in their last game.
Holder believes the pace and bounce of the WACA wicket can work in his favour and force India´s batting masters onto the back foot.
“Virat Kohli has been phenomenal for them. They have Shikhar Dhawan who has been in some form, and you have players like Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni,” he said.
“But I back my bowlers to execute their plans and set them on the back foot. But they have a pretty good line-up and good quality players. We´ve planned for them.”