Andrew Strauss called for England's bowlers to step up after the omission of James Anderson and Stuart Broad against the West Indies but suggested the pair could feature later in the year.

England's interim managing director Strauss, interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor made up the three-man selection panel for the series, which starts in Antigua on March 8, and opted for a host of changes to the side.

Joe Root will once again lead his country, despite a 4-0 Ashes hammering by Australia in December and January, with Collingwood acting as interim coach following the departure of Chris Silverwood.

Anderson and Broad, who have managed 1,177 wickets in 321 Tests between them, were the most notable names left out of the touring party for the three-Test series in the Caribbean.

Lancashire pair Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson, along with Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher, were all included as the trio eye red-ball international debuts.

Strauss challenged the bowlers of the new-look squad to deliver in the absence of their evergreen stars, insisting that both the fresh faces and the more experienced players – such as Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes – must step up.

"This is an opportunity to refresh and look forward," Strauss told BBC Sport in an interview published on Wednesday. "We've brought some new blood into the bowling resources. 

"But we're also asking some of our existing bowlers to play a slightly different role to the one they've played before and show a bit more leadership."

 

Strauss reiterated the omission of Broad and Anderson does not signal the end for the duo, while he denied the pair's stature could be intimidating to captain Root and his younger players.

"They've earned the right to have that stature," he added.

"But we also have to think that there is life beyond them as well and we need to develop some of the other bowlers and allow them to play more of a leadership role, rather than just a followership role.

"No-one is saying Broad and Anderson won't feature this summer and beyond.

"My job is to give the new director of cricket and coach options from which to pick and we can learn more about the options we do have on this tour.

"The new coach and director of cricket will look at selection for the summer and Broad and Anderson will be very much in the mix."

Former opener Strauss also confirmed that Root will come in at number three, while the uncapped Durham batter Alex Lees will partner Zak Crawley at the top of the order amid England's ongoing battle problems.

"A lot of our batting problems have come at the top of the order," Strauss continued.

"Alex Lees comes in as a mature cricketer who knows his game well and it's an opportunity for him to stake his claim with Zak Crawley.

"Joe Root has said very categorically that he wants to bat at three and take that responsibility on.

"That's quite a fundamental shift in itself and creates a bit of space in the middle order for some of the less experienced players to play better and more consistently."

West Indies lost their second ODI against India at Ahmedabad by 44 runs on Wednesday and with it the three-match ODI series.

England have left out their all-time leading wicket-takers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, for the upcoming Test series against West Indies.

In the wake of head coach Chris Silverwood departing after a dismal Ashes series, England will be led in the Caribbean by captain Joe Root and interim coach Paul Collingwood.

There has been a push to freshen up their red-ball squad for the three-match tussle, starting in Antigua on March 8, and that has meant Anderson and Broad losing their places.

The selection panel, consisting of interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss, Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, named a 16-man squad on Tuesday.

As well as Broad and Anderson, six other players who featured in Australia have been left out: Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, who both endured poor stints Down Under.

Strauss contended this was by no means definitely the end of the road in Tests for Broad, 35, or Anderson, who turns 40 in July. Between them, the pair have taken 1,177 wickets in 321 Tests.

 

"In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players," said Strauss, who captained both seamers during his playing career.

"We feel that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously.

"No one doubts the quality and experience that James and Stuart bring to the England set-up. It will be up to the new managing director and permanent head coach to decide on whether they will be involved this summer and beyond."

However, Strauss also explained that England are looking to "start a new cycle" after a run of poor results in the longest format.

"We felt that it was time to draw a line after the Ashes defeat, look forward and give some impetus with an influx of new players," he said.

"This selection of this squad is the start of a process and a journey to get England Test cricket back to where it needs to be, and the hard work starts now."

Durham opener Alex Lees and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher have earned maiden call-ups, while Lancashire's Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson will be aiming to make their Test debuts.

Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes has also been included in Buttler's absence, having not featured since playing against India in March 2021.

England squad:

Joe Root (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fisher, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle stroked an unbeaten half-century and was backed up by stingy death bowling from Dwayne Bravo as Fortune Barishal eased to a 12-run win over Sylhet Sunrisers in the Bangladesh Premier League on Tuesday.

Gayle’s 51 from 45 balls provided the backbone for Fortune, who posted a formidable 199 for 4 after being sent in to bat.  The team was off to a solid start after the big left-hander formed part of an opening stand with Munim Shahriar to put 72 on the board.  The partnership was broken after Shahriar was bowled by Sohag Gazi for 51.

Wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan then joined Gayle at the crease but was dismissed after just four balls for 2.  Barishal captain Shakib Al Hasan then joined the West Indian to push the score along, adding 38 from just 19 balls before being caught off Alauddin Babu.

Towhid Hridoy added 10 before Bravo joined Gayle at the crease and added an unbeaten 34 off 13, as the two put on 42 for the last wicket.

In response, the Sunrisers made a game of the total after opener Collin Ingram put on a brilliant 90 from 49.  Bravo, however, continued to feature prominently throughout the match, claiming a catch at long-on off Najmul Hossain Shanto to dismiss Ingram and ending the late innings resistance of Mosaddek Hossain, who had 34 from 21, in the final over.  Bravo successfully defended 24 for the last over.

The win was the 6th for Barishal who top the table with 13 points.

West Indies all-rounder Akeal Hosein has enjoyed a brilliant start to his international career.

The Trinidadian left-arm spinner has so far taken 21 wickets in 13 One-Day Internationals and 15 wickets in 18 T20 Internationals.

Hosein is currently representing the regional side in an ongoing white-ball tour of India in which the team finds itself 1-0 down in the three-match ODI series.

He took 1-46 from nine overs in the game the West Indies lost by six wickets.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, ahead of the second ODI on Wednesday, Hosein, who is on his first tour of India, explained that figuring out the bowling in the conditions remains a work in progress.

“It's just about reading what type of pitch it is, what type of soil it is, and see what works on the day. Sometimes, you get information and it doesn’t really help you in the match so it’s definitely something that you have to go out there and feel for yourself and you can probably just keep that information at the back of your mind as well,” he said.

In their turn at the crease, in the first ODI, the West Indies batsmen were put into a blender by India’s spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, who took seven wickets between them.  So the question remains, how do the Windies batsmen plan to manage the spin onslaught in the second ODI?

“I think more of that will be revealed tomorrow. We don’t know how the surface might play; it might play the same, it might play better, it might play worse. One game plan that we do have no matter what is to just be positive and get ourselves into proper positions.  To play strong scoring shots and I think that’s something we’re going to stick with, no matter the surface and conditions. The more we’re able to do those things, we’ll be able to get through it,” Hosein added.

“The conversation after the game was generally about not getting our heads down. Yes, we’ve lost the match and it’s a short series with only three matches but more around the positives we took from the game. Although we lost, there were still positives and it’s just about how we plan to bounce back and come back stronger in the second game,” he added.

His performances this year have certainly caught the eye of the now 10 lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, with the auction for the 2022 season just a few days away but Hosein says his focus is on winning this series.

“These two games are very important for me because they will determine the series for us. I’m not really focused on the IPL. I’m focused on the task at hand right now. Yes, we know the IPL is the best league around but, having said that, I think once I do the right things and perform well for my team, other doors will open for me. The focus now is to try to win this ODI series,” he said.

The second ODI takes place on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Following Sunday's six-wicket defeat to India, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph believes the West Indies need to do a better job at the crease.

After batting first and posting a paltry 176 all out in just 43.5 overs, India needed just 28 overs to get to 178-4 and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Pace bowler Alzarri Joseph, who was the best bowler on the day for the Windies with 2-45 from seven overs, said the nature of the pitch made bowling difficult.

“It was a pretty difficult wicket. It was slow and spin-friendly so there wasn’t really much in it for me. We had our team meetings and we had specific plans for specific batsmen so I was just bowling towards the plans. I just tried to put in my effort and put my best foot forward for the team,” he said.

A common theme in the West Indies batting over the years, Joseph lamented the lack of application during their innings.

“I just think we need to assess a bit better and spend some more time at the crease. As you see, Fabian and Jason gave us a good partnership and partnerships will give us a better total. We needed to score a bit more," the Antiguan said.

"I think maybe 240 or 250 would have been a more challenging total on that wicket but it’s our first game out and we have two more games to get back in the series so we’ll just go back to the drawing board and put our plans in. We have two days to go back and plan so we’ll have our post-match meetings and come up with plans to get to where we need to get.”

Joseph has had an excellent start to his ODI career with 66 wickets in 41 matches and his goal is to just keep improving.

“My goals are just improving as a cricketer every time I go out on the field. Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, I try to improve myself and be better than I was yesterday,” he said.

The second ODI takes place on Wednesday.

 

 

Paul Collingwood will lead England in their Test series against West Indies following Chris Silverwood's sacking.

The ECB has made big changes following a humbling 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia, with Silverwood and assistant Graham Thorpe following managing director Ashley Giles out of the door.

But Collingwood, another assistant, has remained in place and will take charge for the three Tests, as he did for last month's T20I tour.

After the ECB confirmed his short-term appointment on Monday, Collingwood said: "I am genuinely excited to be leading the Test team for the tour of the Caribbean. I can't wait to get started.

"Having a challenging Test series against the West Indies straight off the back of the Ashes disappointment gives us a chance from now to reset and rebuild.

"Playing Test matches for England is the highest accolade in the game. My objective is to give players clarity, direction and encouragement for them to start building something special.

"I have spoken to Joe Root and Ben Stokes, and both are excited and passionate to take the team forward in this new cycle. Although they know it won't be easy, they have the desire and bravery to do things differently to ensure the team can prosper.

"We have an opportunity to get back on track."

The England squad is set to be named later this week, with Collingwood to join them in Antigua on February 25 following a break in Barbados.

Rohit Sharma enjoyed a brilliant start to life as India's ODI captain in a dominant six-wicket defeat of West Indies on Sunday.

Rohit was named skipper in December but only now, in the series opener in Ahmedabad, has he been able to lead his side due to a hamstring injury.

It was worth the wait, however, as India cruised to victory in their 1,000th ODI, aided by 60 runs from 51 balls from Rohit.

That knock, which included 10 fours and a six, set the tone for a straightforward chase after West Indies had been bowled out for 176.

Even that modest total required some heavy lifting from Jason Holder, whose 57 improved markedly on a woeful 7-79 start after the Windies skipper survived a scare.

Holder could have been the victim of a hat-trick ball from Yuzvendra Chahal (4-49), but his inside edge fell short of short leg.

Chahal's fellow spinner Washington Sundar – returning for his second ODI more than four years after his first – finished with 3-30 to help ensure a straightforward target for Rohit and Co.

An opening partnership of 84 with Ishan Kishan took any jeopardy out of the situation, as India comfortably made 178-4 in 28 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Holder reaches milestone in attempted rescue act...

A stunning spell from Chahal, whose four wickets took him to 103 in 60 ODIs (the fifth-fastest India bowler to 100), had West Indies in all sorts of trouble, but it also brought Holder out into the middle.

The captain led the way as the tourists belatedly showed some fight, making 57 to pass 2,000 ODI runs (2,011) and become the fifth West Indies player to reach that mark along with 100 wickets in this format. Holder has 141 ODI wickets but could not add to that tally.

But both innings belong to opposite number Rohit

There is little doubting Rohit's ability with the bat, and the opener's 60 took him past Sachin Tendulkar (1,573) onto 1,583 ODI runs against West Indies, with only Virat Kohli (now 2,243) scoring more for India.

The full-time captaincy role is a new one, however, and Rohit was just as impressive in that sense. Rewarded for putting his faith in the spinners, the skipper also had three successful reviews from three to account for Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran and Shamarh Brooks.

Rohit Sharma takes charge of India for a milestone ODI against West Indies on Sunday, saying the team "have to change" as his tenure as captain begins in earnest.

India have lost their last four ODIs, after slumping to a 3-0 series defeat to South Africa in January, with Rohit forced to miss the games against the Proteas due to a hamstring injury.

The opening batsman was appointed India's ODI skipper in December, taking over from Virat Kohli, but he has yet to feature for his country since then.

Now his chance to stamp a mark on the team has arrived, and Rohit said it would be "the same template" rather than anything radical that he brings to the leadership, but it is clear this is a flexible template.

A three-match ODI series awaits, with matches being played on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, all at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, ahead of a three-game T20I tussle in Kolkata.

At the age of 34, Rohit is seen as a wise tactician, a safe pair of hands for the coming years, and he has no designs of being a radical skipper.

"We are a good team and have good players. It's just that on certain occasions, there will be situations presented in front of us where we have to change our game a little bit," he said.

"We have to change our game, there is no doubt about that. Adaptability and being open to different things at different points is what we have spoken of."

He explained: "We have played good ODI cricket over the course of a few years – more than a few years, actually.

"Suddenly a loss of a series doesn't mean there's a panic that we need to create. It's just the certain understandings, certain learnings that we need to take into our game.

"The South Africa series was a great learning [experience] for us as to what we didn't do collectively as a team."

India's 1,000th ODI arrives on Sunday. They will become the first men's team to reach that mark and have won 518 matches in the format to date (L431 T9 NR41) – only Australia have won more such games (581).

Rohit will be partnered at the top of the India order by Ishan Kishan, with COVID-19 positive tests sidelining both Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad, while Mayank Agarwal, called up to add another option, is in the quarantining stage as he joins the team bubble.


A tangled history

India have won seven of their last eight men's ODIs against West Indies; however, it has been a different story at the venue for this series. In fact, West Indies have won four of the five ODIs they have played against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

India's lone win came in November 2002. The latest meeting of the teams at this ground took place in 2011, so although there is a historical record of West Indies dominance, it would be a stretch to point to this as particularly relevant to this series... unless, of course, West Indies rout India, then wise heads can say they saw it coming.

That seems unlikely, though. India have won nine of their last 10 bilateral home men's ODI series (L1), including the last three. Their lone defeat in this period was a 3-2 loss to Australia in March 2019. The last time West Indies triumphed against India, in India, in a bilateral ODI series was a 4-3 success in November 2002.

Can Holder dazzle again for West Indies?

West Indies are fresh from beating England 3-2 at home in a T20I series, so their morale is high. Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls in the final over of the series decider stands him in good stead, and the former captain will have another achievement in his sights. 

Holder, who has 141 ODI wickets, needs 46 more runs with the bat to reach 2,000 in ODI cricket. It would make him the fifth man to register 2,000 runs and 100 wickets for West Indies in the format.

In any form of cricket, you can’t score runs off the deliveries you don’t face. This rings true whether it’s Test, ODI or T20 cricket.

For the West Indies in the One-Day International format, a main problem over the last few years has been an inability to bat for their full 50 overs.

Speaking on Saturday ahead of the start of the regional team’s limited-overs tour of India, Captain Kieron Pollard says the main focus will be to rectify that.

“For this series against India, I think one of the things we need to take forward is how we bat 50 overs. We haven’t batted 50 overs for the last couple series against Ireland and Australia so that’s something that we need to look at. As a team, we need to follow the template and follow the plans that are put out there so we can be successful,” said Pollard.

“It’s another opportunity for us to test our skills and see where we are, coming up against a formidable Indian team in Indian conditions. If my memory serves me correctly, I think the last time we were down here, we did pretty well. We didn’t win the series but we pushed them so now we’re looking to push that one step further,” he added.

His memory does serve him correctly as the last time the West Indies toured India in 2019, they suffered 2-1 series defeats in both the ODIs and T20Is.

Asked about where he is mentally going into this series, Pollard said: "I’m in a good space, you know. I didn’t tour Pakistan so I got some much-needed time off to refresh the mind and body. Coming back in the Ireland series was difficult and the England series was tough as well but these things happen.

"Once you have intentions of playing sports; emotions, mental space, physical capabilities, all these things are tested and, for me, I’ve played my entire career with a lot of things riding on it and I’ve come through it with a smile on my face and that’s how I’m going to finish my career as well.”

The West Indies will oppose India in three ODIs and three T20Is, with the first ODI taking place on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Root will continue as England's Test captain at least for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, interim managing director Andrew Strauss has confirmed.

Root's position as skipper was thought to be under threat in the wake of England's crushing 4-0 Ashes series defeat to Australia.

That embarrassment proved the final straw for much-maligned head coach Chris Silverwood and managing director Ashley Giles, who were both dismissed this week.

There have been plenty of calls from fans and pundits alike for Root to also be removed from his position, though it would appear he is safe for the time being.

In his first news conference since temporarily taking over from Giles, Strauss said: "Having spoken to [Root], it is absolutely clear the extent of his commitment to taking this England cricket team forward. He has got incredible motivation and energy to do that.

"He is bruised, hugely disappointed by what went on in the Ashes – that goes without saying and many others are in the same boat – but he has the respect of the players, they all play for him and obviously he sets a magnificent example both on and off the field.

"I'm very happy to give him my support, and make sure that we've got the right sort of structure around him to take the pressure off him and allow him to do his job on the pitch."

Graham Thorpe, who operated as Silverwood's assistant, has not been so fortunate.

A statement confirmed the former England batsman "has left his position" with immediate effect.

Strauss said: "I'd like to thank Graham for his work over many years on the England coaching staff and wish him the best for the future."

England are due to begin their three-Test tour of West Indies on March 8.

Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein and allrounder Jason Holder have achieved career-best rankings in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings after helping the West Indies to a series-deciding 17-run victory in the fifth Betway T20 International against England at Kensington Oval last Sunday.

In the latest weekly update to the men’s rankings, which considers performances in the last three matches of the series, Hosein moved up 15 places to 18th position after a haul of 4-30 that helped him finish with six wickets in three matches.

“It’s not something I pay close attention to. However, when I play or train, it’s always about aiming to become the best,” Hosein said while speaking with CWI Media.

“It’s about having that mindset of wanting to improve and wanting to be at the top, so definitely it is an aspiration of mine to be the number one bowler in the world someday. Therefore, this move means a lot to me. It shows that my hard work is paying off and that I will be rewarded if I perform well. It’s definitely a good feeling.”

Holder was the star performer with the unique feat of grabbing four wickets in four balls in front of his home crowd. He finished with figures of 5-27 – the best in a T20I at the historic venue. This took his tally to nine wickets in those three matches, as he advanced three places to 23rd with a massive gain of 20 rating points. Overall, he took 15 wickets in the five matches, a new record for the most in a bilateral series, and was named the Player-of-the-Series.

Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell (up 10 places to 31st) is another West Indies bowler to move up in Wednesday’s update while England spinner Moeen Ali (up three places to 32nd) and Liam Livingston (up 33 places to 68th) have also advanced.

In the ranking for batters, Nicholas Pooran is up eight places to 18th after scoring 113 runs in the three matches including a knock of 70, while opener Brandon King (up 25 places to 58th) and West Indies captain Kieron Pollard (up 15 places to 60th) have also advanced. King made a stylish 52 not out in the first match as West Indies won easily, while Pollard had a crucial 41 not out off 25 balls in the final match.

“This definitely means a lot to me, because I put a lot of work into my craft. I work day in and day out, so moving up the rankings is important. The ultimate goal is to be the best. I do pay attention to it (the rankings) because it is a good way to track your growth,” Pooran said.

Rovman Powell made the most of his return to the team with a brilliant 107 in the third matchmaking him the third West Indian to record a century in this format. He followed up with 35 not out off 17 balls in the last game.

Speaking at the end of the enthralling series, West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick said the improvement shown was extremely pleasing.

“After the last couple of months that we’ve had, it’s really pleasing that we’ve won a series. Improvement for me is actually more important than winning the series because you’ve got to focus on getting to the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 and doing a lot better than we did in the last one,” he said.

“The crowds coming back to the stadium is very important. The players were a lot freer this time around. The bubble was still there but a lot more relaxed and you could see the players responding to it so credit to the medical staff of the Cricket West Indies.

“Akeal Hosein was really brilliant for us when the chips were down along with Fabian Allen. They turned the tide, put England under pressure, continued to get wickets and that’s all we can ask, that people put their hands up when they need to and lead and fight and battle.”

The West Indies will head back to the silence of an empty stadium for part of its tour of India following the announcement that the upcoming One Day International series will be played behind closed doors.

In addition to the cricket, the West Indies most recently concluded series against England looked like a rollicking good time.  Vaccinated spectators were allowed to enter the Kensington Oval and added plenty to the atmosphere.

The team’s tour of India will begin with three One Day International’s at the Narendra Modi Stadium, scheduled between February 6 to 11.  The Gujarat Cricket Association, however, confirmed that due to the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic the match will be played behind closed doors.

“We are all set to host West Indies Tour of India ODI Series 2022. 1st ODI on 6th of Feb will be a very special and historic match as India will be playing it’s 1000th ODI. The Indian team will be the first cricket team in the world to achieve this feat. @BCCI #INDvsWI #teamindia,” the GCA said via its official Twitter account.

“Considering the current situation, all the matches will be played behind the closed doors,” the state cricket body said in another tweet.

Following the ODI series, the teams will play a three-match T20 International series in Kolkata, for which the West Bengal government has allowed 75 percent crowd attendance.

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard had plenty of reasons to strike an unmistakably defiant tone after a hard-fought series win over England at the Kensington Oval on Sunday.

The victory will have gone some way in easing the pressure faced by both the captain and the team itself following an anemic performance at the T20 World Cup and a shock loss to Ireland in its most recent One Day International series.

During the England series, the West Indies were once again put in a negative spotlight as rumours of player victimization, pertaining to fast bowler Odean Smith came to the surface.

A performance against world number one England, albeit an understrength unit, and particularly one where so many players put in exceptional performances, was timely.  The fact did not escape Pollard.

“Every single one in the dressing room, we rallied together through everything.  Every time we won a game there was something negative against us, but we came out and the guys really won it,” Pollard said after briefly opening with his own rendition of a verse from the popular Jamaica dancehall artist.

“Empty vessels make the most noise.  The guys have worked tirelessly, when we came back from Jamaica our heads were down.  We had conversations in the dressing room regarding how we wanted to play the cricket and I think the guys bounced back pretty well,” he added.

“It’s one series but we have been on the losing end of a lot of series and a lot of games and you have to take this one.  The guys needed an opportunity to just free up themselves and enjoy themselves for a couple of games.”

Particularly pleasing for the team would have been the performance of former captain Jason Holder who claimed man of the series following a virtuoso performance just months after being controversially left out of the 15-man T20 World Cup starting team.

It was a special Sunday night at the Kensington Oval in Barbados as the West Indies defeated England by 17 runs in the fifth T20 International to win the Betway series 3-2.

Former West Indies Test and ODI captain Jason Holder was the hero of the day with four wickets in four balls in the final over as the West Indies defended their score of 179-4.

Not surprisingly, Holder was chuffed.

“What a real night last night. I just want to thank each and every fan that came to the stadium yesterday. It was a wonderful feeling seeing everyone back in the stands cheering," he while speaking with the media Monday morning. "Special thank you also to the supporters who travelled all the way from England to support their team. I think both teams played a really good series and it’s good to see the way it ended.”

Holder, who was voted Man-of-the-Series after an excellent return of 15 wickets in five matches, was pleased with the attitude of the team that saw them bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 ODI series defeat to Ireland earlier in January.

“I think it’s been great. After the start we had against Ireland in Jamaica and everybody was really down and deflated, to see the way we bounced back against England, it just shows the character in the dressing room. I think we really pulled together and it’s the first time in a long time it’s felt that close in the dressing room. It’s a great feeling,” he said.

“Hopefully we can continue this and build something special. I think this group has to be the group now, with such young and talented players, to become even closer and get better. I think if we do that, the future of West Indies cricket would be in good hands.”

The West Indies next assignment will be a white-ball tour of India where they will play three ODIs and three T20Is beginning on February 6.

“I think this series is a big series. India, for me, is the best all-round cricket team in the world and they’ve proven that over the last couple of years so to go in their backyard and beat them is not going to be an easy feat but it’s not impossible,” Holder said.

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