thumping Test win over Afghanistan inside three days in Lucknow, captain Jason Holder believes that his side can punch above its weight and claim a top-half finish – at fourth or fifth – in the World Test Championship points table. West Indies began their Test Championship campaign, against India at home in August, ranked eighth in Tests, but that hasn’t deterred Holder’s bullish expectations.
“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 in a press conference after his team’s nine-wicket victory on Friday (November 29). The one-off Test against Afghanistan is not part of the Championship as Afghanistan aren’t one of the nine teams that qualified for the inaugural two-year competition.
West Indies, who lost their WTC opening series to India at home, will take their campaign ahead with a two-Test home series against South Africa before traveling to New Zealand. They are then scheduled to play three series in 2021 – two Tests at home against Sri Lanka, and three away in England and Bangladesh. Holder is not daunted by the line-up, and reckons there’s room for the team to develop and target a top-half finish.
“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,” Holder said, in his assessment of the West Indies side, and the path forward.
There were signs of improvement compared to the India series, albeit against a weaker opposition in Afghanistan, as Holder & Co. showed utter domination across the two days and an hour into the third. After winning the toss and deciding to let Afghanistan bat first, and his bowlers backed him up by skittling out Afghanistan for just 187 on Day 1. A Shamarh Brooks century in response gave West Indies a lead of 90 runs, which put enough pressure on Afghanistan for them to wilt.