Pollard says Holder death bowling will be key against India

Jason Holder (R) of West Indies celebrates the dismissal of Chris Jordan of England during the 5th and final T20I between West Indies and England at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, on 30 January, 2022AFP file photo

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard on Saturday said Jason Holder will remain their go-to death bowler in white-ball cricket as they take on hosts India in a much-anticipated series.

The West Indies, who are fresh from a Twenty20I win against England, begin their tour of India with the first of the three one-day internationals in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Fast bowler Holder played a starring role in the team's series-clinching fifth T20I last month with four wickets in four balls to see off England.

Dwayne Bravo remained a death bowler expert in T20 cricket till his retirement last year and Pollard believes Holder is a worthy replacement.

"From a T20 perspective we saw Jason bowling at the death, couple of times he bowled and came out successful," Pollard told reporters.

West Indies` Kieron Pollard plays a shot during the third T20 international cricket match of a three-match series between India and West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on 11 December 2019
AFP file photo

"And being one of our senior bowlers he will have to take up the mantle that Bravo left and it's something that he is willing and ready to do."

West Indies endured some rough times after the disastrous defence of their T20 World Cup title was followed by a shock ODI series loss at home to Ireland.

But Pollard's team hit back with the England win and the big-hitter hopes a good showing in India will further prove their mettle.

"It was one more lesson, we are trying to get better as a team and I think we crossed that bridge and got here and we are looking forward to the series. For us it's another opportunity to improve our skills and another opportunity to test where we are in international cricket coming up against a formidable Indian team in their conditions," he said.

Pollard, who attracted a lot of flak after their loss to Ireland, broke into a song in the post-presentation ceremony following their England win.

Man of the match Holder said it was the "closest" they have felt as a group.

The 34-year-old Pollard, a veteran of 122 ODIs and 98 T20I matches, said he is protecting his players from external noise.

"We continue to protect one another in terms of what's happening outside," he said.

"One of the ways to protect the guys is for me to put on that cape and make my back broader so all the focus could be directed at me. The guys can go ahead and charter their way through international cricket."

The ODIs will be followed by three T20 matches at Kolkata's Eden Gardens.