ST JOHN’S, Antigua – With just over a year to go, WINDIES captain Jason Holder has mapped out a plan to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The WINDIES have won the event twice – under the leadership of the legendary Clive Lloyd – winning the inaugural event final at Lord’s in England in 1975, when they conquered Australia by 17 runs, and following up in the second edition at the same venue four years later, when they repelled the hosts by 92 runs.
In 1975, Lloyd hit an attractive 102 to take the Man-of-the-Match award and set things up for his side, and in 1979, Viv Richards (now Sir Viv) was in his prime, smashing an unbeaten 138, earning the Man-of-the-Match award, Collis King slammed 86 off 66 balls to add 139 with Sir Viv and Joel Garner followed up with five wickets to seal another memorable victory.
Holder now dreams of similar heady performances to propel his side and lead him to becoming the second WINDIES captain to lift the coveted trophy at Lord’s with the countdown having started for the prestigious event, which begins on May 30 and climaxes with the final on July 14 (see schedule below).
“The World Cup is extremely special for us,” said Holder. “As players and as a team, it means everything. We have a great history and we won the first two editions, so the aim is to make it three in 2019.
“We want to be there at Lord’s in the final to lift the World Cup – we believe we are good enough to win it. It’s always great to play in a global event. As a young cricketer, you set your sights on this kind of event and doing something special for West Indies fans on the world stage.”
“We took the qualifiers route to get to this World Cup, but that was a blessing in disguise as it brought us closer as a team. We grew as a unit during that tournament. For the World Cup, we will enter as underdogs, but we believe in each other, and know for whom and what we are playing.”
The ICC, cricket’s world governing body, announced the tournament schedule this week and it revealed an opening contest for WINDIES against Pakistan on May 31 next year in Nottingham. The 10 teams will play under a non-elimination format before the tournament concludes with semi-finals and the final.
WINDIES reached the World Cup through the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe earlier this year and Holder said the aim was to build on the momentum gained from those matches in their upcoming encounters, as the side gets their World Cup preparation in gear.
“Playing in the World Cup qualifiers was not all bad in a way,” he said. “I think it was an opportunity to come together as a side, get some wins under our belt, play some of the Associate nations and some of the nations which qualified as full member nations.
“It gave us some momentum. It gave us a feeling of winning again. We won quite a few games in the World Cup qualifiers – and everybody got some performances there. It wasn’t one or two individuals that really stood out in every particular game. It was a situation where a different individual put up their hand in every game.”
The WINDIES’ schedule of World Cup matches:
31 May – v Pakistan, Trent Bridge (d)
6 June – v Australia, Trent Bridge (d)
10 June – v South Africa, Hampshire Bowl (d)
14 June – v England, Hampshire Bowl (d)
17 June – v Bangladesh, Taunton (d)
22 June – v New Zealand, Old Trafford (d/n)
27 June – v India, Old Trafford (d)
1 July – v Sri Lanka, The Riverside (d)
4 July – v Afghanistan, Headingley (d)