“I'm very optimistic,” Holder told Sportsmail. “I think we've got what it takes to win the World Cup. It's just a matter of the cricket we play. We've potentially got match winners on any given day and we can beat any side in the world.
“We're confident that once we formulate our plans and execute them we'll be up there lifting that trophy at the very end.”
Holder was at the heart of his side’s recent Test series victory against England before they shared the spoils 2-2 in the ODI series that followed. Holder’s side were the in fact the first to deny the top-ranked England a bilateral series win in three years. Now with the likes of the experienced and destructive Chris Gayle back in the mix and young stars such as Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo and Holder himself – the West Indies are not surprisingly upbeat about their chances, though they aren’t being counted among the favourites by pundits.
“Competing against the No 1 one-day side in the world and pushing them right until the end says a lot about our potential,” Holder said. “It doesn't matter to me. I just think we've got the players to beat them. I quite like the underdog tag. It feels good to prove people wrong.”
When West Indies last won the World Cup in 1979 under Clive Lloyd, Holder wasn’t even born. As head of the selection panel in 2014, it was Lloyd who had picked out Holder and the current captain regards the West Indies as a friend and mentor.
“Growing up, you track history,” he said. “Clive Lloyd lifted the two World Cups, and it's up to us to try to achieve something similar. He and I are very close. He's given me a lot of advice about how to go about my international experience. He always said to me that it took three years for him to understand how to play Test cricket. Having played Test cricket for a while, I realise what he meant.
“Our boys are probably not the finished product but we're definitely on the right path to becoming pretty good West Indian players. If we stick together for the next two or three years, the sky's the limit.
“And, being in England, this was the last place we lifted the World Cup. Who knows, maybe there's a script to be written there.”
First Published: April 4, 2019, 2:10 PM IST