Holder says man mountain Cornwall can be ‘best spinner’ of series


“Spin to win? West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, in action against Afghanistan in November, could be selected for Friday’s third Test against England at Old Trafford delivers a ball during the third day of the only cricket Test match between Afghanistan and West Indies at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on November 29, 2019.. ©AFP” />

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – West Indies captain Jason Holder has backed Rahkeem Cornwall to make more of an impact than any England spinner as the tourists decide whether to select the giant Antiguan for the deciding third Test.

Cornwall was left on the sidelines for the first two matches of a three-Test series, with the West Indies content to rely on the same pace quartet, backed up by batting all-rounder Roston Chase’s off-breaks.

But with the campaign all square at 1-1 heading into Friday’s finale at Old Trafford, 6ft 6in off-spinner Cornwall, who weighs around 22 stone, could get his chance having taken 10 wickets in just his second Test against Afghanistan in November.

And Holder is confident Cornwall can out-perform England off-spinner Dom Bess, the lone specialist slow bowler in the hosts’ third Test squad.

“If he (Cornwall) does come in he is a wicket-taker and he has proven himself to be a match winner, not only at the regional level but in his last Test match when he got 10 wickets,” Holder said Thursday.

– ‘Best on show’ –

“I think he is a quality off-spinner and no doubt to me he would be the best spinner on show in this series.

“He is always a wicket-taking option for us.But not only that he brings a bit more with slip catching and batting as well — and he brings a lot of control with his art.”

Concerns have been raised over how the West Indies’ quicks, particularly Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph, will pull up following England’s 113-run win in the second Test at Old Trafford completed Monday.

But batting appears to be the tourists’ biggest worry as they go in search of a first Test series win in England for 32 years that would see them retain the Wisden Trophy.

It appears their top order will again be given another chance to score the individual hundred that has so far eluded them this trip, although the likes of Joshua da Silva, who compiled nearly 200 runs in two warm-up games, could be promoted from among the reserves.

Shai Hope has long struggled to recapture the form that saw him score two hundreds — his only Test centuries – when the West Indies defeated England at Headingley three years ago.

Hope has failed to reach 30 in his last 10 Test innings, a sequence stretching back to February 2019, yet he boasts an impressive average of over 50 in one-day internationals.

“I’m 100 percent behind Shai, we all know what he can produce,” said Holder of his fellow Bajan.

“He’s done it before at this level in Test cricket, he’s arguably one of the best one-day batsmen in the world and we know the calibre of player he can be, so I’ve got full confidence in Shai to get some runs.”

Meanwhile Holder said the mood in the West Indies camp remained positive despite a heavy defeat last time out.

“We still have a really good opportunity to win this series and everybody’s upbeat for the occasion because we know what’s at stake.”

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