'Written-off Windies can still stun Oz'

Jason Holder (AFP)
Jason Holder (AFP)

Hobart - Skipper Jason Holder on Wednesday said his embattled West Indies players must focus on their individual game plans if they want to pull off a stunning win against Australia in the first Test in Hobart.

Amid incredulity that the West Indies have a chance against Steve Smith's Australians, after a run of woeful results, Holder challenged his young team to get their heads down and fight.

It looks a tall order for the once-mighty Caribbeans to turn things around when the first of three Tests gets underway on Thursday.

The West Indies are ranked above only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. They have won just four of their last 20 Tests and last won a Test in Australia in 1997.

But Windies pace great and now team bowling consultant Curtly Ambrose has predicted a shock victory, and Holder said that is possible if they execute their plans.

"We are very upbeat about this series. It's a fresh series for us, so we have to be positive going into it," Holder told a match-eve media conference.

"If we realistically do what we have to do in terms of executing our roles then anything is possible on any given day.

"The onus has to be upon each player to perform their role and execute their plans. Once we do that we can put together a strong collective effort."

Doubts about the Windies redoubled after they were humiliated by a rookie Cricket Australia XI by 10 wickets in their only warm-up game.

Ambrose rebuked the team in the wake of the defeat and Holder said the players have taken his stinging words to heart.

"Curtly shed a lot of light on where we are at this current time and how we played that warm-up game," Holder said.

"We're in that situation where we have to just put that behind us."

Holder also tried to turn the heat back on to the Australians, by highlighting some perceived weaknesses.

"If we can get into their middle order as quickly as possible, that will be better off for us," he said.

"Davey Warner is coming off a very good series against New Zealand, and (with) Steve Smith they scored the bulk of the runs in the last series played.

"So if we can target them in a sense of getting them out as early as possible then we can put pressure on their middle order."

Holder said the reinstatement of Phil Simmons as coach, after he was suspended for the October-November Sri Lanka tour in a row over selection, was also a big plus.

"It makes a significant difference. He is implementing his ways and I think the guys have really bought into what he has brought," Holder said.

"Losing him during the Sri Lanka series was a very big loss especially at that stage as I was practically on my way to the airport when I got the news he was not going to be joining us.

"That really shattered the dressing room so it's just very good to have him back and I'm sure he will be on the guys to put things in place and get ready for this game."

West Indies team (from) - Kraigg Brathwaite, Rajendra Chandrika, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Denesh Ramdin, Jason Holder (captain), Carlos Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Shannon Gabriel.

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