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JASON HOLDER: England must now come to the Caribbean to help us stay afloat

I have seen so many comments on TV, radio and media since the end of the third Test expressing gratitude towards us for coming over and playing against England this summer and we appreciate all of them. We feel we’ve done something significant to help the game.

A lot of those posts say we ‘saved’ English cricket and hopefully we can have England over to the Caribbean in the not-too-distant future to help us continue to stay afloat.

Times like these really highlight the inequalities in world cricket and it would not only do us a hell of a lot of good if England come, say before Christmas, it would also help the global game. It’s just about finding a window.

We haven’t had a home Test series this year and that’s really hit our revenue. And there’s no likelihood of any unless we can schedule a tour at the end of the year. We are sitting tight and we would benefit tremendously from having England over.

Something has to change within the game over how money is shared because if we carry on the way it is, with home boards keeping all their broadcasting revenue, lots of teams are going to struggle in the Covid world.

We don’t make any money if other countries host us, so now we are back to square one — trying to find the commercial deals and TV revenue which keep the West Indies board, and others, afloat.

If Covid is around for maybe another two or three years it could have serious ramifications and I certainly agree with our board chief executive Johnny Grave when he says 20 per cent of revenue raised in a series should go to the visiting side.

I don’t want to criticise the ICC but we need to be in a situation where West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand can share in the profits being generated and stage series themselves — in the way England have.

If you only have three countries making money by playing Tests in England, India and Australia, what’s the final outcome? A three-team Test championship? A three-team World Cup? They will be standing alone if we are not careful.

Our guys have been through so much by spending close to two months living and working at two cricket grounds and I’m very proud of each and every one of them. It would have been very easy to simply stay in the Caribbean and not play.

It has been difficult staying in the same places for so long. Guys would have liked to go for dinner, do a bit of shopping or go sightseeing but it’s just not been possible. It’s just been in your room, out to the ground and back in the room.

But not once has anybody complained or given up. We knew what the situation was but we didn’t know how it would impact on us. We certainly can’t blame our circumstances for our performances after going 1-0 up. I have to say, not only have the ECB done an outstanding job getting cricket back on but the people at Lancashire, Hampshire and all the hotel staff have been amazing.

Nothing more could have been done to make us as comfortable and welcome as possible. This bubble has really been our home and teams can feel safe if they come here.

Our guys have shared shirts and the like with the people who have looked after us, as tokens of our appreciation — and there is one guy I’d like to mention.

He has been sitting by the stairs on our level of the hotel at Old Trafford — a steward called Stan — making sure no one comes in who shouldn’t be there. He’s one of the most genuine people and cricket fans I’ve ever met. I made sure I signed a shirt for him before we left.

Those are the people you really appreciate in a situation like this. He is doing it out of the kindness of his heart and is totally genuine. I have enjoyed my conversations with Stan.

One of the highlights of the series for us was Kemar Roach going past 200 Test wickets, He is putting himself up there with the best West Indian fast bowlers ever to play the game.

He continues to be the leader of our attack and it’s no surprise he’s gone to that landmark. By the time he finishes, I expect him to be in the top five Caribbean Test wicket-takers of all time — maybe even top three — which says it all about him.

There were lots of positives for us, despite a 2-1 defeat. A lot of our batsmen got starts but it was disappointing they couldn’t go on to make big scores.

In the context of the series, that was crucial. Our bowlers held their own and I can’t fault their effort, but in the field we could have been better.

I don’t have any regrets about bowling first in two Tests or fielding pretty much the same attack throughout the series.

It’s easy to sit back with hindsight and say you’ve made a mistake but you have to go with your gut feeling. I just think you have to give England credit — they played better cricket than us in the last two Tests.

I was surprised Stuart Broad was left out of the first game but he came back with a bang!

We are still making progress as a Test team. We’ve just got to dig deeper but if we continue to move in this direction we should see more signs of improvement. I think we’ve played better than last time we were here in 2017.

Our journey home was delayed for 24 hours by a tropical storm in Antigua and that was really frustrating because we are only due to be home for two or three days before we go into another bubble in Trinidad ahead of the Caribbean Premier League.

We want to get back to our families now but this has been an incredible experience. We weren’t able to retain the Wisden Trophy but we can be very proud of our part in cricket’s big return. I just hope we can contest the Richards-Botham Trophy in the Caribbean this year.

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