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Cricket news - Moving up the rankings one of the motivations: Holder

"There is no better place to start than beat a top-ranked side here" - Holder.

West Indies captain Jason Holder is targeting a rise up the world rankings after sealing a famous series victory over England.

A ten-wicket victory at the Sir Vivian Richards' Stadium in Antigua, achieved in just three days, sealed a two-nil win for West Indies with one Test to play, beginning next week in St Lucia. There was talk before the series of an England whitewash but that has been blown out of the water and now a three-nil whitewash is on the cards for the home side, something they have not achieved over England since the glory days of West Indian cricket in 1986.

The men from the Caribbean have been good value for their series win, outplaying England in all facets of the game in both Test matches. Their bowling attack has been quicker and more dangerous while their batting has had more discipline and more nous than England's. In the field, too, West Indies have out-caught the tourists, notwithstanding two drops on the final day in Antigua by Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell.

Now, with England beaten, Holder wants more out of his side. "It took time. We have different motivating factors within but nothing more than to move up the rankings," he said. "Everybody wants to move up the rankings. We have been down at eight for too long. There is no better place to start than beat a top-ranked side here.

"All teams aspire to be No 1, not to be two or three. I think we have got what it takes to be No 1. We are still a long way off being No 1 but if the guys continue to mature and develop we definitely will be the No 1. side in years to come."

Although most recognised the talent within West Indies squad before this series, their performances over the past two years, particularly with the bat, have been inconsistent. They won just three Tests last year and experienced heavy defeats in both India and Bangladesh in the second half of 2018. In light of that, it has pleased Holder that his team have strung together seven days of consistently good cricket so far against England.

"We have seen improvement in leaps and bounds," he said. "We just need to string it together more collectively. In the past we have blocked an end as batters and bowled one or two good spells but not followed it up. We have showed how we can get it going.

"I think we're hungry for success. We've been together for a year and a half, two years, and we've done some exceptional things, so credit to the boys for sticking to the task. I wasn't in Bangladesh [where West Indies lost 2-0 before Christmas] but the boys had a really long hard talk in the dressing room, and it was really needed. We wanted some honesty and to touch on a few areas where we've probably shied away in the past."

The series win has been achieved with a relatively young West Indies squad, one that should be around for a while. If the likes of Holder himself, Brathwaite, Alzarri Joseph, Shimron Hetmeyer and Shai Hope can continue to develop, the nucleus of a very good team is there for the foreseeable future. "It's a definite high point for me," Holder said. "The way the guys performed is admirable. Exceptional actually, beating England in three days.

"The love for Test cricket is there among the young players. We've got a lot of young players who are aspiring to play Test cricket and I love it. It is my favourite format of the game and if you ask a few of the guys in the dressing room they would say the same thing. Hopefully this is the start of new things.

"It's been an up and down journey, but one I've thoroughly enjoyed," he added. "It's been challenging but I'm not one to shy away from challenges, I'm proud of myself for the way I've stuck it through, because there've been some very, very tough days, but credit to my team-mates for helping me get through it. I can't be here without them. They deserve the credit, and hopefully we can stay together in the years to come."

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