Big Jase shines bright for beleaguered West Indies

'Our top order has really let us down in recent past' - Holder (1:32)

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder said that his team had been too reliant on the middle and lower order to bail them out of trouble (1:32)

He's Big Jase. And he's everywhere. In the slips for the quicks. At short cover for the spinners. Behind the glare of the cameras at the press conference. In front of the stumps, scoring fifties. And charging in at them, taking a truckload of wickets. His 5 for 56 in Hyderabad meant his name will forever be mentioned in the same sentence as Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding. They are the only West Indians with three successive five-wicket hauls in Test cricket.

But the batting...

The top five finish the series with a collective average of 17. And that's the second-worst among all teams visiting India, behind the performance by Afghanistan, who were playing their first ever Test match.

At 70 for 6 in the second innings on Sunday, Jason Holder was back in the middle again, with his team facing another three-day defeat. It looks like his destiny to always be stuck doing the dirty work. Back in the early years of his captaincy, that seemed like a strength. The only justification for West Indies opting for a 23-year old who had played eight Tests and 21 ODIs to lead them in international cricket. Now, it's like he has no other choice. He's the best in a team that has more holes than a golf course.

"I think our top order has really let us down in the recent past," Holder said. "They haven't been getting the runs that we've been looking for. Anybody knows that. In any cricket, you're asking your top five-six batters to get the bulk of the runs. It hasn't been that way for us. We've been heavily reliant on our middle to lower half, which is not ideal in any circumstances. So it's just a matter for the guys in the top five to put their hands up and come to the party.

"It's not a matter of guys having technical deficiencies, per se, it's just the processes at the particular time may be the best one, and especially our younger players really need to understand that patience is the name of the game in Test cricket. You've got to build an innings; the greatest of players will always tell you that. It's not an arena where you can just come and just beat the ball around and blast."

This entire tour of India has been a difficult experience for West Indies. They couldn't get places to train on site. They lost key players in Rajkot. They weren't given net bowlers in Hyderabad. Cricket pundits questioned their place in top-flight cricket. But the thing that would grate them the most is realising how they just couldn't compete against India. West Indies' bowlers picked up 19 wickets across two Tests, at an average of 55.73. India's claimed 39 at an average of 19.97. West Indies' batsmen averaged 19.45, with only four fifty-plus scores. India averaged 55.21 with eight fifty-plus scores. This was always going to be a mismatch, but those numbers show West Indies were barely even half as good as India.

As a result, Holder's bowling form was pushed to a footnote. His average of 11.87 in 2018 is the best for any seamer with a minimum of 30 wickets in a calendar year in the last 100 years.

"I feel pretty good at the moment. Hard work does pay off. At the start of my Test career, it was pretty difficult. The wickets were a litter drier at that present time. I always had faith and I always had belief. I understood a lot more [about] what the game requires, and as I said before, I've got to build blocks and I've got to build pressure, and that's my role in the team. To be a workhorse and keep my RPO at under 3 runs an over and just nibble around, and I was able to use that to my advantage."

"And I've been watching lots of clips and stuff. People like Glenn McGrath and even James Anderson. These guys have got a lot of skill in terms of moving the ball both ways. But the one thing that's common with both of them is the amount of pressure that they build. Whether they are bowling a particular outswinger for a length of time, or they're challenging the stumps more often than not.

"You've just got to understand the conditions. You've got to build pressure. I think field placing comes into it a lot. It's something that I have to work on personally as a player. I think once I know my strengths and weaknesses, then obviously I can set fields, and understand my bowling and put the ball in the area that I want to put the ball. For example, a guy like Prithvi Shaw, it was a situation where he stayed leg side and tried to carve the ball over the off side, so I just made up in my mind that I was not going to give him room. If anything, I'd be nipping the ball back at his pads all the time. If he has to hit me on the leg side, so be it. My aim is not to let him score freely through the off side. It's just an example of my thought process, and I try to be just as patient and consistent as I possibly can."

There is good in this team. With Holder, Shai Hope, Roston Chase and Shannon Gabriel, they have an outstanding core of talent that can last them for the next five to ten years. They need to find the parts that fit alongside. Solid openers. Kraigg Brathwaite seems to be a shadow of his usual self. A good No. 4. Shimron Hetmyer is an exciting strokemaker but plays one too many. An accurate spinner. Devendra Bishoo does tease with the odd magic ball, but he averages over 60 this year. Only three of his peers - having bowled at least 25 overs - have done worse. And most of all, the ability to withstand pressure. India apply a whole load of it at home. Their spinners threaten both the inside and the outside edges. The fast bowlers constantly attack the stumps. The crowd always gets behind Virat Kohli. All of this makes life hard, but as Holder himself instagramed two days before the Hyderabad Test, he won't be giving up any time soon.