West Indies captain Jason Holder is playing a textbook forward defensive to excited talk of a world record score.
Dodging questions like a Kemar Roach 90mph bouncer, Holder prefers to focus on process rather than hype up his big hitters.
However, England’s 481 world record at Trent Bridge last year, where Holder’s side will face Pakistan in their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 opener on Friday, has made the pursuit of the 500-run landmark a fascinating tournament sub-plot.
And with the likes of Chris Gayle and Shai Hope in their side and a batsman-friendly wicket in Nottingham, you can see why the capacity crowd will be anticipating the chance to see history in the making.
“I don’t want to sit here and predetermine what’s going to happen, we are just going to play a normal cricket game,” said Holder, whose side didn’t help him dampen expectations with a score of 421 in their warm-up win over New Zealand.
“I think where the game has gone now, especially in England, there have been some high totals, but there have been totals that were relatively low too.
“That’s the way cricket is played and that’s the nature of the game. I just don’t want to sit before a game and say we’re looking to score 500 or 600, I just want to play it as we see it as assess the conditions like any other game.”
Darren Bravo is another player capable of putting those sitting in row z in serious jeopardy, though he comes into the tournament after a difficult spell, only making it into double digits twice in his last nine international innings.
“I don’t want to focus on 500 runs,” he said. “We just want to come out with the win and we aren’t thinking about the total, just getting points under our belt. We’re looking forward to the encounter, you can’t take Pakistan lightly, they are a very good team.
“We aren’t focussed on the opposition, we’ve identified some weaknesses but we are thinking about our game.
“If you look at our batting line-up, you see can the firepower. We’ve a good blend of experience and youth and we’ve showed glimpses we can be a very dangerous team.”
Shimron Hetmyer is one of the rising stars of the team, scoring the fastest century by a West Indies batsman against England with his 82-ball 100 in Bridgetown earlier this year.
And perhaps the confidence of youth saw a chink in the Windies’ well-rehearsed flat bat to scoring predictions.
“I was just checking round the ground – I honestly thought most of the grounds in England were huge, looking at them on TV,” he admitted.
“We have some very good batsmen in our team and magnificent power hitters as well, and it just depends how we go I guess. Honestly a big total is not that much of a thing for us.”
And while their batsmen will always hog the hype, this game could well be decided with the ball – Pakistan’s top order boasting one of the lowest strike rates in world cricket.
“Coming into this tournament is that every player is in a good frame of mind,” added Holder.
“Everybody is playing with a smile on their face, and I think that’s how we play our best cricket. We’re fearless, we enjoy what we’re doing and we enjoy one another’s company. I can safely say within the group we’ve got that. We’ve got the energy going into this tournament that we would want to have.”