Fri | Sep 17, 2021

Holder’s blessing in disguise

Published:Wednesday | April 7, 2021 | 12:22 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
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Although all-rounder Jason Holder no longer holds the captaincy of the West Indies Test team, former national spinner Nikita Miller says that the decision may serve to his benefit in the long run. The 29-year-old Barbadian was replaced by his...

Although all-rounder Jason Holder no longer holds the captaincy of the West Indies Test team, former national spinner Nikita Miller says that the decision may serve to his benefit in the long run.

The 29-year-old Barbadian was replaced by his countryman Kraigg Brathwaite ahead of the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka in Antigua, after six years in the position with only 11 wins in 37 Test matches.

While Miller said that he did not disagree with the decision, he believes that with the pressures of the captaincy now lifted, it will present an opportunity for Holder to focus more on his performances and helping the team succeed.

“When I look at Jason, he needed that sort of release. He was doing too much. He’s playing in all different types of leagues now, different franchise tournaments. He was the leader of the One Day team and the Test team and it was too much and we weren’t winning as well,” Miller told The Gleaner.

The West Indies drew the two-game series 0-0 but got good performances out of Holder, who took a five-wicket haul in the first Test although he only made 37 runs in total.

However, his batting improved in the second Test, as he made a total of 131 runs, including an unbeaten 71 and also contributed with the ball, getting two wickets.

RELAXED APPROACH

Performances aside, Miller was impressed with the seemingly more relaxed approach from Holder during the series.

“In the series where he was very vocal, he was chirpy, just the way he played as a batsman, you felt really assured with him coming in. I’ve always advocated for him batting higher. I’ve been saying that Jason is capable of batting at six as an all-rounder,” Miller said. “He came in and did a great job.”

Former cricketer and West Indies Player Association honorary secretary Wayne Lewis also praised Holder’s performance in the series, particularly making reference to his contributions with the bat and how he has carried himself in the aftermath of the decision.

“He has shown so much constraint and concentration and commitment in his batting at difficult periods against Sri Lanka to get the West Indies team into a stronger position while he was at the crease. He has done well. He hasn’t shown any dissent or that he is unhappy,” Lewis said.

Despite the Test series being drawn, the West Indies managed T20 and One Day International series wins over the Sri Lankans in their first home tour in nearly a year.

Australia and Pakistan are the next two opponents scheduled to visit the Caribbean later this year.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com