Going back by 6 years in time to 2014, it seemed like West Indian cricket had come to an end. With players choosing Franchise cricket to earn a living, the national team suffered. Although they managed the situation to an extent in the shorter formats of the game, playing Test matches without their core team often hurt them a lot.
They needed a captain, a leader who could pull them out of this situation and they put their trust in the young Jason Holder who had an experience of just 8 test matches at the time of being appointed captain of the test team. His selection was not a real surprise as he already held the reins in ODI’s too and had received good support from his seniors.
The way he led the windies, more than the results, built a sense of confidence and togetherness in the team making them punch above their weights to win games for the team. The way they won a series against England for the first time since 2009 and the fight they upstaged against India two years ago is a clear example of the same. Leading a team in a situation like one the windies are in is never an easy task but Holder took the task upon him which itself is to be appreciated. The day when he backed his bowlers saying “We did not have a great match but my bowlers stood up and came forward happily whenever I asked to.”, in response to the rumors that the Windies bowlers refused to bowl against Australia, showed the way he instilled confidence in his team.
He led the team with an example. Mostly seen as a bowling all-rounder in the initial phase of his career, off late he has shown that he won games for his team with the bat too. The fact that he averaged better than Joe Root, one of the members of the fab four last year highlights his utility as a batsman. With a double century against England in 2019, he climbed to the top of the table in the all-rounder’s list last year, and now after the first test against England where he picked 7 wickets, he sits in the fifth spot in the bowler’s rankings.
A decent average of 32 with the bat, for someone who bats at 8 and an excellent average of 25 with the ball, Holder has been the go-to man in pressure situations for his team. He, as a captain, has got 2 wins in England which is more than any Asian captain past the year 2000 and this speaks volumes.
Few stay with the team in a stage of a crisis, taking the responsibility and blame upon them. Jason Holder is one such gem of a player who handled this at a very young age. West Indies Cricket should be thankful to a player like him. For the contribution he made and the talent he possesses, he will for sure end up on the list of legends of West Indian Cricket for sure.
By: Venkat Sai Ram