Jason Holder with all his flaws and limitations is the best candidate to lead the West Indies at present.
Their win against England at the Headingley Test showcased the talent and the potential West Indies have. The win also highlighted the work Jason Holder has done in the last couple of years to keep the West Indies team strong during troubling times.
However, despite the dramatic and historic win at Headingley, the criticism against Holder hasn’t reduced. Over the years, the West Indies skipper has received flak for his defensive strategies and his soft-spoken nature. Hence, some expect him to be replaced.
The stats, too are against Holder. Eleven defeats in 17 Tests is a poor record and the fact that under Holder, Windies have won only three Tests brings his captaincy under scrutiny.
But given the conditions, the right-arm pacer is the ideal candidate to lead the Caribbean team. Here are five reasons that reveal why Holder is the perfect choice for the captaincy.
A consistent performer
Over the years, the quality of the West Indian Test team has degraded. Experienced and skilled players were sidelined due to several different reasons, while the management has failed to find youngsters who are capable of handling the pressure and demands of international cricket.
All these factors have resulted in the creation of a team which is directionless, has little experience and the skills to survive the onslaught of quality teams. The win against England is certainly a promising development, but the fact that they have won only four Tests in the last two decades against teams other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, reveals the poor show by their players.
Amidst such a poor string of performances, Holder’s numbers look effective. He averages 29.62 with the bat and 38.31 with the ball. But his seven scores of fifty have arrived when the team was in trouble and his finest bowling performances have been overshadowed as he mostly performs the less glamorous task of keeping the batsmen quiet.
Since his debut in 2014, Holder has remained an essential cog in West Indies’ team and has contributed frequently in all departments.
Currently the best option
In West Indies’ squad which is touring England, Devendra Bishoo is the oldest player (31 years old). This lack of experience in the squad makes the case strong for Holder.
Other experienced players who can replace the current skipper are either uninterested in playing Tests or are having issues with the team management. Hence, there is no one who can practically challenge the leadership of Holder.
The other players who have emerged as consistent performers are too young and hence handling them the responsibility of leading the team is a massive gamble. Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, and Shai Hope are 39, 12 and 25 Tests old respectively and hence they need more time to settle down at the international level.
Holder’s track record
Under Holder, West Indies have lost 11 Tests and have won only three. By all means, this is a poor record, but these numbers do not prove anything about Holder’s captaincy.
The Windies skipper is leading a side which is hardly capable of surviving in international cricket. Hence, the onus of these failures does not lie on Holder’s shoulders alone and he cannot be held responsible for the abysmal condition of West Indies cricket.
At times, Holder’s decisions were poor and they made a negative impact on team’s performances but these errors weren’t decisive.
In fact, Holder has remained at the forefront in preventing the West Indies team from deteriorating even further. He has somehow kept a sinking ship alive.
What the numbers don’t show is the work the Caribbean skipper is doing behind the stage to ensure his team stays focused amidst despair.
Able to handle players and management
One of the key issues that has hampered the development of West Indies cricket is the rift between the players and the administrators. Most of the experienced players have had troubles with the management and the consequences of these ugly feuds have cost the West Indies dearly.
However, Holder has the backing from the administrators, and so far he has been successful in keeping the management happy. At the same time, the players are content with Holder’s captaincy.
This is arguably his greatest achievement. He has kept the two most important stakeholders satisfied- the players and the administrators.
The new leader might struggle in handling the two sides effectively as it is a daunting task. And hence, keeping Holder at the helm of affairs is the most viable option.
Is young has settled down with the team
Replacing Holder would mean all but erasing his work of the last three years. The recent victory against England has proved that finally, Holder’s efforts are yielding results and he deserves more opportunities.
Also, the current skipper has age on his side. He is 25 years old and hence is a long-term prospect. Investing in him will definitely help the team management in the next few years.