Holder survives trial by fire as West Indies Captain

Jason Holder’s personal battle to establish himself as the captain of a West Indies team dogged by selection controversies and a schism between players and their board has provided an important sub-text to his team’s difficult campaign, something that may reach its climax during the quarterfinals.

Holder was appointed the West Indies’ youngest captain at 23 by board chairperson Clive Lloyd after playing only 21 one-day internationals. Thrown in at the deep end, he has had to prove himself to many doubters outside the West Indies team and to his own players. The background to his appointment was not propitious. 

Some senior players, notably opener Chris Gayle, were openly contemptuous of the selection of a West Indies’ World Cup squad which didn’t contain Keiron Pollard or Dwayne Bravo. Holder was also asked to take over from Bravo, punished for his role in the team’s rebellion in India, and to lead a team which included three former captains, among the Darren Sammy and Denesh Ramdin.

There were questions from the outset over whether those players would accept Holder, bow to his authority, or whether they might push back against the leadership of an unproven captain, many years their junior. And Holder’s tenure didn’t start well: he was in charge during their 4-1 loss in a five-match series in South Africa, though with recent upheavals that result wasn’t unexpected.

Tough start
The West Indies’ World Cup campaign began with a loss to Ireland in a match in which they sometimes looked lethargic and ill-prepared. But they reached the quarterfinals, albeit at the last gasp and on net run rate and Holder played a large part in that achievement, both with his leadership and personal performance.

He made half centuries against India and South Africa and had returns of 3-48 against Zimbabwe and 4-27 against the United Arab Emirates. It appeared to an outside observer that he had the unswerving support of his teammates. There was a minor incident with former Sammy in the final pool match against UAE but Holder dismissed it as horseplay and said they were the best of mates. He said the captaincy had been challenging but rewarding.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ve learnt a few things not only about myself but the game in general,” Holder said. “It’s been good for me. “It’s been a very good challenge, something that I was looking forward to from the time I was a youngster. But being thrown into it now has opened up my eyes in a lot of ways.”

Holder has received endorsement as captain from West Indies greats Brian Lara and Viv Richards. Lloyd hailed him as being at the vanguard of a new generation of West Indies cricketers, who will serve the Caribbean side for years to come. There have been criticisms, some severe, but Holder said he carefully filtered all feedback.

“You would get criticism in anything you do,” he said. “I know some people are for it and some people are against it. That’s life. “What I can’t do is dwell on it. I can’t let it get to me. I think what is important is I just focus on what is required of me and what is required of me is to lead this team and lead it to the best of my ability.” – Sapa, AP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday