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.

Advertisting

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders