It’s taken a while for Holder to grow as a captain and develop a tolerance to the white noise around. © Getty
Etchings on every honours board. Statues on every street corner. Call-backs in every commentary stint. Reminders of past Caribbean glories live on in accomplishments, stone and anecdotes.
There’s nothing like a World Cup to amplify this noise, and as champions in 1975 and 1979, with both editions held in the UK, it won’t take much for a bit of West Indies nostalgia. Wasn’t Viv Richards brilYou cannot know cricket without knowing of their great sides and you cannot be a cricketer from the Caribbean without being held to those lofty standards.The constant comparisons have broken many. Never mind the constant wrangling with West Indies Cricket Board, coaching disputes and other such disagreements that affect on-field performance. Expectations in that part of the world have no filter.
Maybe that’s one of Jason Holder’s greatest strengths, not letting the external forces get to him. Not all captains of the last 20 years have been so mellow when handed the responsibility of leading the West Indies. Not all have successfully compartmentalised what is within their control and the actions or opinions of those on the periphery.
Last year was something of a write-off, but the start of 2019 was a joy from Holder’s perspective. A 2-1 Test victory over England was followed by holding them, the No.1 ranked ODI side, to a 2-2 draw in the one-day series. Holder was a colossus throughout with bat and ball, and at his political best behind the scenes.
Richard Pybus dropped in as coach and then dropped out. Chris Gayle’s disagreements with the board were parked as he returned to the ODI side for the first time since July of last year. Holder kept his distance from the messiness of the former and was integral to the latter – and stayed level throughout.“Oh well it’s been hectic man,” Holder admits to Cricbuzz. “But enjoyable. Enjoyable but hectic – that sounds about right.” It does.“I think what the start of year, the way we played against England in the Caribbean, showed how these players can play entertaining but successful cricket. It’s just getting these types of performances out of ourselves. ”I think he is a wonderful advert for us and how we play cricket as the West Indies,” effuses Holder. “He is how we should do our thing.”Heck – if you’re going to emulate the greats,