Already having tasted the limelight of the international stage, fast bowler Jason Holder is anxiously eyeing the Caribbean Premier League as yet another chance to make his mark in world cricket and continue his swift rise to recognition.
Standing six feet, seven inches, the 21-year-old cuts an imposing figure and is likely to be just as intimidating when he turns out for Barbados Tridents, after being picked up by the Desmond Haynes-coached franchise in the highly publicised player draft.
While Holder has played only two One-Day Internationals for West Indies, he has already been picked for three international tours — the most recent being the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales – and said he is thrilled with what he has accomplished so far.
“I am very pleased with the way my career has been progressing. Obviously I have been propelled for the last few months into the IPL and the West Indies team so I have really been enjoying it and enjoying my development,” Holder told CPL Media.
“It was always my goal to be here, at least making strides into the West Indies team around this age. I thought it would have taken longer [judging by the strength] of our West Indies team but I am obviously pretty excited to be in the team at this present time and I just want to stay in [the team].”
Holder made his first class debut back in 2009 as a 17-year-old and has not looked back since, representing the West Indies Under-19s at the Youth World Cup in New Zealand a year later before gaining a surprise call-up to the Windies senior team in 2012 as an injury replacement for fast bowler Tino Best on the limited overs tour of Bangladesh.
And though he failed to land a game on that tour, he was again selected for the Windies limited overs trip down under earlier this year, where he finally made a much awaited international debut.
“Though it was my first game I honestly wasn’t that nervous which was surprising. I thought I coped with the pressure quite well. Obviously I had done the hard work to get there. I just tried to soak up the moment as best I possibly could and enjoy it,” Holder recalled.
“It was just unfortunate that I didn’t get to play a few more games but I know if I keep doing the right things I will have a long lasting career.”
What followed the Australia tour was definitely a shock for the right-arm pacer. He was snapped up by Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings and packed his bags for the Asian subcontinent.
He played six matches and grabbed only two wickets, but still managed to get the attention of pundits with his steep bounce and sharpness. He said the outing was about gaining valuable experience, especially at his young age.
“It was a surprise after having only one tour with the West Indies team but I guess my name was out there or thereabouts from Under-19 cricket,” Holder explained.
“Then getting the opportunity — it wasn’t a huge contract — but for me it was just about gaining the experience and mingling with the international stars which was a wonderful experience for me.
“It was an experience, a serious experience. Playing in front of thousands of people shouting your name and just cheering you on, it was something to really soak in, something to really relish at this stage. For me it was quite pleasing for us to get to the finals and having played a part in it. It was fitting for me for my first season.”
With the tour of Australia and the IPL in his rear view mirror, Holder has now set his sights on dominating the Caribbean Premier League which bowls off across the region in six countries from July 30 to August 24.
He believes that the experience gained over the last year will augur well when he turns out for the Barbados Tridents.
“I am very excited about the CPL. I think it is a great initiative mixing the local players with some international stars. I think the teams are very evenly balanced so it should be very interesting to see what transpires in the next few months,” Holder said enthusiastically.
“I definitely think the IPL has prepared me for the CPL. I have gained a lot of knowledge over the past few months with these players in the IPL, and just playing against a lot of players. I have had a lot of conversations with various international players around the world — even at the Champions Trophy — so I think I have broadened my knowledge in terms of how to react in certain situations so it’s just about executing it in the game.”
Holder says he intends to dominate in the CPL.