Once the proper support systems are put in place, Jason Holder will thrive in his new role as captain of the West Indies cricket team.
That is the view of three former Barbados players, who believe that the 23 year-old Barbadian has the potential to become one of the “all-time great captains”.
Head coach of the Barbados Pride, Henderson Springer, former West Indies player, Ian Bradshaw and long-time coach, Geoffrey Mapp, all agree that while Holder has always shown leadership qualities, the support of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and senior players, will play a crucial role in how well he copes with the herculean task of leading the regional outfit.
The lanky all-rounder will become the youngest ever West Indies captain when he leads the team against South Africa in the first One-Day International at Kingsmead tomorrow.
Holder will also become the fifth Barbadian, after Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Sherwin Campbell and Floyd Reifer to skipper an ODI side.
“It is a great opportunity for Jason to be able to lead the West Indies. It won’t be an easy task by any means, but I know Jason will go about it in a thoughtful manner,” Springer told Barbados TODAY in an interview today while in Trinidad, where he is currently with the Pride for the NAGICO Super50 competition.
“What I will say though, is that he will definitely need the support of both the WICB and the players. Jason is a young player, and he will have a lot of pressure on him to produce results, both for the team and himself.
“But Jason has shown himself to be a proven leader, so I think that he will step up to the plate,” he added.
Bradshaw, who also captained Holder when he played for local club side Wanderers, said that while he expected his former teammate to do a good job, results would not be obtained overnight.
He noted that while captaincy was not new to Holder, having skippered the West Indies “A” team, his newest task was much more difficult.
“He has been exposed to a certain degree of leadership roles in the past, so this won’t be totally new to him.
“But Barbadians or West Indies’ fans shouldn’t expect a finished product. Over time he will get better and better and hopefully some success will make the learning curve a little bit shorter,” Bradshaw acknowledged.
He said the role of senior players such as Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy would be integral to his success.
“Team management will have a role to play in creating a positive environment for him in which to work. Senior players such as Gayle and Sammy will certainly have a massive role in helping to take some of that pressure off Jason, as he looks to do well not only in this series, but also at next month’s World Cup,” he insisted.
According to Mapp, he isn’t surprised at how fast Holder has risen through the ranks.
He explained that having watched the talented all-rounder throughout his career, his promotion to the role of captain was expected.
“I believe that Jason is a part of the future success for our cricket. Although he has risen to this stage so fast it is not surprising, because he is a young man with a good head on his shoulders,” Mapp noted.
“But it is left to the management staff and the players to give him all of the support that he needs. What I would really like to see though, is for both the WICB and the Barbados Cricket Association to get Jason and other young cricketers enrolled in management programmes, so that they would be in a better position to assume leadership roles.”
The lanky fast-bowling allrounder steps into the leadership limelight against the background of the axing of former captain Dwayne Bravo from the ODI side and the controversy which has ensued as a result.
Holder was a member of the Bravo-led West Indies team that aborted the India tour in October.