Denesh Ramdin has been sacked as West Indies Test captain for the imminent tour of Sri Lanka and replaced by the regional side’s One-Day International skipper, Jason Holder.
The appointment of Holder, announced today, was recommended by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selection panel and endorsed unanimously by the directors during a teleconference meeting on Wednesday.
Ramdin, who had been West Indies captain since May 2014, has been retained for the Sri Lankan tour in the 15-man squad which was also announced today. Ramdin has played 69 Tests, scoring 2 707 runs at an average of 26.28 with four centuries and 13 fifties. Though relieved of the captaincy, the 30-year-old Trinidadian is still considered the best wicketkeeper in the region.
Chief selector Clive Lloyd said today he had spoken to Ramdin about the change at the top and had thanked him for leading the Test side. He said he had informed Ramdin that he stil had an important part to play in West Indies’ future successes.
“I have spoken to Denesh and he understood the situation and there was no animosity. We just want him to perform a little bit better right now, particularly with the bat, and give of his best and support the new captain,” Lloyd said.
Holder has only played eight Tests following his debut against New Zealand in June last year in Barbados. He has so far scored 380 runs at an average of 34.54 with one century and two fifties. The 23-year-old Barbadian all-rounder has taken 16 wickets at 35.37. He was appointed ODI captain prior to the tour of South Africa and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in March and received many plaudits for his leadership abilities and willingness to shoulder responsibility. Those qualities were demonstrated in a match-saving century against England in the Antigua Test in April.
Lloyd said Holder’s appointment was made with an eye to the future.
“He is a young man that all of the selectors, people in the Caribbean and worldwide believe has several of the qualities that can take our team forward,” Lloyd said.
“We felt the time was right for a change and we feel he will do as well as he did when he was elevated to the position of One-day International captain ahead of the World Cup.
“We had a number of detractors when he was appointed ODI captain, but he showed during the ODI series in South Africa and the World Cup that he had the qualities that were needed to take our team forward.
“We expect to get new thinking and new dynamism from him. Jason commands respect. He is a fine young man, very intelligent and he seems to get the best from the players because he is a straightforward guy. I think the players will warm to him. He has a young bunch of players and we feel he can guide them in the manner that is required for internationals.”
Lloyd said though he felt Holder had the ability to lead West Indies in all three formats, the selectors had no immediate intentions of making him Twenty20 captain right now.
“We do not want any captain to lead in all three formats just now,” said Lloyd. “It would be quite burdensome on anyone. We think we can have a separate Twenty20 captain.”
Commenting on the announcement, WICB President Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron said: “The directors discussed the recommendation put forward by the selectors. We have all seen Jason’s clear leadership potential and believe he can perform an excellent job for West Indies cricket over many years. We congratulate him on his appointment.
“We would like to thank Denesh for taking on the responsibility of leading the Test side over the last 15 months. He remains an integral part of West Indies cricket and will continue to have a vital role in our Test side.”
Today former Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Ezra Moseley, who played an integral role in Holder’s development at The St Michael School, told Barbados TODAY he was not surprised at Holder’s elevation to the helm of the regional Test team.
“I am happy for Jason and I am confident that he will do well. Jason was prepared for leadership from his days at St Michael School and has always had the attributes to be a good leader. There were those who were against his elevation to the leadership of the One-Day side but he showed us that he has the qualities that are necessary to take our team forward. He has a number of young players in the squad and I am sure he can gel this team, command their respect and get their support,” Moseley stated.
Holder becomes the first Barbadian appointed as West Indies Test captain in 50 years since the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers in 1965 against the touring Australians. Desmond Haynes led the West Indies in the Trinidad and Tobago Test on England’s tour of the region in 1990 and subsequently on the tour to Pakistan, but this was as a stand-in for regular skipper Sir Vivian Richards. Holder will have as his deputy fellow Barbadian and national team captain, Kraigg Brathwaite. They are two of seven Barbadians selected in the team, including newcomer, left-arm orthodox spinner Jomel Warrican.
The 23-year-old Warrican has had an impressive start to his first-class career. In 15 matches he has snared 66 wickets at a miserly average of 16.43 with six five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket match haul.
The other Barbadians named to the squad are Shane Dowrich and Shai Hope who debuted against Australia in West Indies’ last Test series, Kemar Roach and bowling all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite. Dowrich and Hope can also provide backup to Ramdin with the gloves.
The selectors have kept faith with opener Rajindra Chandrika who bagged a pair on debut against Australia. There is no place for his compatriot Leon Johnson despite averaging just under 40 in his four Test outings.
The players will be encamped in Barbados from September 20 for a period of eight days and are scheduled to arrive in the Sri Lanka capital of Colombo on October 1.
Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite (vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajindra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.