Test legend Shane Warne has led a chorus of international criticism over the International Cricket Council’s decision to impose a one-match ban on West Indies captain Jason Holder for a slow over-rate in the just concluded second Test in Antigua.
The ICC announced today that the West Indies had been two overs short of their required quota during the contest at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground which West Indies won emphatically by 10 wickets with two days to spare.
Holder, as captain, was fined 40 per cent of his match fee – double that of his players – and slapped with the ban as the breach was the second for the Windies in the last 12 months. He will now miss the final Test starting next weekend in St Lucia.
“The test didn’t go 3 days – can you please appeal this @JaseHolder98!” tweeted Warne, the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests with 708 victims from 145 matches.
“What a ridiculous decision – where’s the common sense here? Ps Congrats on a wonderful series win too. International cricket needs a strong Windies team & hopefully this is just the start.”
He added: “The fans at the ground saw some awesome cricket from you & your team. No one at the ground would have felt short-changed whatsoever. What a ridiculous decision & I hope this will be overturned!”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan, also slammed the ICC’s decision as “bonkers”, arguing the fact the match lasted less than three days made the over-rate breach irrelevant.
“For a game that finished inside 3 days I find this absolutely bonkers …,” said Vaughan, who scored over 5700 runs from 82 Tests.
“246 over Test Match .. that amounts to 2.6 days of Cricket .. A team hammers the opposition & plays great Test cricket yet the Captain gets a ban for Slow over rate .. @Jaseholder98 can find himself very very unlucky on this occasion .. !! The game really doesn’t help itself …”
Prominent commentator, Mike Haysman, meanwhile called for a review of the controversial ICC rule.
“So this situation is totally wrong. The ICC needs to seriously look at this deal,” he tweeted.
“It makes no sense to suspend leaders who excel inside the stipulated 5 days. Just makes no sense to rob the team of a captain like this. Review please now.”
Another former England captain, Mike Atherton, who is covering the three-Test series as a pundit for Sky Sports, called the ban “ridiculous”.
“It seems ridiculous to me that the game England can’t extend beyond the third day, you have a captain banned for slow over-rates,” Atherton said.
Holder has been the seminal figure in the series, not only with his superb handling of the side but with excellent performances on the field.
He hit a monumental unbeaten double hundred in the opening Test in Bridgetown, to lay the foundation for the Windies’ crushing 381-run victory inside four days.
And he was superb with the ball in the second Test, especially in the second innings, when he broke the backbone of the England batting with an excellent spell after lunch to finish with five wickets in the game.
The ICC said Holder did not contest the charge and as a result, no formal hearing was needed.
West Indies face England in the final Test starting Saturday, having already won the series and reclaimed the coveted Wisden Trophy.
Meanwhile, in-form all-rounder Keemo Paul has replaced Holder in the 14-man squad for the final Test in St Lucia on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Paul has played two Tests, the last coming against India in Rajkot last October. He was also a member of the one-day and Twenty20 side which toured Bangladesh last December.
Since his return to the Caribbean, Paul has been in excellent form, taking 20 wickets in his three appearances in the first class tournament for four-time reigning champions and current leaders Guyana Jaguars.
He also lashed a whirlwind unbeaten 66 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in Port of Spain last weekend, in Jaguars’ sixth-round encounter.
“He is having a good showing in the West Indies first-class championship at the moment,” chief selector Courtney Browne said.
Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, meanwhile, remains in the 14-man squad despite the death of his mother, Sharon, last Saturday.
Browne praised the 22-year-old’s strength for continuing to play in spite of his grief.
“Our heartfelt condolences to Alzarri and his family on the passing of his mother. His heroics in the Test match were outstanding and shows a player of great character,” he said.
In Holder’s absence, opener Kraigg Brathwaite will lead the unit.
SQUAD – Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican. (CMC)