West Indies captain Jason Holder says it is somewhat disappointing that West Indians such as Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan have thrown in their lot with England, adding they could have increased the existing regional talent pool.
But, Holder added in an interview with Sky Sports Cricket that he understood why they had taken such a position with their careers. Holder hoped that Windies’ upturn as a Test nation would help end the talent drain from the Caribbean. Both Barbadians, Jordan has played 74 games across all formats for England, while Archer is on the verge of qualifying for his adopted country ahead of the World Cup.
“It’s a bit disappointing knowing these guys who have grown up with you and who can have a serious impact on West Indies cricket have gone to English cricket,” Holder told Sky Sports.
“But I can’t fault people for their personal decisions. Everyone has to make a decision based on their personality and what they want. I respect them and still love them the same way.
“People like Jofra and Chris are exceptional cricketers – I have had little conversations with Jofra but it seems like his mind is pretty clear.
“I feel a bit sorry for Chris who burst on the county scene but is now not playing a lot for England. I could definitely see him fitting into the West Indies set-up,” he said.
Holder said that hopefully Cricket West Indies could find ways to keep players in the regional system.
“I think we would all agree the English system is a little more settled and you have a lot more security within it but I think lots of young players look for the easy way out.
“I think the West Indies system has improved leaps and bounds – there is a long way to go but hopefully with us doing a bit better in terms of our performances we can bring more respectability back to West Indies cricket and bring sponsors to inject some capital in,” Holder noted.
The lanky all-rounder stressed that despite enduring some lean times in the series-won column against top-ranked sides, he has never been daunted or distracted from his task of helping to raise the regional team from the doldrums. Holder’s side last suffered heavy Test series defeats in India and Bangladesh before Christmas – the latter without him due to a shoulder injury. The West Indies had won only two of their previous 15 Test series before knocking off Joe Root’s England in Antigua.
“I knew it was going to be difficult – maybe not this difficult – and that there would be some pushback from fans and people around West Indies cricket,” Holder added, reflecting on becoming captain at the age of 23.
“But I knew I had what it takes to lead as I have been leading sides for as far back as I can remember. I led plenty of Barbados sides in youth cricket, had the opportunity to captain the West Indies U19 team in spurts – I have always been seen in a leadership role.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to captain the Windies at 23 years of age and I have had some really tough days but I have just tried to be as positive as I can and draw on people close to me for guidance. Team-mates have also helped me out a lot.
“When I first took up the captaincy I felt as though I was getting distracted by stuff off the field and tried so hard to get the players in their comfort zone and keep them happy. I probably lost sight of my actual role in the team and felt my performances were a bit stagnant.
“I got to a point where I said to the lads: ‘Look, we have all signed contracts to play for West Indies so that means we are committed to playing for West Indies and might as well get on with it and play cricket’. From then [on], I started focusing a lot more on my cricket and trying to lead by example.
“I felt if I wasn’t going to be captain I would have to be stripped of it – I felt if I got a sniff and some momentum I would be able to do something different,” he said.
Holder added that with battling batsmen, a “fiery” pace attack and a young squad he saw no reason why the Windies could not surge up the rankings from their current position of eighth.
“I feel we can go to the very top – if you look at the ages of the guys in this team, we are very young and if we can continue in this vein over the next two or three years I don’t see why we can’t be No 1.
“It will take a lot of hard work and we need to be honest about where we are and where we need to be. If we plot a clear path as a unit and individuals, nothing is stopping us from being the No 1 in the world,” he said.