Two former West Indies players are calling for the removal of Jason Holder as the regional team’s captain. Both have questioned the quality of his leadership and used Barbados Pride’s recent performances as evidence of his ineptness.
Retired fast bowler Tony Gray slammed Holder for his “weak” leadership during the just concluded Regional Super50 Cup, and believes the leading all-rounder has lost his “power of influence” in the Test team and needs to be replaced as captain.
Pointing to Barbados Pride’s wretched run in the Super50 where they won just one game in six outings, Gray said the performance by the regional powerhouses was a reflection of Holder’s substandard efforts as captain.
“Kieron Pollard led by example. He went in front of the bat on a number of occasions and he didn’t allow complacency at all,” said Gray, using the example of Pollard’s leadership of Super50 champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
“If you look at the Bajans for example, I don’t think they were led properly and a lot of people like Jason Holder but the fact is he was a weak leader in this tournament. Tactically he was weak.
“If you have a Bajan team full of talent and experience and you won one out of six games, it tells me it’s not only the game against Jamaica people were hurting about but obviously he was a weak leader throughout the tournament and people don’t want to say that but it’s a fact.”
Pride finished fifth of six teams after the preliminary round, with a solitary victory over Windward Islands Volcanoes to show for their campaign.
To further compound their misery, Pride then went down in the fifth place playoff to Leeward Islands Hurricanes, who had finished last in the preliminary round.
Holder captaincy was already under the microscope following West Indies’ whitewash of Bangladesh in a two-Test series last month, under the leadership of interim skipper Kraigg Brathwaite.
The 29-year-old opted out of the Bangladesh series due to COVID-19 fears but also admitted afterwards to being fatigued.
And with Brathwaite winning wide acclaim for his masterful leadership of an under-strength side, Gray said he believed the time had come to move on from Holder ahead of the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting later this month.
“You have to understand momentum. What has happened in Bangladesh is a fantastic achievement by the West Indies team. Many top teams go there and struggle,” the Trinidadian, who played five Tests and 25 One-Day Internationals between 1986 and 1991, told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest cricket show.
“I think Jason Holder is a tired man – I think he said it [already]. He’s mentally tired. He doesn’t have the power of influence again on his own players in the Barbados set up and I don’t think he will have the power of influence in the Test team, and I think we have to go with Kraigg Brathwaite who performed marvellously well.
“It seems to be a new culture. I don’t think that Holder has the power of influence again.”
Holder was appointed Test captain in 2015, several months after also being installed as ODI skipper, but has failed to oversee a turnaround in the Caribbean side’s fortunes with 11 wins, 21 defeats and five draws in his 37 Tests in charge.
The 29-year-old was sacked as ODI captain in 2019 following West Indies’ disastrous performance at the 50-over World Cup in England and questions were raised about his position as Test captain following the team’s whitewash in New Zealand last December.
Adding his voice to the debate, former Barbados opener turned pundit, Philo Wallace, said the poor performance of the Barbados Pride in the recent regional Super50 tournament provided evidence that selectors should stick with Brathwaite as captain for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, as Holder had “lost the art of captaincy”.
“I believe that there is a shift with what Brathwaite did in Bangladesh, something happened in Bangladesh that brought a 2-0 victory for the West Indies and 2-0 defeat for Bangladesh at home,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.
“Kraigg Brathwaite and that management team did something right. The head coach said he saw a difference in attitude. He saw a different type of vibe with the guys. Are we going to kill that vibe as we return to Antigua? Or are we going to rekindle that vibe and take it into the Sri Lanka series,” he added.
“Jason has lost the art of captaincy. There are no tactical moves. We just saw a Super50 competition he captained six games and we lost 5. We had a team 87 for 8 and we could not crush them. The captain who is 6ft 6’ could not take up the ball and bowl three devastating yorkers and bowl out the team for under 120. That is what we call leadership, you take it up and you do it yourself.” (CMC)