Holder expects support
CENTURION – New One-Day International captain Jason Holder is convinced he will have the full support of the West Indies squad, notwithstanding his relative inexperience.
The 23-year-old was named on Saturday to lead the ODI side after Dwayne Bravo was sacked following 19 months in charge.
Holder, who has played just a single Test and 21 ODIs since making his international debut in February 2013, believes the side will rally together under his leadership.
“The support is key at this present time, me being a young leader in this [format of the game]. I have good support staff around in terms of the management team and the senior players who I get along well with, so it is just about me trying to gel everybody together and trying to move in the right direction,” Holder said Saturday.
“I just want to take it step by step. My first assignment will be the series against South Africa and I think it is key that we built some momentum going into the World Cup but I really don’t want to look too far down the road, to be honest, I just want to take it step by step.
“My biggest task at the moment is to build trust, build a relationship with my players and try to get the best out of them in situations in games.”
He added: “I obviously look up to a lot of the senior players in the squad. My role has primarily shifted a little bit now in terms of leading and guiding these guys. It is something I am up for and I think I will be supported well by the senior guys because I have a pretty good relationship with them.
“It’s just about moving West Indies cricket forward and I think most of the guys can buy into what I’m about to put forward and what I think is best for West Indies cricket.”
Holder is the third ODI captain named within two years after all-rounder Darren Sammy was axed in May 2013 and replaced by Bravo.
Selectors have also excluded Bravo from the 15-man squad named to face South Africa in a five-match series in South Africa next month.
Holder said following behind Bravo would be a challenging task but stressed he was ready to help West Indies restore their image in world cricket.
“I am obviously very happy to be appointed in this post. It is something I’ve looked forward to from the time I was a youngster and now being able to take up the mantle after Dwayne Bravo is big boots to fill but I’ll just be trying to move the team forward,” he said.
“It’s obviously a huge task. We’re down the pecking order in terms of the rankings so it’s about getting the guys together as best as I possibly can and trying to move up the rankings. Obviously the first assignment will be South Africa, so it is about us starting well in the series and just moving forward to the World Cup.”
The move is a brave one by selectors. While he is widely regarded as a promising leader, Holder is yet to prove himself on the world stage.
He hit a half-century in his debut Test in Bridgetown earlier this year against New Zealand but has been steady rather than spectacular in his ODI career.
However, the six-foot, seven-inch pacer said the appointment as captain would now act as a greater motivation to improve his personal performances.
“I’ve been in and out of the side since I started to play international cricket. I haven’t done too badly but I’m eager to keep pressing forward and keep improving,” he said.
“I see this [appointment] as more motivation to do well and continuing to make West Indies cricket proud and build a legacy for myself. Obviously being the captain is a huge step for me but I’m quite [willing] to take it on and welcome it with both arms.” (CMC)