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Right or wrong about Holder’s captaincy


PHILIP HACKETT

Right or wrong about Holder’s captaincy

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CLIVE LLOYD is widely recognised as the architect of the revolution of West Indies cricket, transforming the regional side from a dynamic group of entertainers to a potent strike force capable of demolishing any cricket team.

That was in the seventies when Lloyd took over the captaincy and the four-pronged pace attack emerged.

Could it be that Lloyd, now chairman of selectors, has played another master stroke that will impact in a significant way on the future of West Indies cricket?

If the answer will be determined by the outcome of Saturday’s quarter-final (Friday night local time) when the regional team take on New Zealand the response may not be favourable, but a more in depth look at the events of the last few weeks may suggest history could be repeating itself.

The appointment of Jason Holder to replace Dwayne Bravo as the ODI captain has not been a popular choice. It was one that I welcomed from the point of view of restoring dignity to West Indies cricket.

I considered that an important phase in making the team strong again.

Holder’s performance so far suggests even more could be possible.

Holder has received a vote of confidence from no lesser individual than former West Indies captain Brian Lara, who went as far as to suggest that he could become captain in all formats.

All of a sudden Holder is being viewed in a less critical way by some observers, often cynical and critical media personalities. It underlines the importance of good references.

Nevertheless the more significant issue is the manner in which this 23-year-old young man has gone about his business. Against the odds, Holder has rallied his apparently sometimes unwilling troops and has earned a place in the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup.

It would be foolhardy, however, to measure his effectiveness purely on this basis or even the result of the quarter-final encounter this weekend. Holder has shown his strength of character by his response to the ongoing crisis that defines West Indies cricket.

He has not allowed himself to be bullied by senior players who either show their dissent to his decisions or those of the selectors. In batting with common sense, discipline and purpose he has exposed the lack of application of those chosen specifically for their batting prowess. He has made steady progress in dealing with the fickle media and great maturity in his handling of difficult situations.

When West Indies needed a standout bowling performance to secure a top eight berth he shook off the earlier embarrassment of the South Africa fiasco to lead the way with a Man Of The Match bowling contribution.

The cynics have already secured seats for the team on a return flight to Barbados following Saturday’s quarter-final, but those of us who have been around cricket long enough are appreciative of the reason why cricket is still known as the game of glorious uncertainties.

The problem more likely is representative of an expression of their desire for the failure of the team rather than expectation of such an eventuality. The true West Indian will wish Holder and his troops’ success on Saturday.

Whatever the outcome the next few months should offer some insight into the credibility of Brian Lara’s take on the Holder captaincy saga and the foresight of Lloyd in identifying a champion leader.

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