Under-fire Test captain Jason Holder has received strong support from former West Indies all-rounder, Ian Bradshaw, who says his fellow Barbadian should remain in charge for next month’s tour of Bangladesh.
Holder has led the Test squad for five years but his leadership has again come under increased scrutiny following an abysmal tour of New Zealand where his side lost both Tests by an innings inside four days.
The losses were two of four in five Tests this year after West Indies went down 2-1 to England in a three-Test tour last July.
Holder’s personal performances were also disappointing, failing to take a wicket in 58 overs on tour and scoring a sole half-century in gathering 103 runs at an average of 34.
“I would continue with Jason at this time. We’ve just replaced him as [one-day captain] so he’s just the Test captain,” Bradshaw told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest cricket radio show.
“I do agree that his performances with the ball have been disappointing but I believe what tends to happen as with West Indies cricket, we’ve grown accustomed to bowling with the Duke ball and every tour we have to go on and we bowl with the Kookaburra ball, we seem to struggle.
“So strategically we have to see if our preparation with the Kookaburra ball needs to be improved.”
He continued: “I can see his frustration and he’s been very careful in his presentation to the public, as he has to be, but I’m hoping that behind closed doors that he’s a little bit more honest and frank with his players because that honesty is going to be important as we go forward.”
Like previous recent captains, Holder has struggled to transform the fortunes of the Caribbean side since his appointment in 2015.
He has led West Indies in 37 Tests, winning 11, losing 21 and drawing five, as the Windies have remained in the nether regions of the International Cricket Council rankings.
Also named one-day captain ahead of the 2015 World Cup, Holder was sacked last year and replaced by Kieron Pollard, following West Indies’ wretched showing at the World Cup in England.
Team form aside, Holder has been a shining light in the Test game, rising to number two in the ICC all-rounder rankings and 11th in the bowling. Until earlier this month, he was also the side’s highest-ranked batsman.
The 29-year-old averages 32 with the bat and just under 28 with the ball from 45 Tests.
Bradshaw, who played five Tests and 62 One-Day Internationals, said due to leadership expectations, Holder’s performances would be judged even more harshly than other players.
“I know his job is a challenging one but I am liking the fact that he’s not trying to make excuses for the fact the team is not performing and he himself will know that as captain that his job will be doubly challenging because he has to inspire as well,” said the 46-year-old, one of the heroes of West Indies’ Champions Trophy triumph in 2004.
“And like all West Indies captains, we like our captains to lead from the front, and his performances would be measured a lot harder.”
Following the New Zealand series, Holder was expected to link up with Sydney Sixers in the ongoing Australian Big Bash where he is scheduled to play three games between December 20-29.
With the tour of Bangladesh getting underway on January 10, it means Holder will have little recovery time but Bradshaw said he hoped the all-rounder displayed the necessary professionalism and was ready for the start for the upcoming international series.
“As it relates to his workload and going to Australia, it is a reality of the times. Persons have opportunities, they have limited careers and players want to maximize those opportunities,” Bradshaw argued.
“What I do not want to hear – and I hope that Jason would not fall into this category – where he comes back and complains of being tired because yes you can go off and make your money, but be a professional and be ready when the bell calls for West Indies cricket.”