GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC) — Ex-Test Captain Jason Holder says he is thrilled by the emergence of rookie fast bowling talent, Jayden Seales, but has cautioned authorities against putting too heavy a workload on the teenager too early in order to guard against burnout.
The 19-year-old made an impressive Test debut last weekend despite playing a single first-class match, picking up three wickets against South Africa in a spell that saw him bowl with pace and movement on a lively pitch at the Daren Sammy National Stadium here.
Holder, who played a key role in Seales’s first Test wicket when he snared a regulation catch at second slip to account for debutant Keegan Petersen, said it was important the player was now properly handled by Cricket West Indies.
“I just hope that we manage him well, and when I say manage him well, we still have to understand that Jayden [was playing] his second first class game and his first Test match,” Holder pointed out.
“So the body will take a little bit of time to adjust to the workload, and we’ve got to be very, very careful not to bowl him to the ground. I think sometimes we get excited with a young prospect such as Jayden and throw him into all three formats.” – Holder
Seales has never played regional first-class cricket but came to prominence after shining for West Indies at last year’s ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.
Included in the Test reserves for last December’s tour of New Zealand, the Trinidadian produced an ordinary effort in his only first-class game for West Indies A, taking a single wicket from 21 overs.
However, selectors persisted with him, keeping him as part of the Test set-up for the Sri Lanka series last March as a developmental player. Handed his debut last Friday, Seales showed little signs of nerves, striking in his first over when he removed Petersen, and also knocked over opener Aiden Markram (60) and debutant Kyle Verreynne (6) late on on the opening day, to keep West Indies in the contest after the hosts had been earlier dismissed for 97.
“I’m very, very excited for Jayden. It was special to see not only the way he bowled but the way the team rallied around him,” Holder said. “I was actually commenting on his first Test wicket and everybody was saying how they really enjoyed how we got around him. “I honestly felt as if I was taking my first Test wicket when Jayden got his first wicket against Petersen. It was a pleasing moment for me.”
He continued: “The most impressive thing about Jayden’s debut for me was the sustenance of his consistency. He was just there or thereabouts, nagging.
“He asked tonnes of questions at multiple stages of the game which is very, very impressive for a 19-year-old and I think the sky is the limit for him if he can just stay fit. “Hopefully I can keep my performances going and my body going, [because] I am really looking forward to playing a lot more Test matches with him or T20 games or ODIs.”
Seales is likely to feature again for West Indies in the second and final Test which bowls off here Friday.
West Indies trail 1-0 after losing the first Test by an innings and 63-runs inside 2 1/2 days.