ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — All-rounder Jason Holder has been sacked as Test captain and replaced by compatriot Kraigg Brathwaite for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting later this month, Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced late Thursday.
The move comes in the wake of Brathwaite’s outstanding leadership on the recent tour of Bangladesh when a weakened West Indies whitewashed the home side in a two-match series to win their first series in Asian in nearly a decade.
Holder, along with nine other first-choice players, opted out of the Test and one-day series due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We all believe that Kraigg is the right man to lead our Test side at this point in time and I’m delighted that he has accepted the role,” chief selector Roger Harper said.
“In the recent Test series against Bangladesh, Kraigg was able to motivate his players to play to a very high level and create the culture we are looking to establish where the team showed a collective determination to fight and a real hunger for success.”
Brathwaite has already led West Indies in seven of his 66 Tests and has in the past served as vice-captain to Jason Holder. Only last year ironically, all-rounder Roston Chase replaced Brathwaite as vice-captain for the tour of New Zealand.
But with Chase also skipping the tour of Bangladesh, selectors resorted to Brathwaite in a last ditch move, only for the appointment to pay dividends.
“The recent Test Series win in Bangladesh was a fantastic achievement and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka and I’m excited about what I believe this team can achieve in the future.”
Jason Holder, one of the youngest ever Windies Test captains when he was appointed at age 23, led West Indies in 37 of his 45 Tests, winning 11, losing 21 and drawing five games.
And while he oversaw the return of the Wisden Trophy to the Caribbean in 2019 after nearly a decade, his position increasingly came under heavy scrutiny especially after the series defeat in England last year and a heavy series loss in New Zealand last December.
Holder’s captaincy also drew criticism from several prominent ex-players and he found himself under even more pressure when he oversaw Barbados Pride’s wretched campaign in the Regional Super50 last month when the powerhouses won a single match from six outings.
CWI director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, praised Holder for having led the Test side with “dignity”, stressing he still remained key to West Indies’ plans.
“On behalf of CWI, I would like to thank Jason for all he has given to the game in the region while serving as captain of our Test team,” said Adams.
“Throughout his five-and-a-half-year tenure, he has led with dignity while always upholding the highest values of the sport.
“As the world’s leading Test all-rounder, we all believe that Jason still has a tremendous role to play in West Indies Test Cricket for many years to come.”
Holder’s removal as Test captain also comes two years after he was axed as one-day skipper, following West Indies’ nightmare run at the ICC World Cup in England when the Caribbean side won two of nine games to finish one from bottom in the 10-team tournament.
The 29-year-old is one of the world’s leading Test all-rounders, averaging 32 with the bat with three hundreds and taking 116 wickets at just under 28 apiece.
West Indies face Sri Lanka in the opening Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium starting March 21 and the squad is scheduled to be announced Friday.