BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jul 15, CMC – Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley has praised West Indies Test captain Jason Holder’s “wisdom, maturity and discipline”, one of three sitting political leaders hailing the all-rounder’s leadership of the Caribbean side and celebrating last weekend’s success in the first Test against England.
Mottley, the country’s first ever woman woman prime minister, joined with Grenadian counterpart Dr Keith Mitchell and St Vincent and the Grenadines leader, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in underscoring the importance of the victory and lauding Holder for his role in the side’s recent success.
“Every time I hug you I have to look up and that’s exactly where you are carrying us – to victory, to the skies and I am so so so proud of you,” Mottley told Holder via Zoom on Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest here Tuesday night.
“My very first act as Prime Minister of Barbados after being sworn in was to commit to the English match here in 2019 and I will never forget how you made me feel when you all beat England at Kensington Oval, and reinforced the wisdom of that decision to be able to take the chance and ensure that Test match was in Barbados.
“You are just carrying us to greater heights each time and your wisdom, your maturity and your discipline [is outstanding].
“For me, the highlight was just how long you took to make the winning runs [last Sunday]. That said to me the maturity is there to understand that unless you finish the mission, you have not achieved what is required of you and however pretty the game looks and however nice it looks, you have to finish the mission.
“And you’ve brought this sense of hope in us again that this is a team that is now going to carry us on a pathway to victory because what you showed was a maturity and a discipline to keep the mission in focus.”
Gonsalves, also chairman of the regional nation grouping, CARICOM, said West Indies had shown a new resolve since their conquest over England in the Caribbean last year.
And even though they stumbled early in their run chase in the first Test at Southampton, Gonsalves said he was never in doubt they would emerge winners in the contest.
“I rejoice in the victory. I remember seeing Jason with his double hundred at that same game in Kensington and I saw the performance also in that same game by (Roston) Chase and (Shane) Dowrich,” Gonsalves recalled.
“And I’ll tell you the truth, even at 25 for three [on Sunday’s final day in Southampton], I didn’t think at all that this was another West Indies collapse. We had played with such discipline, we had played with such commitment that I felt it.
“There was something about the purposefulness with which the players as a team went about their job that I felt absolutely confident that we were going to make the 200 runs.
“It’s a good win in the same week we were remembering Sir Everton Weekes and while we bury him in sadness, had he been alive he would have been ecstatic at this remarkable triumph.”
Mitchell, the former chairman of CARICOM’s prime ministerial committee on cricket, said there was a new sense of commitment in the West Indies ranks which had been fortified by Holder’s leadership.
“It didn’t surprise me after I watched the first innings because what I saw was the discipline in approach by your bowling unit. They never gave away anything … and they way you batted and how every person committed themselves to the task,” said Mitchell, also an ardent cricket fan.
“It made me realise this is a different team, not necessarily in talent – I’ve always believed the West Indies had talent – but I think the leadership and guidance, the commitment and unified effort of the team is what impressed me the most.
“I’ve always said if we lost a game we must lose it with pride and commitment. What I saw with that team, if you lose we should still be all proud because I see the commitment.”
Holder, whose first innings career-best of six for 42 last weekend, undermined England and formed the basis for West Indies’ eventual four-wicket victory in the first Test, said his side were aware of the importance of the game to the region and valued the support of all stakeholders.
“It’s really fitting to see the love and appreciation shown throughout the Caribbean,” Holder told the show.
“I know what cricket does to this region and obviously the people of the Caribbean are obviously ecstatic over the first victory so we thank you dearly for your continued support.
“We hope we can start again on Thursday (second Test in Manchester) and go through the same processes, go through the same hard work and not get too far ahead of ourselves in terms of the outcome, but more or less focus in on the process and make sure we can keep smiles on people’s faces.”