Legendary former Windies captain Sir Clive Lloyd, 76, entering the raging debate over the future of the West Indies Test captaincy, said he believed Kraigg Brathwaite was “slightly ahead” of Jason Holder, to lead the side in next month’s series against Sri Lanka.
While pointing out that Holder was competent enough to continue in the role, Sir Clive said Brathwaite’s exemplary leadership in inspiring an inexperienced side to a 2-0 whitewash of Bangladesh earlier this month, could not be ignored by selectors.
However, Sir Clive said both men brought vital experience to the squad and if selectors were keen on making a change, it was important to first sit down and discuss the matter with the players.
“If I were a selector, obviously Kraigg would be slightly ahead of Jason because of what [he] has done with the team that they have there,” Sir Clive said earlier this week.
“It’s a beautiful position to be in that you have guys with experience, who were captain and vice-captain. I’m sure Jason’s is not a guy who will say ‘I’ve got a bad deal or a raw deal.’”
Holder, who has led the side since 2015, opted out of the Bangladesh tour, citing mental fatigue and concerns over the integrity of the bio-secure “bubble” for the series. He was one of 10 players declining selection, leading to weakened sides being selected for both the one-day and Test series.
Brathwaite, however, chose to lead a 15-man Test squad which comprised four uncapped players and five others with less than 10 Tests to their names, and he attracted widespread praise for the masterful way in which he marshaled the side in both Tests.
Sir Clive Lloyd, who inspired West Indies to World Cup triumphs in the first two editions of the tournament in 1975 and 1979, said what made Brathwaite’s achievement even more stellar was the fact that leading the West Indies was already a complicated role even with experienced players.
“We must understand that captaining the West Indies is by far more difficult than any other country,” Sir Clive told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest. Australia, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka are each one country. We are 14 islands spread with different cultures and backgrounds. It’s not easy to bring people together and Kraigg Brathwaite and those guys, in the matter of a couple of weeks, pulled things together.”
Players like Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks and Shimon Hetmyer, all of whom opted out of the Bangladesh tour, are expected to be available for selection for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.
But Sir Clive said the accomplishments of the inexperienced side in Bangladesh meant selectors could not simply discard those players when the stars returned.
“We have to reward them. You can’t get rid of these guys who did such a marvelous job,” Sir Clive urged.
“There are so many things they did right. Not many sides [in Bangladesh] went into the fifth day in Test cricket, if you look at it over the last three years. Most of the games were finishing on the third day or the fourth day. We went into the fifth day…on a turning pitch.
“We had to chase 395 and these guys batted extremely well. We had to defend 230 and we did that.
“The point is, you just can’t think this is just a flash in the pan. No, these were excellent performances.”