Chief selector Roger Harper has praised deposed captain Jason Holder’s attitude during the recent Sri Lanka series, contending the all-rounder had been “exemplary” in his approach and a source of inspiration for his teammates.
The 29-year-old Holder was sacked as captain prior to the series and replaced by fellow Barbadian Kraigg Brathwaite, but remained a seminal figure throughout the two-Test rubber which ended in a nil-all stalemate on Good Friday.
He averaged 69 with the bat while scoring an unbeaten half-century in the second Test, and also finished the series with seven wickets after taking a five-wicket haul in the first innings of the opening Test.
“I thought Jason performed very well. He got a five-wicket haul in the first Test match and then of course the [71 not out] in the last innings as well,” Harper pointed out.
“But even more than his performance was the way he went about his business. I think from watching him in the nets and on the field you always heard him encouraging the players, trying to lift the guys and keep them really in high spirits.
“He’s been the livewire. He’s really handled things very well and in an exemplary fashion, and has continued to be the type of leader we know someone with his experience can be and that’s important for the team.”
One of the youngest ever Windies Test captains when he was appointed at age 23, Holder led West Indies in 37 of his 47 Tests – winning 11, losing 21 and drawing five games.
His captaincy came under intense scrutiny following the side’s heavy defeats in New Zealand last December and his fate was sealed when he skipped the tour of Bangladesh earlier this year and stand-in skipper Brathwaite inspired a severely weakened side to a 2-0 whitewash.
Harper said the decision to remove Holder as captain had been a sober one but had also been necessary in helping to maintain the new culture formed in Bangladesh.
“It was a decision that took a lot of thought, a lot of deliberation,” the former Guyana and West Indies off-spinner told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest cricket show.
“But I think the sort of spirit we saw in Bangladesh – the performance of course made a big difference – but the sort of spirit, the sort of fight, the sort of determination we saw in that team, we wanted that to continue so that really influenced our decision.”