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‘Holder most impressive WI captain since Viv’

“He is pitching the ball up more and is more consistent, more patient and is somehow getting the Dukes ball to talk more than anyone else in world cricket,” says Ian Bishop

Last Updated: 06/07/20 3:18pm

Jason Holder will captain West Indies' Wisden Trophy defence against England this summer

Jason Holder will captain West Indies' Wisden Trophy defence against England this summer

Jason Holder will captain West Indies’ Wisden Trophy defence against England this summer

“He is probably the most impressive captain of the West Indies since Sir Viv Richards.”

Those the words of Michael Atherton on Jason Holder as the latter prepares to lead his side’s Wisden Trophy defence in the three-Test #raisethebat series against England.

England vs W Indies

July 8, 2020, 10:30am

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The all-rounder’s shock appointment as West Indies captain at the age of just 23 looks a very shrewd decision now, with the 28-year-old skippering his team to a 2-1 win over England in the Caribbean last year – Holder scoring a double century in the first Test of that series in Barbados.

Atherton, Nasser Hussain and former West Indies paceman Ian Bishop – all of whom will be part of Sky Sports‘ coverage of the England vs West Indies Test series – sung Holder’s praises on the latest Sky Cricket Podcast, hailing him as a man, leader and cricketer.

MICHAEL ATHERTON

“He took the job on at 23, which is an absurdly young age. I captained at 25 and thought that was very young. It is a steep learning curve when you are very young and particularly captaining the West Indies who have been at a low ebb with politics between players and administrators.

Holder led West Indies to a Test series win over England in the Caribbean in early 2019 Holder led West Indies to a Test series win over England in the Caribbean in early 2019

Holder led West Indies to a Test series win over England in the Caribbean in early 2019

“He carries himself with great dignity and is probably the most impressive captain of the West Indies since Sir Viv Richards. He has a very different style, his dignity is quiet as opposed to Viv who was very much in your face, but he is a hugely impressive guy.

“I did a long interview with him on England’s tour of the Caribbean in 2019, talking through his background. Some people just have it, those qualities that make you think, ‘I’d like to play for him, be in the same side as him’.”

IAN BISHOP

“He has improved markedly. I think just before a tour to the UAE to play Pakistan in 2016, the chairman of selectors had said to him ‘mate, you have got to lift your game, we’re not sure your numbers are reflective of what we need from you as captain’.

Holder with fellow West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph (left), Kemar Roach (right) and Shannon Gabriel (left) Holder with fellow West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph (left), Kemar Roach (right) and Shannon Gabriel (left)

Holder with fellow West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph (left), Kemar Roach (right) and Shannon Gabriel (left)

“That seemed to catapult him and he seems to have understood bowling. He is getting five-wicket hauls in the UAE, in India and a lot in the Caribbean. You would think these English conditions are tailor-made for him.

“What is striking is that he bowls a length now where for a tall man, 6ft 7in, he hits the pads and the stumps remarkably often. Someone told me he was getting lbws or bowleds every 200 deliveries, whereas he is now he is getting one every 70 or 80 deliveries.

“He is pitching the ball up more and is more consistent, more patient and is somehow getting the Dukes ball to talk more than anyone else in world cricket.

  • Wickets: 50
  • Bowling average: 12.42
  • Five-wicket hauls: 5
  • Best innings figures: 6-59

“As a leader, he has that experience now where he seems to know the right thing to say to his bowling group – he has a very level head. He also averages over 40 with the bat in the last couple of years so he is extremely vital as a player and leader.”

NASSER HUSSAIN

“He is an outstanding cricketer, rightly ranked No 1 in the world, and it is a shame sometimes that we forget that and focus on some of the so-called bigger nations. I did half an hour on a Zoom call with him the other day and I came off it thinking what an impressive young man.

Holder has been in excellent form in Test cricket over recent times Holder has been in excellent form in Test cricket over recent times

Holder has been in excellent form in Test cricket over recent times

“Everything he has had to deal with, including coronavirus, and the stick he got when he became West Indies captain. To be where he is now, you don’t cope with all that and end up with those figures without being a hugely impressive young man.

“It’s a great match-up with Ben Stokes – the no 1-ranked Test all-rounder against the man at No 2.”

Watch West Indies’ #raisethebat Test series against England – named in tribute to key workers who have been on the frontline during the coronavirus outbreak – live on Sky Sports Cricket from Wednesday.

Our preview show will be broadcast from 7.45pm on Monday on Sky Sports Cricket.

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