Holder Pens The Great West Indian Revival

Jason Holder
Image used for representation only. Source: BBC

The crowd waited with bated breath as West Indies needed two to register a historic series win against England at home.

Young John Campbell, just 25 and into his second Test, was facing champion bowler Jimmy Anderson. It was short and he smote it over midwicket, all West Indian, straight into the stands.

Probably he did not realise what it meant fully, but Campbell had swung West Indies to a rare series over a high-ranked side in recent times.

Among the dark clouds hovering over the sky, even a ray of sunshine brings hope. That was the state of West Indies cricket for over two decades now. The performances of one of the giants of cricket often led to misery and despair.  Cricket needed a strong West Indies to redress the balance. It never came.

It now seems that the Sun has finally broken through the clouds. The West Indies outplayed and totally outthought England.

This wasn’t a one-off affair. Jason Holder and his men showed intent, a rare single-mindedness as they went about their mission. There were determined to win at all costs and they achieved it with big margins.

The proudest man on the planet would be the captain Holder. Thrust into the leadership role at a very young age, Holder has withstood all kinds of pressures as his team plummeted from one depth or another.

Rare wins were treated with optimism but Holder knew as well as anybody else these were just flash-in-the-pan victories. Nobody could deny that there was raw talent available, but they needed to be harnessed to suit the needs of international cricket.

The most important part of the journey to success was that the players had great faith in Holder and his obsession to get West Indies cricket to the top again.

It is not easy to get West Indian kids to play cricket as the lure of big money in basketball drew them to the US. The standard of West Indian first-class cricket wasn’t great either and many players could not make a mark on the higher stage.

The West Indian cricket board was also seen too authoritative in nature and its constant battles with the players made some seniors depart to seek their pot of gold in the T20 tournaments in various parts of the world.

All the more credit should be given to Holder for staying positive in this period. Finally the West Indian fortunes changed.

England, as is their wont, scoffed at the weak West Indian team. They were planning big experiments with an eye on the forthcoming Ashes. Alas, the West Indies sprang a major surprise.

With one Test to go, it’s the England team which needs to do the soul searching for a change.

Holder himself played a major role in the revival. He scored a double century when West Indies needed it and bowled beautifully to pick a lot of wickets.

Credit must also go to fast bowler Kemar Roach, who finally found his mojo.  After a career-threatening injury, Roach’s return had made just moderate.

But in this series, Roach came all guns blazing. At times, he was dangerous to face as the ball made chin music around the batsman.

Roston Chase picked up eight wickets in the first Test while Alzarri Joseph played on despite his mother’s demise during the Test. Holder will be feeling bittersweet at the moment. He has been banned for the third Test over slow overrates which is sad as a clean sweep is within his reach.

But Holder has done his job. He can look back proudly as say that “The West Indies have arrived”.


Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

Latest posts by Babu Kalyanpur (see all)