Jason Holder is not an allrounder, Ben Stokes is

By July 22, 2020
West Indies' captain Jason Holder, right, greets England's Ben Stokes after their win on the last day of the second cricket Test match between England and West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Monday, July 20, 2020. West Indies' captain Jason Holder, right, greets England's Ben Stokes after their win on the last day of the second cricket Test match between England and West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Monday, July 20, 2020. AP Photo/Jon Super

Last week I suggested England’s ben Stokes was close to overtaking Jason Holder as the number one allrounder in the world, despite Holder’s heroics in the first #raisethebat Series Test at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

This week Stokes confirmed my suspicions.

Stokes scored a couple of 40-odds and took 4-49 and 2-39, the most wickets for England, in that first Test, but still, Holder’s six-for put him ahead, even though the latter had a very ordinary outing with the bat.

I have consistently thought Stokes, over the course of his career, displays the better all-round ability, though Holder clearly wins in the bowling department.

Now, after two Tests of a three-Test series, Stokes has shown, with both bat and ball, he may very well be the greatest allrounder of the modern era.

After the second Test, Stokes duly took his place as the number-one Test allrounder in the world.

I agree with that.

Stokes is a complete allrounder.

In that second Test between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford, Stokes was in full flight.

He began the Test with 176, then broke the back of the West Indies innings when he had Kraigg Brathwaite caught and bowled for 75.

Stokes would continue to impact the Test in no uncertain terms, scoring a bruising 78 not out from just 57 deliveries to give England a platform from which they could bowl at the West Indies.

Stokes’ 2-30 when the West Indies bat was crucial, as he was the man who bounced out Jermaine Blackwood who had scored a classy 55 just before tea on the final day. I believe that was the wicket that ensured England their 113-run victory. He also proved the undoing of Alzarri Joseph, who has already proven a capable lower-order batsman.

I have always felt that an allrounder on the biggest stage in cricket is not just someone who is ok in all areas. These are professional cricketers and by and large, they’ll be ok at anything they do.

But an allrounder, I believe, to be classified as such, should be excellent in all areas.

A player who bowls well and bats a bit, for me, is not an allrounder. A player, who bats well and bowls a bit is not an allrounder either. Those are just cricketers. Maybe better cricketers than their peers, who only do one thing, but just cricketers nonetheless.

Jason Holder is a good cricketer.

He is no mug with the bat as his double century against England in Bridgetown, Barbados last year goes to prove. But Holder, for me is a bowler at this point in his career.

When I watch him bat, I see potential. He seems to be competent against spin as well as pace and has an uncanny way of seeming unhurried when he plays.

When I watch him bowl though, I see a bowler who can compete with the best in the world.

He is a fantastic bowler.

Standing at 6’ 7” I wish he were quicker, but at his pace, he generates bounce, movement and can be quite aggressive when he needs to be. His accuracy is phenomenal and I’ve watched him develop the perfect wrist positions to do exactly what he wants with the ball.

Holder’s ascent to the number two position among bowlers in Test cricket is no accident.

But, for me, that does not make him an allrounder.

Could he make the West Indies team as purely a batsman? He certainly could as a bowler.

Stokes, on the other hand, makes the England side in any capacity.

If he were unable to bat, the strength of his bowling, though not in Holder’s class, I don’t think, would give him a place in the England line-up.

He is certainly a key cog as a batsman and could play as solely that if he could not bowl.

In fact, I go as far as to say, Stokes is England’s best batsmen and he is the bowler who breaks the back of big partnerships.

Talking about fielding is a nonstarter since both Stokes and Holder are excellent fielders.

But, I think, by now you get my point.

With the bat, Holder is too mediocre at this stage of his career to really call him an allrounder, but there is hope.

I believe if Holder puts in the same kind of work into his batting that he does his bowling and this is difficult because he is captain of the West Indies, I believe he could become a real true-to-life allrounder.

Excellent at all things cricket.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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