West Indies legend Brian Lara has tipped for T20 captain, Jason Holder, as the Windies player who could shine most brightly in the India Premier League (IPL) this season.

 The all-rounder was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for the new campaign, after only coming in as a substitute for Australian Mitchell Marsh last season.

Holder went on to score 66 runs, in seven matches, at an average of 33, and claimed 14 wickets, the third most on the team despite playing less than half the games.  Lara, who is part of a commentary panel for this season’s tournament, has tipped the player to carry on in the same vein.

“Jason Holder could do pretty well. He ended up replacing Mitchell Marsh in the 2020 IPL, so I expect him to maybe come up with trumps this year,” Lara told StarSports.

“The tracks are not so favourable to the pace where he is playing at present, but he is such a good all-round player that I hope he can maintain his play and really show that the West Indians are here to stay,” he added.

Holder could, however, have plenty of competition for the top West Indian player with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, and Nicholas Pooran also taking part in this season’s competition.

 

 

 West Indies batsman, Kyle Mayers, thinks losing the captaincy may have been a blessing in disguise for all-rounder Jason Holder, who he thinks is freer to be more himself without the additional responsibility.

After seven years in charge, Holder was replaced as captain of the Test team last month by Kraigg Brathwaite.  Brathwaite was himself promoted to the post after successfully taking charge during a successful tour of Bangladesh, which Holder had opted out of, along with 11 other players.

The change in circumstances has, however, not affected Holder’s play on the field and, equally importantly, he has been vocal with his encouragement of teammates on the field.  The previously mentioned characteristic is one many of his critics believe was absent during the majority of his tenure as captain.

 “Jason brought a different personality to the dressing room than what was in Bangladesh and it’s been working out nicely, especially the hard times in the field, Jason has been behind the guys, pushing us to do well.  I think him being skipper stopped that for a few years,” Mayers told SportsMax.tv’s The Commentators podcast.

“That’s the type of person he actually is.  A jovial person, always making fun, talking a lot.  I guess as captain being focused on the game, he couldn’t do that as much but now he is free, probably just trying to play as well as he can and be as free as he can,” he added.

“For me, if you are enjoying cricket more and you have less to worry about, it should make you better.  You focus more on yourself.”

Catch the full episode of The Commentators podcast below 

 

 

Promising West Indies batsman, Kyle Mayers, has expressed confidence at the prospect of becoming a top international Test cricket all-rounder, on the back of encouraging displays with both the bat and ball in recent months.

The attacking-minded Mayers burst on the scene with a stroke-filled 210 unbeaten in the first Test against Bangladesh, in February of this year.  However, against Sri Lanka last month, the player also had a good turn with the ball.  Not only extracting movement from a placid pitch but taking four wickets in the process, with just a short spell.

The display prompted some pundits to suggest that the player had the ability to become a dependable all-rounder for the squad if he could improve his overall fitness.

Bowling would not have been entirely new to Mayers, however, as he was at one point considered more of a bowling all-rounder, having claimed 71 wickets in 30 first-class matches at an average of 21.54.  Having displayed more prowess with the bat in recent months, Mayers is convinced that he can do both at the highest level in the mold of former West Indies captain Jason Holder, or England’s Ben Stokes, the world’s top-ranked all-rounders.

“I have it in me to do it.  I just have to become fitter,” Mayer’s told SportsMax’s The Commentators podcast.

“I just started Test cricket and people think watching it on tv, it’s very easy, it’s very hard.  I will always say that, and I will always let young people coming up know that if you want to play Test cricket you need to work very hard,” he added.

“Preparation is key for me to be up there with Jason.  It will take that hard work, but I believe I can do it for sure.  Having number one and maybe number two in the world can’t be so bad.  If they had two of the world’s best all-rounders the guys would be happy.”

 Catch full interview in the Podcast below

 

 

Former West Indies Captain Jason Holder has expressed his delight at being named among Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.

Royal Challengers Bangalore made it two wins from two in the Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad's miserable record at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium continued on Wednesday.

Glenn Maxwell hit his first half-century in the tournament since 2016 as the Royal Challengers – who had beaten defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture – posted 149-8 after being put into bat.

Hyderabad appeared on course to prevail in pursuit of their target when they reached 96-1, only for the departure of captain David Warner – caught in the deep for 54 - to trigger a dramatic collapse.

Shahbaz Ahmed claimed three wickets in an over, including Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey with back-to-back deliveries, to completely change the complexion of a run chase that fell apart.

While Rashid Khan made 17 in a hurry the Sunrisers still finished up six runs short on 143-9, meaning they have still yet to win a completed fixture at the venue in Chennai.

Bangalore's innings had been similar too, captain Virat Kohli making 33 before his departure to Jason Holder started a mid-innings wobble, his team slipping from 91-2 to 109-6.

However, Maxwell eventually mastered the tough batting conditions, producing a late onslaught as 39 runs came from the final three overs. He was dismissed off the last delivery of the innings for 59, caught behind to give Holder final figures of 3-30.

Taking it to the Max

Maxwell endured a lean 2020 IPL campaign in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab as he made only 108 runs. Having been released ahead of the auction, Bangalore already appear to be getting plenty for their money.

The Australian has now scored 98 runs in his two innings for the Royal Challengers, who sit on top of the table in the embryonic stages of the season.

Chennai trouble for chasing teams

After Kolkata Knight Riders had faltered in pursuit of a 153-run target to lose narrowly against Mumbai at the ground 24 hours earlier, Sunrisers let the same situation happen when seemingly well on top.

Shahbaz (3-7) bowled only two overs, yet the second from the left-arm spinner saw Bairstow, Pandey - who struggled to up the pace as he made 38 from 39 balls - and Abdul Samad all caught off top-edged attempts to go big to the leg side.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes a change of approach by his team’s batsmen is largely responsible for five of them averaging over 50 for the just-concluded series against Sri Lanka. Kraigg Brathwaite, Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall hit that significant milestone during the series that ended in a stalemate between the two cricketing nations.

It was the first time since 2012, that West Indies batsmen have been able to achieve that feat and only the second time since 1995.

Brathwaite, who started off the series with scores of three and 23 in the first Test, finished strong with his ninth Test century, 126, and a second innings score of 85 that spiralled his average in the series to an excellent 59.25.

Kyle Mayers, perhaps the most consistent of the West Indies batsmen had scores of 49, 55, 45 and 52 for an overall average of 50.25.

Incidentally, these were the two lowest averages of the five batsmen. Nkrumah Bonner, who scored his first Test century in the series, 113 not out, averaged 72 while Jason Holder averaged 69 after scoring 71 not out, 30, 19 and 18 not out.

Rahkeem Cornwall had only two turns at-bat and he made them count. His 61 and 73 gave him an average of 67, to round out an impressive all-round performance from the West Indies despite the fact that they were unable to force a win in any of the two Tests.

Simmons, though, was pleased with what he observed.

“Everybody is looking to occupy the crease. People are working to bat for long periods and our depth goes deeper because Alzarri Joseph and Rahkeem Cornwall have shown within the last three series that they can bat and they can provide that 50-100-run partnerships that later down can take us to 350 to 400s,” said the West Indies head coach.

He was particularly pleased with Cornwall’s performance with the bat. Already, a crucial member of the bowling attack, Cornwall enhanced his reputation as a genuine allrounder.

“It was great to see Rahkeem’s batting coming to the fore, and in all, the batting has shown up in the last four Test matches and this is a great thing because, before that, the bowling was carrying us,” Simmons said.

The last time the West Indies had five batsmen averaging over 50 in a Test series was back in 2012, when Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kieran Powell and Denesh Ramdin all surpassed the milestone. Chanderpaul averaged over 300 for the series.

Before that, six West Indies batsmen - Chanderpaul, Junior Murray, Winston Benjamin, Jimmy Adams, Brian Lara and Sherwin Campbell - all averaged over 50 runs an innings against New Zealand in 1995.

 

 

Nkrumah Bonner’s dream came true today when he scored his maiden Test century as the first Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka ended in a draw at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Jason Holder had excellent figures of 5-27 as the West Indies took full control over Sri Lanka on the opening day of the first Sandals Test match on Sunday.

He might no longer by the captain of the West Indies but Jason Holder still has a lot to contribute to the success of the team going forward.

Jason Holder and Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka set for March 21-25, 2021.

Opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite has replaced Jason Holder as West Indies Test captain, Cricket West Indies confirmed tonight.

A century from Shai Hope and a half-century from Evin Lewis helped West Indies cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 18 balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Fabian Allen credits his confidence for his stand out performance against Sri Lanka on Sunday night that helped the West Indies win the third and final match of the T20 series by three wickets and subsequently take the series 2-1.

Fabian Allen smashed three sixes off the penultimate over of the match to hand the West Indies a hard-fought three-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the Coolidge Cricket Ground this evening.

The West Indies, who took the series 2-1, was staring possible defeat in the face at 105-7 after 17 overs, needing 27 from the last 18 balls but with only Kevin Sinclair and Obed McCoy to come. With Jason Holder at the other end and the West Indies needing 20 from the last two overs, Allen hit the first ball of the 19th over bowled by Akila Dananjaya for six and then ran two leg byes off the second.

He then smashed the third ball for six and then took a single off the fourth. Holder took a single from the fifth, leaving Allen to face the last ball of the over with four runs needed for victory. Allen duly obliged with his third six of the over to end unbeaten on 21 off just six balls.

Holder was not out on 14.

Chasing 132 for victory, the West Indies were put in a spin by Hasaranga de Silva 2-13 and Lakshan Sandakan 3-29, who threatened to take the match away from the home side. The former removed Evin Lewis for 21 and Lendl Simmons for 26, both batsmen playing injudicious shots to the bowler, who prior to the start, had planned to see off.

Sandakan and Dushmantha Chameera (2-23) then combined to rip the heart out of the West Indies middle order. Sandakan bowled Chris Gayle for 13 early in the piece and then returned to bowl Rovman Powell for seven and then getting Dwayne Bravo caught at short fine leg for a golden duck from consecutive deliveries as the match headed towards a thrilling climax.  

Chameera had Kieron Pollard caught behind for a duck and then bowled Nicholas Pooran for 23 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 95 for 5.

Dananjaya ended with regrettable figures of 0-53 from his four overs.

Earlier, an unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership of 85 from 63 balls between Dinesh Chandimal and Ashen Bandara helped take Sri Lanka from 46 for 4, after the West Indies bowlers had combined to restrict the visitors to 46 for 4 mid-way the 10th over.

The pair took 13 off Dwayne Bravo’s final over to push the score to produce the highest fifth-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka to reach 131 for 4.

Chandimal’s unbeaten score of 54 came off 46 balls. He only hit three fours as he and his fellow batsmen were made to work hard by the West Indies bowlers, who produced a disciplined display.

Bandara’s 44 not out came from 35 balls hitting three fours and two sixes.

So restrictive was the home side’s attack they limited Sri Lanka to only eight fours and two sixes over the course of the 20-over allotment.

Fabian Allen, who returned figures of 1-13 from his four overs, took the first Sri Lankan wicket when he took a brilliant return catch to dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka for nine with only 10 runs on the board.

Nirsoshan Dickwella provided Kevin Sinclair (1-19) with his second wicket of the series caught by Jason Holder at wide mid-on for four as Sri Lanka crept to 15 for 2 in the fourth over.

Sinclair returned the favour when he took Pathum Nissanka at mid-off of Holder’s (1-27) short-of-a-length delivery for five to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 27 for 3.

Chandimal and Captain Angelo Matthews began to repair the damage with a stand of 19 when Matthews was caught behind off an Obed McCoy (1-29) delivery for 11. However, his dismissal opened the door to the record stand that took Sri Lanka’s to a competitive total at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The West Indies will now turn their attention to the ODI Series set to begin at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at North Sound on March 10, 2021.

 

 

 

Former West Indies opener turned pundit, Philo Wallace, believes the poor performance of the Barbados Pride in the recent regional Super50 tournament provides even more evidence that selectors should stick with Kraigg Brathwaite as captain for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, as Jason Holder has ‘lost the art of captaincy.’  

Brathwaite received plenty of plaudits for leading an understrength Windies squad to an unexpected 2-0 Test victory in Bangladesh earlier this year.  Brathwaite, who had been axed as vice-captain the series before, was put in charge of the squad after regular captain Holder was one of 12 players to opt-out of the tour after citing health and safety concerns.

Since then, the debate has raged fiercely on both sides regarding whether the panel of selectors should return Holder to his original position or stick with the momentum achieved by Brathwaite in the unexpected win.  Wallace falls firmly in the camp supporting the latter.

“I believe that there is a shift with what Brathwaite did in Bangladesh, something happened in Bangladesh that brought a 2-0 victory for the West Indies and 2-0 defeat for Bangladesh at home,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Kraigg Brathwaite and that management team did something right.  The head coach said he saw a difference in attitude.  He saw a different type of vibe with the guys.  Are we going to kill that vibe as we return to Antigua? Or are we going to rekindle that vibe and take it into the Sri Lanka series,” he added.

“Jason has lost the art of captaincy.  There are no tactical moves.  We just saw a Super50 competition he captained six games and we lost 5.  We had a team 87 for 8 and we could not crush them.  The captain who is 6ft 6’ could not take up the ball and bowl three devastating yorkers and bowl out the team for under 120.  That is what we call leadership, you take it up and you do it yourself.”

 

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