West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder, who two months ago was sacked as Test captain, revealed that the decision to oust him came as a ‘shock’, but insisted that he is not dwelling on it too much. Holder, however, admitted that not being a captain has its perks, as it allows him to focus on himself.
After being appointed the Test skipper in 2015, Jason Holder stopped the sinking Windies ship from drowning and put the Caribbean nation back in the world map, but a drastic management call saw the all-rounder be stripped of captaincy three months ago. Kraigg Brathwaite, as stand-in skipper, led a depleted Windies side to a famous series win over Bangladesh at the start of the year, and the impressive win saw the Windies management jump the gun and appoint Brathwaite the full-time skipper in the longest format, usurping Holder.
The decision to sack Holder shocked the cricketing fraternity, particularly because the Windies had been on a steady rise under his leadership, and now, three months on, the all-rounder himself has opened up on the controversy. Contrary to the general line of thought, Holder revealed that the sack came out of nowhere, and admitted that he was left shocked by the decision.
"It was kind of a shock. Yeah, still lost for words in regards to that, but I am not dwelling on it. I don't think it's something I should dwell on, to be fair," Holder told ESPN Cricinfo.
Holder further revealed that it has been difficult for him to make the transition from captain to player. Quite astonishingly, Holder has led Windies in 37 of the 47 Tests he’s played in his career, and the 29-year-old asserted that the transition has been ‘strange’.
"Yeah, it's been difficult. I probably may not show it, but it has been difficult,For the last five-six years, I've been captaining West Indies, whether that be Test-match cricket or one-day cricket. So now being relieved of both captaincies, it has been a strange transition for me personally."
But despite being miffed with the decision to strip him of captaincy, Holder admitted that the change will enable him to focus more on his own personal ambitions. Holder insisted that he will still be sharing his wisdom with the younger players, but stressed that there will be far less pressure and responsibility on his shoulders.
"There is a lot less pressure, a lot less responsibility. It's just about me now personally… I'm a 100% team man. So I'll play my part to help the team and if there are other players who are seeking out advice or guidance, no doubt I'll be here to give them that," he said.
"But it's no longer a time where you've got to look to select teams, look at combinations… all these things have just gone through the window. So for me now, it's just a little bit more detailed as to as to my preparation into myself, particularly, and not having to deal with the team aspect of it.
"I guess my contributions now will be more so in small groups and one-on-one basis with the players. And team meetings obviously I'll share my expertise, and give as much guidance as I possibly can, but I still think the captain has to be given his leeway to lead the team the way he wants to lead the team, and we've got to give him confidence and support that we can as the group."
Holder and Windies' next assignment will be the two-Test series against South Africa, that will commence later today.