Jason Holder’s replacement of Dwayne Bravo as West Indies One-Day International captain less than two months before next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup is a case of strange timing according to two former regional cricketers.
“I find the timing is suspect, because of what happened in India. It seems a little suspicious,” said former Test opener Bryan Davis, also an official at Bravo’s Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
Bravo, skipper and spokesman for the ODI squad that controversially abandoned the one-day, Test and Twenty20 series in India in October, was on Saturday left out of the ODI squad for the series against South Africa, along with senior players Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard.
The three have been retained for the three-match T20 series which follows the current three-Test rubber, with Sammy keeping the captaincy. And in his comments via a WICB press release explaining the change from Bravo to Holder, chairman of the selection panel Clive Lloyd gave no reasons for the omission of the three seniors players from the one-day team.
Yesterday, Davis questioned those omissions.
“I was surprised from the point of view the Board said there would not be discrimination against those who went to India, so I was expecting a similar team to the one that went to India. If that was the best team at the time, I don’t see anything that happened (cricket-wise) between then and now to create any changes,” he told the Express.
Having brokered the Hyatt Accord between the disputing players, the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association following their falling out over the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves stated that as part of the terms of the agreement, “the Board agreed that there would be no discrimination, there would be no victimisation and that the best players would be available for selection and the best team would be selected The Board reiterated its position for fairness and transparency in selection and specifically that there be no discrimination against any of these players.”
In the WICB release on Saturday, Lloyd said the selectors, “decided that now is the time to make the transition and Jason will have people around him to help and guide him.”
However, Davis questioned the transition at this time.
“I see nothing wrong with Jason Holder being captain but the question is the timing…If you are going to change to a younger captain,” he said, “why not do it before the India tour? Why now when you just have the South African series and straight into the World Cup? The young captain does not have time to get experience on the field of play and bond with his team. The best time to have done this would have been after the World Cup, I would have thought. If you were thinking about a transiition to youth, that should have happened after the World Cup.”
He added: “I believe it has to do with the abandonment of the tour of India. Dwayne Bravo has suffered the consequences….I am only judging by what the WICB said that there would be no discrimination. They could cover it up and talk about transition, but the timing was very bad.”
Davis also doubted that the axed trio would now be included in the final squad for the World Cup. “I don’t think that they should venture from the team that they selected for the South Africa tour,” he said. “That is the team that has the advantage of preparing in a place like South Africa.”
Former West Indies wicketkeeper and chairman of selectors Michael Findlay also found the timing of Bravo and company’s removal “a little strange.” But he was also concerned that too much was being asked of 23-year-old budding allrounder Holder too soon.
“I would have thought they would have given him a chance to develop as a player before they thrust upon him the responsibility of captaincy of a West Indies team that is really struggling a great deal. I thought it was a little premature. They pushed him in the firing line too early. That is bound to affect the young man. I hope he is strong enough to cope.”
Holder is currently a part of the squad that lost the first Test by an innings and 220 runs, the West Indies’ biggest-ever loss in South Africa.