With Jason Holder At The Helm
Everybody get ready
It’s time to rocksteady
It’s ba ba boom, yes it is
Don’t lose the beat, now
Just dip your head, now
It’s festival fire, listen here
— The Jamaicans
Festival is celebrated in Jamaica every year in August since the country gained its Independence in 1962. It has become a long-held tradition of excitement, fun, and a time of just sheer jollification.
Integral to the celebration is the Jamaica Festival song competition, from which the best song that befits the joy of the occasion is selected.
It was on such a momentous occasion in 1967, the song titled, “Ba Ba Boom” got selected as the winner, needless to say, the bragging of those good old days persists until this day.
The song penned and sang by the group, “The Jamaicans” has been a festival song staple for not only baby boomers but all music lovers of the classical ska/rocksteady music period.
So, what’s that got to do with the Windies, and Jason Holder, the young millennial cricketer, in particular?
Well, today everyone is singing the praise of Jason Omar Holder, the 27-year-old Barbadian cricketer and the current captain of the West Indies Test and One Day International (ODI) teams.
However, except for a few commentators who applauded the move at the time, when Holder was first appointed the captain, many viewed it as wrong-headed.
The truth is, Clive Lloyd, the head of the selection committee at the time, took a lot of flak when Danesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo were unceremoniously dismissed as captains of the Windies Test and ODI team, respectively, and Holder made captain.
Holder was made captain at age 23, thus becoming the second youngest test captain of all time for the West Indies and 15th youngest of all time for any Test Nation.
“Jason is one of the good, young players who we believe will form part of the long-term future of West Indies cricket. We expect him to be around for a very long time. He is a young man with a very bright future. We have invested in him. He was part of the High-Performance Centre, and he also played for the West Indies Under-19 team and the West Indies A Team,” Lloyd remarked at the time.
The naysayers, however, thought Holder was too young and lack the necessary experience to lead the team back to its glory days.
However, cricket maestro, Brian Charles Lara who also has a keen eye for spotting talent saw things differently and said at the time of Holder’s appointment.
“I think it’s an excellent choice. I saw the young man while working during the World Cup in Australia.”
“And the pressure that he came under, personally with his bowling and even as a captain and the way he handled it. He’s very eloquent and big in stature, and he reminds me of another version of a Clive Lloyd.”
Ezra Moseley, the former Barbados and West Indies allrounder, also gave Lloyd kudos for his judgment in naming Holder captain.
“His leadership qualities were so obvious I immediately made him captain,” Moseley recalled back then when Holder came under his coaching guidance at the St Michael School in Bridgetown.
Mosely added at the time, “His height was an advantage for his quick bowling, but my impression was that he would develop into a batting allrounder,”
“I can’t understand why those in charge concentrated more on his bowling than his batting once he left St Michael,” he further said at the time.
Now, fast forward to today, one is greeted with the following headlines:
Windies skipper Holder ends year second on Test all-rounders list
Jason Holder ranks 9th in ICC Bowling rankings
Holder now number 2 ranked all-rounder in the world
Windies skipper named in ICC test team of the year
The fact of the matter is Holder has made great strides since assuming the mantle of leadership of the Windies team. He has represented the region with not only charm and grace, but also excellent performances.
He has had an outstanding 2018 season, finishing as the world’s second-ranked Test all-rounder.
In six Tests he took 33 wickets at the impressive average of 12.39, which included four five-wicket hauls in successive matches.
Holder also scored 336 runs including two half-centuries at an average 37.33.
In ODIs, he dismissed 21 batsmen at an average of 33.75 and accumulated 405 runs at 33.75.
His performances have seen Holder named as part of the Cricket Australia Test XI of 2018, Cricbuzz Test Team of the year and ICC Test Team of the year.
The truth is if other Windies players take their game seriously and put in the hard work a la Jason Holder very soon the people in the region will be singing “Ba Ba Boom” and dancing just like in the past when the Windies was the king of cricket.
Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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