Unflustered Holder ready to embrace leadership challenge

Bridgetown (Barbados), Sep 15 (IANS) Newly-appointed West Indies Test captain Jason Holder says he is looking forward to the responsibility and does not feel any pressure as he gears up for the assignment.

The 23-year-old fast bowler was named to replace Denesh Ramdin earlier this month, ahead of next month’s tour of Sri Lanka, reports CMC.

Holder, also the One-Day International captain, is a relative newcomer to international cricket with just eight Tests and 33 ODIs behind him, but believes he has what is required to handle the responsibility of leadership.

“At this present time there’s no pressure on me. Obviously it is something I’ve done before. I’m the captain of the one-day team,” Holder said here Monday in his first official media conference.

“It’s obviously some added responsibility in the Test arena (but) I don’t think it is something that I can’t handle, if not I would not have taken the job. It’s about me gelling the guys together and getting the best out of everybody.”

He added: “It is something I am looking forward to. I’ve done it a little bit in the one-day arena and it is about translating that into the Test arena now. I’ve obviously led teams before, I’ve led Barbados in youth cricket and I’ve led West Indies A teams and stuff like that so I’m not in a sense new to it.

“It is something that I’ve handled in the past before and I don’t expect to falter in this arena in a sense. I’m really looking forward to it, I’m always up for the challenge and I will try to take it on as best as I possibly can.”

Holder’s rise has been meteoric since his international debut just over two years ago, and has become an entrenched member of West Indies in all formats of the game.

Picked for his bowling, he has pressed his case as a genuine all-rounder with a maiden Test century against England in Antigua last April and an unbeaten 82 against the touring Australians in Kingston last June.

Holder said, however, he did not envision the burden of captaincy getting in the way of his continued development as a cricketer.

“It is international cricket, it is international sport. You have to expect these things (leadership roles) as they always come up in international sport,” he told journalists.

“It’s more responsibility but I don’t think that should impede on my cricket. My cricket is at heart first. I have to play as a cricketer first and lead the guys afterward and I think once I do that, I don’t think it (captaincy) should get in the way of my actual cricket.”

He continued: “I always look up to the big occasions. I think that’s where you’re remembered. People really remember you on the big stage at the big moments. If I can put my hand up the majority of times in those situations I think I can leave something behind and people can look back and say ‘I remember Jason Holder for this particular scenario or as a particular individual.’”

Appointed ODI captain last December and having presided over a World Cup campaign that saw the Windies reach the quarter-finals before bowing out, Holder said he was hoping to build on the work he had started with the one-day unit.

“It’s been a short stint so far as one-day captain. I think over a period of time I think you would get a good analysis of how I’ve been,” he said.

“Thus far I’ve had pretty good relationships with most of the guys in the dressing room and I can see it building over the next few months and hopefully in years to come. But as I said, it is about getting the relationship building among one another and moving forward as one collective unit.”

Holder’s first assignment will be the tour of Sri Lanka which comprises two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals, and runs from October 8 to November 12.

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