Holder axed as West Indies Test captain for Sri Lanka series

West Indies' bowler Jason Holder.
Associated Press / Arnulfo Franco

All-rounder Jason Holder has been axed as captain of the West Indies team for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting next week at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua.

He was replaced by compatriot Kraigg Brathwaite, who was named captain of a weakened West Indies team, which whitewashed Bangladesh in a two-match series, to win their first Test series on Asian soil in nearly a decade.

Holder, along with nine other first choice players, opted out of the tour the Test and ODI series due to COVID-19 concerns.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief selector, Roger Harper said, “we believe that Kraigg is the right man to lead our Test side at this point in time and I’m delighted to that he has accepted the role.”

Brathwaite has already led West Indies in seven of his 66 Tests and has in the past served as vice-captain to Holder. Only last year ironically, all-rounder Roston Chase replaced Braithwaite as vice-captain for the tour of New Zealand.

But with Chase also skipping the tour of Bangladesh, the selectors resorted to Brathwaite in a last ditch move, only for the appointment to pay dividends.

Holder, one of the youngest ever West Indies Test captains when he was appointed at the age of 23, led West Indies in 35 of his 45 Tests, winning 11, losing 21 and drawing five games.

And while he oversaw the return of the Wisden Trophy to the Caribbean in 2019 after nearly a decade, his position increasingly came under heavy scrutiny especially after the series defeat in England last year and a heavy series loss in New Zealand last December. However, he has been named in the 13-man squad along with Darren Bravo who was recalled to the Test team.

Holder’s removal as Test captain also comes two years after he was axed as one-day skipper, following West Indies’ nightmare run at the ICC World Cup in England when the Caribbean side won two of the nine games to finish one from the bottom in the 10-team tournament.

The 29-year-old is one of the world’s leading Test all-rounders, averaging 32 with the bat and taking 116 wickets at just under 28 apiece.

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