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Jason Holder — cricket messiah?
On Sunday afternoon at the Queen’s Park Oval, I joined the celebrations with ecstatic cricket fans in the aftermath of the West Indies’ convincing victory over the Sri Lankans by 226 runs.
Large crowds including myself, gathered near the entrance of the players’ pavilion as the two teams headed for their respective coaches.
I witnessed hugs, high-fives, handshakes, shout-outs to captain Jason Holder—fans of every creed and colour were embracing each other—scenes reminiscent of the glory days.
I offered my personal congratulations to Holder, who was very gracious in his reply. I had a quick conversation with leg-spinner Bishoo, who contributed strongly with both bat and ball. Bishoo was receiving messages constantly on his phone, including one from the legend Shiv Chanderpaul.
Prior to the start of the match, less than twenty people outside the Oval were calling for “boycott.” The former England test opener (Geoff) Boycott retired in 1982.
In his recent book Cricket Without A Cause, UWI historian Sir Hilary Beckles writes: “The perception that (Jason) Holder is a John the Baptist, ‘lost’ in the wilderness, is misplaced. He is keenly aware of where he stands and the direction of his destiny. He stands against the notion of West Indian helplessness and the pathetic parade of condescending journalism...he is the latest model long perfected by the likes of Worrell, Sobers, Lloyd and Richards...”
Can Holder turn the tide with his young brigade? For far too long, West Indies test cricket has been in the doldrums. West Indies have occupied the cellar position in the world rankings for several years.
One can argue until doomsday the causes and reasons of the West Indies downfall since 1995. The gulf between the West Indies test team and the big guns (South Africa, Australia, India, England) remain far and wide. Perhaps a new dawn beckons under the leadership of Holder—let us wait and see.
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