Tag Archives: Jason Holder

Do the Windies have new hope?

On the eve of the first Test in England’s latest tour of the Caribbean, what hope do the West Indies have of upsetting the odds? 

The hosts are currently a lowly eighth in the ICC test rankings, only ahead of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and coming off dreadful tours to Bangladesh and India, where they didn’t win a single Test match.

Logically, it is extremely difficult to see how this group of players could get the better of the third-best Test cricket nation in the world. And yet…

Windies Test squad: Jason Holder (capt), Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican, Oshane Thomas (cover for Joseph)

Despite poor form on their travels, the Windies have a much better record playing on home soil, and didn’t lose a series in Caribbean conditions last year.

In their most recent Test series against England last summer, they lost 2-1, but their victory included a great performance on the last day of the second match, when they chased over 300 runs to triumph at Headingley.

Despite England being big favourites to win this latest series, they do not have a great record in the Caribbean.

England have won three of the last five Test series against the Windies, the last coming in 2017. However, they hadn’t won in the Caribbean since 2004 prior to that, with the last two series’ against the hosts ending in a draw and a defeat.

However, if you are looking at the hosts’ squad, it is very difficult to see where the danger for England lies, with all of the Windies’ world stars missing.

In with the new

Kemar Roach (left) and Shannon Gabriel

The Windies have invested their hopes in youth for this series, with the average age of the squad just 26. The oldest player is Shannon Gabriel, 30, and four players feature from the team who won the Under-19s World Cup in 2016.

One of the biggest issues the West Indies have had in the past year is their top order’s lack of scoring, which has resulted in the dropping of Devon Smith and Kieron Powell.

Three players could possibly be making their debut sometime during this series. Both John Campbell and Shamarh Brooks will be relishing the opportunity to show they deserve places in the team and could potentially resolve its lack of runs at the top of the order.

However, with them both averaging under 35 and with only nine first-class 100s between them, they may not make a big difference to the Windies batting.

The hosts’ biggest threat to England is with the ball, because the Windies have finally found a combination that works well.

Respect

If any is to be their salvation, it is likely to be Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and skipper Jason Holder.

Whilst the trio are far from the kind of fearsome Windies bowling attack that dominated Test cricket during the 70s, 80s and into 90s, their figures in 2018 will get any batsman’s respect and attention.

Roach and Gabriel both had an average of under 13 in the Caribbean last year, with Gabriel taking 33 wickets in seven matches, becoming one of three West Indians to take 13 wickets in a match, when he single-handedly bowled out Sri Lanka.

Gabriel will be by far the fastest bowler on show during the series, having the fifth fastest average speed in the world.

Holder averaged 15 at home last year, and the Windies captain’s bowling has improved considerably in recent times. In the last two Test series, he picked up three five-wicket hauls and took 28 in total, which led to him being named in the ICC Test Team of the Year.

The Windies seam bowling, by anyone’s standards, is extremely successful and can compete with any Test nation worldwide.

New talent

Oshane Thomas is rising star for the Windies

Another player who maybe looking to make his debut and add to an already-established attack, is one of the most exciting prospects in world cricket

Oshane Thomas is a right-hand fast bowler who is in the squad as cover for Alzarri Joseph. The Jamaican has become the youngest West Indian to be signed by an IPL franchise, joining the Rajastan Royals’ 2019 squad.

The hot prospect’s average bowling speeds were the fastest by any paceman worldwide in 2018; his 6 ft 3in muscular frame allows him to bowl in the mid-90s comfortably.

At the age of 21, he made his international debut against India in a T20 contest, and has become a fan favorite due to his strong performances in the Caribbean Premier League.

Watching this young talent fire them down makes you extremely happy that you’re not at the other end facing his deliveries, and conjures up memories of the likes of Michael holding and Andy Roberts.

Windies batting woes

Despite the Windies confidence with the ball, you can’t win a Test match without making runs, especially not against the best bowler in the world, James Anderson.

Despite the great skill and class displayed by Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite in the last series against England in 2016, they both have struggled to make runs in the longest form of the game.

Hope has failed to score a test hundred since the two he scored at Headingley, and Brathwaite has been in terrible form, averaging six runs in his last eight innings and only making over 10 runs twice.

But despite their lack of runs, the West Indies have regained fresh hope in the return of Darren Bravo.

Bravo is back

Darren Bravo cover drives against England

The selection of the Trinidadian to face England could be key for the hosts. He still has the highest batting figures in Test cricket of any current West Indian batsman, averaging 40.

Bravo, 29, has five scores over 150 and two double hundreds in his eight centuries. He also top scored the last time he came up against England, making 82 to level the series 1-1 in 2015.

Despite his clear superiority over every other Windies batsmen, he hasn’t played a Test since 2016 due to a contractual dispute. The left-hander’s batting will add a great deal of strength to the Windies line-up and therefore give balance to their team.

England are clear favourites in this upcoming series, however they were clearer favourites last time in the Caribbean in 2017 and just edged a series win.

Maybe the Caribbean conditions and a youthful, rejuvenated West Indian team will provide a tougher task this time around.

Windies likely XI: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Darren Bravo, Shai hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase,  Shane Dowrich,  Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.

England’s cricketers begin 2019 In the Caribbean

After completing a first Test series win in Sri Lanka in 17 years, England will look to build on their progress and begin 2019 with victory in the Caribbean.

This will be the 14th time England have toured the West Indies, and for many years the hosts had the upper hand.

However, most of their series victories came during the 1970s and 1980s, when their legion of fearsome fast bowlers featured the likes of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Malcolm Marshall.

But from 1995, the wheel of dominance shifted more towards England.  The  main reason for this is that the West Indies have struggled to find a group of players who could possibly come close to replicating the success of those past teams.

Other than Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, there hasn’t been any batsman or bowler who has really made a name for themselves in all three formats, but especially in Test cricket which is still regarded as the pinnacle, despite the rise of Twenty20.

The West Indies cause also hasn’t been helped by a drift away from cricket among young people in the Caribbean, plus numerous instances of squabbling and strife between the players and their board in recent years.

England’s last Test series in the Caribbean was in April/May 2015 when the sides shared The Wisden Trophy with a 1-1 drawn series. Denesh Ramdin and Alistair Cook were the respective captains.

Test Captains  

Jason Holder

The captain of both the West Indies Test and one-day teams, the Jamaican all-rounder will lead out his side for the 28th time. Under Holder, the hosts have won just seven out of their last 27 Tests. This includes 15 defeats and five draws.

Holder replaced wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin as Test skipper in 2015, and his first series in charge was in Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, where the West Indies lost both games in a two-match series. The West Indies are currently a lowly eighth in the Test rankings, ahead of only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

However, there were signs for renewed optimism during their tour of England in 2017, when Holder and his side managed to achieve a dramatic five-wicket victory in the second Test at Headingley, with Barbadian Shai Hope scoring a century in both innings.

Holder, 27, also took over the captaincy of the ODI team from Dwayne Bravo after the Trinidadian was sacked as after six games due to a poor run of results.

Joe Root      

The England Test skipper had a 2018 remember. After being mauled in Australia and New Zealand, Root and England came back with a bang by winning the second Test against Pakistan followed by a 4-1 home series win last summer against top-ranked Test side India.

Root also guided England to their first-ever Test series victory in Sri Lanka last autumn. Can he lead his side to back-to-back series victories away from home in the Caribbean?

T20 Captains:

Carlos Brathwaite

Since the 2016 T20 World Cup in India, Carlos Brathwaite has made a name for himself in West Indian cricket. Brathwaite who helped his team cross the finishing line in the World T20 final was named captain after Darren Sammy’s departure in 2016.

The Jamaican all-rounder began his International captaincy career in a two-match T20 series against India in Florida, 2016 where his side took a 1-0 series victory following a washout in the second game.

The upcoming series against England could prove to be a tough nut to crack, can Brathwaite and the West Indies provide a steep test for England?

Eoin Morgan  

Middlesex’s Eoin Morgan will be in charge of England’s limited overs series in the West Indies.  Morgan took over the role following Alistair Cook’s withdrawal from captaincy in the one-day format in 2014.

He led England to the 2015 World Cup, where they were stunned by Bangladesh in a 15-run loss in a Pool A match which ultimately knocked them out of the tournament.

The stylish left-handed batsman also led England to the final of the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup in India, where they lost to the West Indies courtesy of Brathwaite’s four sixes in the penultimate over.

England form in white ball cricket has been quite impressive in the past two seasons, with series wins against New Zealand, Australia, India and Sri Lanka. Can Morgan lead his team to another successful one-day series?

One To Watch: Olly Stone

Warwickshire’s right-arm paceman Olly Stone, 25, made his ODI debut in Sri Lanka last autumn, but a rain-affected series meant he was only able to show glimpses of his talent.

As far as his performances in county cricket go, Stone picked up an eight-wicket hall in the first innings of a match against Sussex in April 2018.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Match

15-18th Jan: three-day warm-up game vs WI Board, Three WS Oval, Barbados     Local Time:10:00    GMT: 14:00

Test Series

23-27th  Jan: 1st Test, Kensington Oval, Barbados     Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

31stJan -4th Fab: 2nd Test, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua      Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

9-13th Feb: 3rd Test,  Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia      Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

Tour Match

17 February: One- day warm up game vs Vice Chancellor’s XI, Three WS Oval, Barbados      Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

One-Day Series

20th February: 1st ODI,  Kensington Oval      Local Time: 11:00     GMT: 15:00

22nd February: 2nd ODI, Kensington Oval     Local Time: 11:00     GMT: 15:00

25th February: 3rd ODI, National Stadium, Grenada     Local Time: 09:30    GMT: 13:30

27th February: 4th ODI,  National Stadium     Local Time: 09:30    GMT: 13:30

2nd March 2019 5th ODI, Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia     Local Time: 11:00   GMT: 15:00

T20 Series 

5th March: 1st T20,  Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia   Local Time: 16:00  GMT: 20:00

8th March: 2nd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis     Local Time: 16:00  GMT: 20:00

10th March: 3rd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis    Local Time: 16:00  GMT: 20:00

Squads

England have announced their squads for the Test and One-Day Series:

Test squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire) (captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Jack Leach (Somerset), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) (captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Tom Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)