Barbados Tridents Confident Of Defending CPL Title - Jason Holder
West Indies’ One-Day International captain Jason Holder, who represents Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League, is upbeat about his side’s chances of defending the title this year.
Speaking to Cricket World, Holder was well aware of the pressure and challenges that the defending champions are likely to face in the tournament but appeared unfazed about it.
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s competition,” said Holder.
“It’s going to be a challenge to defend the title this year as lot of teams will be looking to take it from us.
“Pretty much up for the challenge and I’m sure all of my teammates are as well.
“I hope we can do well in the series against Australia and then move into the CPL.”
Holder seems to be enjoying the experience of playing under former West Indies legend Desmond Haynes who is the mentor of the Barbados Tridents side.
Hailing the great man’s knowledge about the game, Holder expressed his gratitude to Haynes for all the help provided in different aspects of cricket.
“It’s an honour to rub shoulders with a legend like him (Haynes).
“He has a wealth of experience and knows the game well inside out.
“So, to spend time with him is great.
“He helps so much in terms of personal development.
“He knows what’s required to be successful and it’s helped me a lot.”
The CPL has blended the overseas and local players in a fair manner which has really impressed Holder in a big way.
The 23-year-old attributed the league’s stupendous success to this factor which also helps to raise viewership.
Speaking from his own personal point of view, Holder explains how communicating with foreign stars has helped his game.
“You have many international players coming in and mingling with the local players.
“That’s the beauty of the Caribbean Premier League and why it’s got so much acceptance.
“The youngsters get to learn so much from the greats of the game.
“Had the privilege to play with Shoaib Malik, there was Jeevan Mendis last year and Shakib Al Hasan.
“These guys are all known names in international cricket.
“So to be with them and understand their game was an experience.
“To play with or against them was a special feeling.”
With the CPL being hosted all over the Caribbean region, Holder admits the boost he gets with home games.
Holder opined that the feeling of playing at home always enabled him to raise his game by a notch during any game.
“Playing in front of your home ground is a great feeling.
“It drives and motivates you to do well.”
Holder was extremely pleased with West Indies’ performance in the Test series against England at home which ended level at 1-1.
The young pacer was all praise for his team’s resilience after having lost the second Test due to one bad session.
“We are very pleased with the result.
“The second Test was heartbreaking for us when that James Anderson spell came about.
“We had worked so hard in that game and so it was disappointing.
“But to come back the way we did at Barbados was special.
“We not only beat them but did it in three days.”
Although known for his bowling mostly, Holder is no mug with the bat as he proved in the first Test in Antigua when he compiled a match-saving century on the final day.
Reflecting on the achievement - his maiden ton - Holder said he was happy at being able to contribute to the team’s cause in a crisis situation.
“It was a very special moment.
“It has to be one of my best moments in international cricket.
“Obviously my maiden Test hundred but the fact that it came against England when odds were in their favor was great.
“It felt good that we could deny them a win and draw the game.”
Holder added that the draw in Antigua acted as an inspiration for the West Indies side for the remainder of the series.
With England seemingly poised to win the game, Holder feels that salvaging a draw was a psychological advantage gained by West Indies.
“I did feel that the draw was as motivating like a win.
“England thought they had the game done but we clawed back well to save the game.
“It was good that we managed to hold on to the draw.”
Holder admits the ride in ODIs has been bumpy after he was unexpectedly handed the captaincy last year in charge of a largely inexperienced team.
However, the pacer is a man of strong character and is confident about pulling his team towards the right path.
Holder feels that his leadership experiences in lower levels of cricket has helped him to get comfortable with the big role quickly.
“It’s been a steep learning curve for me.
“I haven’t had much experience in leadership in international cricket and the team also has many young players.
“But I’ve led U-19 Barbados teams and so I have done leadership roles before.
“The series against South Africa before the tournament helped me in getting an idea of my squad.”
Holder was also generous in his praise for new coach Phil Simmons who took over the role after the World Cup this year.
Although West Indies are yet to play an ODI after Simmons’ appointment as coach, Holder reveals that he has already had some talks on future strategies with the former all-rounder.
“Our new coach Phil Simmons has had a clear discussion with me and we’ve had talks on how to move forward on the right path.”
While most cricketers come into international cricket at his age, Holder is already captain of the ODI team and he is aware of the huge responsibility he carries.
“It’s a great honor to lead the side.
“To lead a young side at the age of 23 is like a dream come true for me.”
Jason Holder will be playing for the Barbados Tridents in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League. The Biggest Party in Sport runs from 20th June to 26th July
© Cricket World 2015