The most recent ODI that Jason Holder played wasn’t that long back; on July 27, 2022 he ended with figures of six overs for 43 with no wickets against India. The blank wicket column didn’t hurt as bad as the economy; as the most experienced West Indies bowler, one who’s captained the side back in the day (and persevered), the senior figure emerged with returns of seven an over, a sparse improvement when you consider Kyle Mayers’ bowling economy of eight, which came at the back of bowling a solitary over.
Not that the performances in the T20I’s against the same opponent were any better. Where the fourth and fifth T20I’s were concerned, Jason Holder recorded figures of four overs for 33 runs without any wicket and four overs for 38 runs with 1 wicket, respectively.
For a man whose talent is as imposing as his physical frame, these aren’t figures Jason Holder would be any proud of.
He is, lest it is forgotten, a proven matchwinner; his 5 for 27 in the fifth and final T20 international against England earlier this year sealed the series in Windies’ favour. To add sugar cake on top of that very endearing achievement, Jason Holder claimed four wickets in as many deliveries to send the Kensington Oval crowd into a tizzy.
He was, on January 31, 2022, the sweetest thing about the tropical paradise called Barbados.
And yet, there’s often this sense of unfulfillment vis-a-vis massive potential that punctuates the career of one of the finest West Indies cricketers. It’s almost as if a race car driver set out to win a Grand Prix comes to a winding halt a few laps before the finish line.
The classic case of massive potential not really meeting the consistent rewards it merits.
In the ODI’s held in India, earlier this year, Jason Holder started with a bang, scoring 57 precious runs of his team’s 176 in yet another pitiable West Indies performance. The end result was a whacking delivered to brutal effect to the visitors.
Yet, what stood out was the fact that in a contest where Brooks, King, Bravo and none other than Shai Hope himself collectively made 51 runs, Holder alone contributed fifty seven.
But there again, scores of 2 off ten deliveries in the second contest, followed by a six off twelve in thereafter dulled what had been a very fine start with the bat.
Interestingly, Jason Holder the bowler was ‘at it,’ claiming a highly underrated but vital 4 for 34 in the third ODI, which the West Indies lost by ninety six runs.
The team’s collective failure notwithstanding, Jason Holder was doing his job wherever he could.
And maybe that’s the thing that the 30-year-old would like to change straightaway; to make up with ball for the failures of the bat and where seen in many instances, an exact role reversal.
History is kind to those who win but also to those who persist. Jason Holder is a man of his word. The one who gladly accepted the challenge of reversing Windies’ fortunes despite knowing what what he was going to wear was a crown of thorns.
But he stuck to his task and reached serene heights as captain when he hit that very dutiful double hundred against England of all sides in a mammoth victory at Bridgetown back in the day. The local hero became the talk of the West Indies cricket at that moment.
Jason Holder needn’t prove anyone that he can persist; his 2019 Barbados effort saw him occupy the crease for 343 minutes with a good friend and what seemed a real find for Windies Test cricket, Shane Dowrich (116 not out) holding the fort at the other end.
Yet, when Holder has the makings to be an all-time great, where is it and why’s it that he fails to convert the big into something mammoth?
The graceful right-hander known for his penchant to step out to the spinners has a batting average of 24 and a bowling average touching forty in ODI’s despite appearing in 128 outings.
It’s much like that rainfall that somehow refuses to become the river despite there being an urgent need for monsoons. For what else do the West Indies need other than a skilled, senior member converting obvious talent into matchwinning performances on a consistent basis?
Yet, that Jason Holder, despite being around in the white-ball format since 2014 hasn’t yet peaked is borderline depressing and somewhat catastrophic. The West Indies need more from the likes of Kemar Roach, Jason Holder and Shai Hope, a fabulous trinity that goes often beyond the call of duty to preserve the waning interest in a side that once was glorious and one that continues to impress, if only in random patches.
Jason Holder is already an all-rounder in a game where being a genuine one inspires envy. Yet, how is it that he departs often too shabbily despite being well set and fails to bowl to a plan appearing somewhat lazy a question no detective agency anywhere, whether in Lara’s Trinidad, king Richards’ Antigua or Holder’s own Barbados can solve.
And truth be told, none ever may!
For as the enlightened one Buddha says, no one but ourselves can-and must- show the path. Will Holder rise to the occasion in the ODI’s beginning against New Zealand today?
Here’s why he must.
Jason Holder’s ODI record vs New Zealand
|Matches||Wickets||Best bowling||Bowl avg||Eco|
Jason Holder’s overall ODI record
|Matches||Wickets||Best bowling||Bowl avg||Eco|
|128||146||5 for 27 (v India)||37.3||5.55|