Jason Holder earned widespread praise in the UK last summer after leading the first international cricket tour during the Covid-19 pandemic. But the all-rounder has now been stood down as Test captain of West Indies and replaced by Kraigg Brathwaite.
Holder, 29, was one of 10 West Indies players who opted out of a tour of Bangladesh last month because of Covid-related concerns, only for Brathwaite, his vice-captain and fellow Bajan, to then steward the understrength side to a famous 2-0 away victory.
That campaign, one sparked by the debutant Kyle Mayers compiling a match-winning 210 not out in the first Test in Chittagong, has prompted Cricket West Indies to opt for a permanent change of leadership, ending Holder’s five and a half years in the job.
Roger Harper, lead selector for West Indies, said: “We all believe that Kraigg is the right man to lead our Test side at this point in time and I’m delighted that he has accepted the role. In the recent Test series against Bangladesh, Kraigg was able to motivate his players to play to a very high level and create the culture we are looking to establish where the team showed a collective determination to fight and a real hunger for success.”
After being appointed as the youngest captain of West Indies back in 2015, aged 23 and with just eight caps to his name by that stage, Holder led the team to 11 wins and 21 defeats during his 37 Tests in charge. A 2-1 defeat of England in the Caribbean in early 2019 was arguably the highlight of his four series victories.
This was dwarfed in the eyes of many by the return series last year, however, when Holder brought his West Indies side over to England for the first Test cricket played in a biosecure environment despite financial constraints seeing the players forced to take a 50% pay cut on their central contracts.
Though they eventually lost the series 2-1, West Indies won the opener in Southampton thanks to Holder’s figures of six for 42 in the first innings, while the all-rounder – ranked No 1 in the world currently – also spoke with calm authority as the two sides marked the global Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee before matches.
Braithwate, the 28-year-old opener who is not part of the white-ball side captained by Kieron Pollard, begins his new permanent role with a two-Test series against Sri Lanka in Antigua from 21 March.