Holder rested for Ireland ODIs

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File: Jason Holder shares a laugh with Roston Chase (Associated Press)

(CMC) Former One-Day International (ODI) Captain Jason Holder has been rested for the first two ODIs of the three-match series against Ireland starting next week, as selectors move to manage his “heavy workload”.

The fast bowling all-rounder is the only change to the Kieron Pollard-led squad which went down to India last month on the subcontinent, and chief selector Roger Harper said yesterday Holder’s engagement in all three formats meant it was important he was afforded the opportunity “to recharge his batteries”.

“The decision was taken to rest Jason due to the heavy workload he has had over the last year,” Harper explained.

“With an important year ahead for West Indies cricket, we saw this as the best opportunity to give him a break to recharge his batteries and refresh his mind so he could be ready to perform at his best as our Test captain throughout 2020, as the number one ranked all-rounder in Test cricket and an important member of the team in the white-ball formats.”

Holder led West Indies in ODIs for 4 ½ years but was sacked following the series defeat to India in the Caribbean last August, which came in the wake of the Windies dismal campaign at the World Cup earlier in the year.

He retained his spot in the side and also forced his way into the Twenty20 squad, after presiding over Barbados Tridents’ capture of the Caribbean Premier League title last October.

The 28-year-old has continued in charge of the Test side and has emerged as the world’s leading all-rounder in the format, where he averages 32 with the bat and 26 with the ball.

Last year, Holder played five of West Indies’ six Tests, 27 of his side’s 28 ODIs and nine of their 12 T20s.

Meanwhile, selectors have resisted the temptation to make changes and have kept faith with the remainder of the squad despite the recent series loss to India which marked their 10th straight series defeat to the subcontinental powerhouses.

There was no recall for left-handers Darren Bravo nor Kieran Powell in spite of their heavy scoring in last November’s regional Super50, with fast bowler Oshane Thomas also overlooked despite his 17 wickets for Jamaica.

Harper said despite the recent result against India, the Windies had exhibited qualities which suggested that improvements were being made.

“The Afghanistan and Indian series told me that the team is making very positive strides,” he pointed out.

“Winning the ODIs against Afghanistan, our first ODI series win for five years, followed by the very competitive performance against India is testament to that. The team demonstrated a determination to compete and gave it every effort.

“Against India the batting was consistent and while the bowling had its moments, it is clear that we have to improve our ‘death’ bowling. However, the fact that the team played in such an organised and competitive manner consistently augurs well going forward.”

West Indies will face an Ireland side which has beaten them only once in 10 meetings, but Harper labelled the series a “must win”.

“This series against Ireland offers us the opportunity to build on the performances in India, build confidence as a team and for individual players,” he stressed.

“Just like the series against Afghanistan, the Ireland series is an important one for us, one we must win.”

SQUAD – Kieron Pollard (captain), Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr