LCPLt20 Jason Holder stepping in the right direction

Having already tasted the limelight of the international stage, fast bowler Jason Holder is eyeing the Caribbean Premier League t20 as yet another chance to make his mark in world cricket and continue his swift rise to recognition.

Standing six feet, seven inches, the 21-year-old cuts an imposing figure and is likely to be just as intimidating when he turns out for Barbados Tridents, after being picked up by the Desmond Haynes-coached franchise in the highly publicised player draft.

While Holder has played only two One-Day Internationals for West Indies, he has already been picked for three international tours, the most recent being the ICC Champions Trophy in England, and said he is thrilled with what he has accomplished so far.

“I am very pleased with the way my career has been progressing. Obviously I have been propelled for the last few months into the IPL and the West Indies team so I have really been enjoying it and enjoying my development,” said Holder.

“It was always my goal to be here, at least making strides into the West Indies team around this age. I thought it would have taken longer [judging by the strength] of our West Indies team but I am obviously pretty excited to be in the team at this present time and I just want to stay in [the team].”

Holder made his first class debut back in 2009 as a 17-year-old and has not looked back since, representing the West Indies Under-19s at the Youth World Cup in New Zealand a year later before gaining a surprise call-up to the Windies senior team in 2012 as an injury replacement for fast bowler Tino Best on the limited overs tour of Bangladesh.

And though he failed to land a game on that tour, he was again selected for the Windies limited overs trip down under earlier this year, where he finally made a much awaited international debut.

“Though it was my first game I honestly wasn’t that nervous which was surprising. I thought I coped with the pressure quite well. Obviously I had done the hard work to get there. I just tried to soak up the moment as best I possibly could and enjoy it,” Holder recalled. “It was just unfortunate that I didn’t get to play a few more games but I know if I keep doing the right things I will have a long lasting career.”

Jason Holder2What followed the Australia tour was definitely a shock for the right-arm pacer. He was snapped up by Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings and packed his bags for the Asian subcontinent.

He played six matches and grabbed only two wickets, but still managed to get the attention of pundits with his steep bounce and sharpness. He said the outing was about gaining valuable experience, especially at his young age.

“It was a surprise after having only one tour with the West Indies team but I guess my name was out there or thereabouts from Under-19 cricket,” Holder explained.

“Then getting the opportunity – it wasn’t a huge contract – but for me it was just about gaining the experience and mingling with the international stars which was a wonderful experience for me.

“It was an experience, a serious experience. Playing in front of thousands of people shouting your name and just cheering you on, it was something to really soak in, something to really relish at this stage. For me it was quite pleasing for us to get to the finals and having played a part in it. It was fitting for me for my first season.”

With the tour of Australia and the IPL in his rear view mirror, Holder has now set his sights on dominating the Caribbean Premier League which bowls off across the region in six countries from July 30 to August 24.

He believes that the experience gained over the last year will augur well when he turns out for the Barbados Tridents.

“I am very excited about the CPL. I think it is a great initiative mixing the local players with some international stars. I think the teams are very evenly balanced so it should be very interesting to see what transpires in the next few months,” Holder said enthusiastically.

“I definitely think the IPL has prepared me for the CPL. I have gained a lot of knowledge over the past few months with these players in the IPL, and just playing against a lot of players. I have had a lot of conversations with various international players around the world – even at the Champions Trophy – so I think I have broadened my knowledge in terms of how to react in certain situations so it’s just about executing it in the game.”

Holder says he intends to dominate in the CPLt20.

“I think I am capable of doing it. It’s just about me being focussed and executing my plans in whatever game I play. I’ve got to wait to see the make up of the side but I am confident that I can probably start in the side and give my best for the team.”

An added fillip for Holder is the involvement of Haynes, the legendary former West Indies opener, in the management set up of the Barbados Tridents – a partnership he believes will be a successful one.

“I have worked with Desmond Haynes before. He has managed me in the Barbados team in the past,” said Holder. “I have a lot of respect for him and we’ve had a lot of conversations about cricket and life in general. I find he has been one person you can always turn to for advice so I am looking forward to building my relationship with him as well and working with the other members of the management staff.”

The Barbados Tridents are led by franchise players Kieron Pollard and Shoaib Malik who will play alongside Dwayne Smith, Shakib al Hasan, Umar Akmal, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Rayad Emrit, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Kyle Mayers, Devendra Bishoo, Kirk Edwards and Raymon Reifer.

Following the opening ceremony on July 30, the Barbados Tridents will face the St Lucia Zouks in the tournament’s first game at the historic Kensington Oval.

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James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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