LONDON: There’s no more Mr Nice Guy from West Indies skipper Jason Holder as he plots to lead his country to glory at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. Holder became the youngest captain in West Indiies history when replacing Dwayne Bravo for ODIs in early 2015, aged just 23 years and 72 days.
He led the Caribbean nation to the quarter-finals of that year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup but admits that the early days of his leadership saw him battle the reputation that he was too nice to make the tough decisions that come with captaincy.
“I probably was too nice as captain at first and it definitely was a different dynamic for me personally having to take on that role,” explained Holder. “It’s something I’ve worked on and I’m happy with where I am now. We’re all excited for this tournament and we want it to start tomorrow. I’m pretty happy with my squad as a whole, so hopefully we can play well and enjoy ourselves.”
Holder was speaking at the official captain’s media launch in east London, where all ten skippers gathered just seven days before the competition gets underway. West Indies won the first two editions of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, both held in England, in 1975 and 1979 but have suffered a 40-year drought since.
If Holder’s side are to end that wait, they will need to come through a group stage where they face every other country once, before a semi-final and final, and the all-rounder is relishing the new format. “You only had five or six games previously, with a few more if you made the knockout stages,” he added. “So it’s exciting to play every other team this time. You’ll have to work hard to win the World Cup by playing every other team – it’s the top ten in world but you want to play all the other nine to give yourself a chance. We’re taking it one game at a time – it’s a pretty level playing field and cricket is a game played on the day. Everyone is up to the task and knows what standard the competition is, so it comes down to who plays better on the day. When the schedule came out, we didn’t look for one fixture in particular – we just looked at the first half of our schedule and turned our focus to the first few games.”