Jason Holder, the newly appointed captain of the Barbados Tridents for the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), has had an interesting few months with the Windies team. The Test and ODI skipper took his team to England before heading off to Zimbabwe where he led his side to a spot at the 2019 World Cup. Holder says getting to the World Cup was very pleasing.
“It’s great news,” Holder said. “Obviously, first time having to play in a World Cup qualifier and for the boys to take on the pressure as they did and perform the way they did is remarkable and incredible. It’s just a matter for us to keep building. I think we’ve got about four or five series before the actual World Cup so we’ve got enough time to formulate and finalise combinations,so it should be an interesting time this year.”
Holder says he thinks that the Hero CPL will play its part in the build-up to the World Cup, even though the games will be in a different format.
“I think CPL plays a huge part, it gives guys an opportunity, albeit it’s the T20 format. Hopefully the guys can gather some confidence, gather some form, be seen on an international stage as well. And most people who perform on an international stage tend to gather confidence from it and take it as deep as possible into their careers. So I’m really pleased that the majority of our guys are involved in the CPL and hopefully it can put them in a better stead.”
It isn’t just those in the Windies squad that Holder feels can benefit from the CPL, he also believes it plays an important part in player development across the region.
“I think CPL plays a significant part, particularly for the youngsters coming up. I think it’s great they allow Associate players, obviously under 19 and under 20 players to get involved to be amongst international stars, guys from around the world and probably household names in every aspect of the game. So it’s great to have youngsters mingling with some of the more experienced heads and I think it does a lot for them personally in their development. And obviously you’ve got more experienced players who have been around for a long time, giving them the opportunity to actually play some cricket and be seen on an international stage.”
The Hero CPL can also be a springboard for further success. For example, Evin Lewis has used the CPL as a springboard to international recognition and success in other T20 leagues around the world, like the Indian Premier League.
“I think a lot of players see it that way. Evin is just a prime example of taking an opportunity. He got an opportunity to showcase what he can do. Fortunately for him, he took it on and not only did it in CPL but transferred it on to the international circuit in the T20 format as well. He’s obviously had some success as well in one-day cricket, but I think that all boils down to having the opportunity to play international cricket against international opposition in terms of the CPL.
“I think it’s a wonderful advert for us! You look at the IPL and see how India’s cricket has transformed since the initiation of the IPL, I think that’s merely down to the fact of young, budding Indian stars being able to mingle with international greats. I think likewise the CPL concept is pretty much similar and I think hopefully if CPL continues to grow we should be moving back in the right direction.”
Holder is delighted to be given the job of leading his home team in the Hero CPL, although he admits to being a little apprehensive by the task ahead.
“Well, it feels great! Firstly to come back home to play for the Barbados Tridents. I haven’t played CPL cricket for two years now and I guess I’ve been a bit daunted by it. To have this opportunity this year, not having to play international cricket and having that clashing with CPL, it's a pleasing feeling for me. And it’ll be my first time leading in T20 cricket and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I think it’s something that will help improve my captaincy on a whole and leadership. So it will be good to mingle with guys like Hashim Amla and Martin Guptill. We’ve got overseas stars that will lend their experience and help me along the way as well so I’m really looking forward to that and hopefully Barbados Tridents could again be very, very successful in the CPL.”
More than anything else, Holder wants to make his fellow countrymen proud. He wants them to come out and support the local team which has nine Barbadians in the squad.
“I think their support is key. They’ve been very great over the few years that we’ve had CPL and I just want to encourage them to come out and keep supporting the Barbados Tridents. We’ve got five home games this year and normally the atmosphere at Kensington is pretty electrifying so hopefully you guys can come on out and support us and just back us one hundred percent. It’ll be a great tournament, I think the teams are closely matched on paper and you know I’m really looking forward to getting deep in to the tournament and making Barbados proud.”