Sunday, March 22, 2015

In Support of Jason Holder

The rise of current West Indies captain Jason Holder has drawn much attention from the cricketing fraternity. Commentators, sports journalists, coaches and analysts have all had their say on the new man at the helm of the West Indies One Day team.  

Following the fiasco of the abandoned Indian tour Holder was selected to replace Dwayne Bravo who was evidently punished for leading the rebellion against the West Indies Cricket Board. Not only was Bravo axed as the One Day/Limited Overs captain, but he was also overlooked for the current World Cup.

Many questioned the appointment of Holder, a player who did not cement his place in the team if one is to compare him with fellow Barbadian pacer Kemar Roach.  What was even more intriguing was that Holder’s first assignment came against the best team in the world at the time. The South African tour was indeed a baptism of fire for the One Day captain who managed a consolation victory losing the series 4-1.

Shining through defeat and disappointment however is Holder’s resolve in the face of adversity. At only age twenty-three years old Jason Holder is carrying the weight of the Caribbean on his shoulders. He has had to contend with the tragedy of the West Indies Cricket Board whose leadership has been the butt of cricket jokes in international cricket. Holder has also dealt with internal disputes and poor team performances. Furthermore it is never easy to take charge of a unit with a former leader or leaders. The political developments of the Barbadian Opposition over the past five years are testament to this fact. Holder has no fewer than three past captains including Darren Sammy, Chris Gayle and Denish Ramdin.

The problem with the West Indies cricket team is not a shortage of talent. One of Holder’s greatest task is to get his team to recognise the importance of their jobs to maintaining Caribbean pride and unity. We must spare a thought for Holder as he deals with individuals who possess grossly inflated egos, who sporadically use their cerebral capabilities, who are more focused on sporting gold chains, flashing their duty free sports cars and publishing their night club exploits on social media.    

What Holder's captaincy emphasises is the necessity of investing in and developing the leadership potential of our young people. Barbados in particular is philosophically opposed to embracing the leadership of young people whether it be in business, politics or sports. There is always caution to ‘wait your turn’ despite the fact that many young people have proven their worth and demonstrated immense potential. One must therefore commend chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd for having the foresight of appointing Holder as captain. While some critics have been scathing of the move, Lloyd along with those involved in Holder’s development have spoken about the diligent attitude he has developed over the years. An attitude which clearly has not gone unnoticed.

Indeed Holder is talented but he has demonstrated that talent alone does not make one successful. Hard work, a willingness to reflect and learn from one’s mistakes, to listen to sound advice and to think critically are key ingredients in the path to success. During their must win World Cup fixture against the United Arab Emirates team, one of the analyst positively commented on Holder’s impeccable work ethic in the nets. That hard work resulted in a win for the West Indies and Holder copping the man of the match award.

Holder’s ability to filter criticism, to act on what is constructive and to dismiss negativity must be commended. His ability to overcome harsh and potentially embarrassing defeats and yet speak optimistically, truthfully and firmly about his team are indicators of a man who is well on his way to achieving great things.

The age old debate about leaders being born is all but settled. From my perspective I am yet to come across any scientific study identifying a gene so designated as the leadership gene. Leaders emerge in circumstances where the sum of the individual’s experiences, the individuals and institutions which impact him or her and personal commitment to self-development meet opportunities.

Other young people aiming to achieve success would do well to take note of Jason Holder’s approach and commitment. As Barbadians we must give him our full support and encouragement. We need to focus on developing more youth of Holder’s ilk if we are to rectify the paucity of leadership currently impacting local and regional institutions, the WICB being foremost among them.   

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