Under the SKanner: Jason Holder
Jason Holder, the man who has prevented West Indies cricket from falling apart in the last few years, has emerged as an effective leader in world cricket. Despite embracing frequent failures, Holder kept faith in his men and finally, this confidence has reaped success in the Headingley Test against England.
Holder emerged in international cricket as a pace bowler who had the potential of keeping things tight for a long duration without running out of steam and over the years, he has developed his batting abilities as well.
Currently, the right-arm bowler spearheads West Indies' bowling department and his runs lower down the order have rescued the team from a crisis situation on most occasions.
The 25-year-old had shown good potential during his early years, and he's living up to his early hype. His probing bowling during the third innings of the Headingley Test kept the game alive for the visitors while his batting is going from strength to strength.
With, Hodler rising as a force to reckon with in international cricket, we analyse his skills and performances.
High arm bowling action
Holder's height is a massive asset as his six feet frame enables him to extract more bounce from the surface. Courtesy of his height, the pace-bowler is able to deceive the batsmen by varying his lengths.
Also, the height factor makes him a bowler for all conditions. He can purchase help from flat surfaces and can trouble the batsmen.
His bowling action is clean, simple and effective. The high-arm bowling action makes complete use of his height and hence enhances his bowling. With that action, there is little strain on his body and he is able to bowl for longer durations.
Stamina and ability to bowl long spells
The West Indies skipper rightly calls himself a 'workhorse'. The pacer can deliver over after over for long durations and he has done that frequently in the past. His stamina and endurance are of the highest standards and hence he is able to torment the batsmen without making any error.
Not a wicket-taker
Holder's strike rate in Tests is 89.4 and he has only 45 wickets in 40 Test innings. With his probing lines and awkward bounce, he is the ideal bowler for keeping one end quiet. However, he isn't a wicket-taking bowler.
Courtesy of his lack of venom, he cannot be used as a frontline bowler in Tests. He is effective as a fourth pacer who builds the pressure.
Holder doesn't possess any magical delivery that can surprise the batsman and bring his downfall. He doesn't have a sensational out-swinger or a yorker or any other ball which can be termed as a 'wicket-taking delivery'.
A batting average of 29.62 doesn't signify the batting skills Holder possesses. Although he bats in the lower order, he has a sound technique that enables him to neutralise the threat of the pacers as well as the spinners without much trouble.
He excels in the waiting game and can wait for the bowler to make the mistake. He is confident about his off-stump and doesn't generally poke at balls that are delivered in the 4th stump channel.
During his maiden hundred against England in 2015, he displayed all these virtues as he batted for 149 balls and came out unscratched.
Troubles against right-arm pace bowling
Out of Holder's 35 dismissals, 17 have arrived against right-arm pacers. The angle created by these bowlers is the reason behind Holder's troubles.
He plays with a dominant bottom hand grip and hence, at times, exposes the chinks in his armour when the right-arm pacers bowl with an angle where the ball moves away after pitching or comes in sharply.
Maturity and immense belief
Leading the West Indies team is arguably the toughest job in cricket at the moment. The rift between players and the administrators is increasing every day and most players in the squad are either inexperienced or have limited skills.
Even then Holder has performed his duties effectively. Instead of complaining about the lack of quality players, he has moved on and has focused on making the most of the available resources.
The fact that he took over the captaincy at the age of 23 reveals how mature he is and his mental strength. Despite facing defeats, he hasn't broken down and instead, is seen motivating his team-mates.
One of the perils of losing consistently is the mental impact it creates. Frequent failures prevent the leader from making bold decisions and it hampers an aggressive mindset.
The same is the case with Holder. His captaincy on most occasions is defensive. Very rarely does he go for a bold move or set up an attacking field. When things are not going according to his plan, his strategy is to wait for the opposition to make a mistake.
This attitude reduces winning chances and hence, the West Indies captain must be a little more proactive with his game plan and strategies.