July 7, 2020 / 6:16 PM / a month ago

Windies skipper Holder not interested in personal accolades

LONDON (Reuters) - West Indies skipper Jason Holder says he is not interested in personal accolades ahead of the first test against England starting on Wednesday despite it being billed as a clash between the world’s best two all rounders.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - Sri Lanka v West Indies - Emirates Riverside, Chester-Le-Street, Britain - July 1, 2019 West Indies Jason Holder celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka Dimuth Karunaratne Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

Holder, trying to become the first West Indies captain to win a series in England since Viv Richards in 1988, is top of the ICC’s all rounder rankings with Ben Stokes, who will skipper England for the first time this week, second.

“I don’t really like to get into these personal accolades or ICC rankings,” Holder told a news conference ahead of the match at the Ageas Bowl, the first international cricket fixture since the novel coronavirus pandemic struck.

“Ben has always been talked up and quite rightfully so, he’s a really good cricketer, but the ICC rankings say that I’m the No. 1 ranked all rounder and maybe don’t get as much credit as probably I deserve, who knows?

“I don’t get caught up with it to be honest. Journalists are there to write their stories, I am merely here to play cricket. It’s always a good battle on the field when you face competitors like Stokesy, face competitors around the world.”

Holder, 28, has been described by former England skipper Michael Atherton as the best West Indies captain since Richards.

He led his team to a 2-1 series victory over England in the Caribbean in 2019, scoring his maiden Test double hundred in the first Test at Bridgetown that led to a 381-run win.

Though England won 2-1 at home in 2017, West Indies managed a memorable victory at Headingley.

BOWLING ATTACK

West Indies have a formidable-looking bowling attack and Holder believes enough experienced heads in the squad to make things extremely difficult for Stokes who will be standing in for Joe Root who misses the game because of paternity leave.

“If you look at the calibre of players we’ve got — Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope have had success here in England and that is just to name a few,” he said.

“I am more than confident that these guys will do well in this series.”

Holder will be embarking on his 33rd test as captain and, having reached 100 Test wickets against India in Jamaica last year, he needs only 102 runs to reach 2000 in Test cricket.

That double has only been achieved by two other West Indies players — Garfield Sobers and Carl Hooper.

“Before captaincy I’m a player and my performances must stand out: I must perform my role for the team,” Holder said.

“With bat in hand I’ve got to make runs, with ball in hand I’ve got to take wickets and in the field I’ve got to help the guys hold on to chances.”

Asked if he had any words of advice for Stokes, Holder said England were in safe hands.

“He’s an excellent cricketer, a great competitor and I’m sure the guys in his dressing room look up to him.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris

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