Teammates need to rally around Holder - Sammy
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (CMC):
Darren Sammy believes embattled West Indies captain, Jason Holder, needs the unbridled support of his teammates in order to navigate the current turmoil surrounding the team's poor form.
The 23-year-old Holder has had a fiery baptism, presiding over the Caribbean side's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of South Africa last month and then as West Indies slumped to a shock four-wicket defeat to minnows Ireland in their International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup opener on Monday.
"You just need that spark and ... we as a group have got to carry him through," said Sammy, a former ODI captain and the current Twenty20 skipper.
"He's young, he didn't ask to be put in that situation, and as one who has been in that situation, I know what that feels like. I will try my best to help him along and also encourage the team to help him along because captaining the West Indies is a very, very tough job."
Holder's appointment as captain was not without controversy. He replaced Dwayne Bravo, who had only been in the job for just over a year after replacing Sammy in 2013.
Bravo was also axed from the squad, following his role as spokesman for aggrieved players during the abandoned tour of India, a move that prompted claims of victimisation from several quarters.
Senior team player Chris Gayle, a member of the World Cup squad, also publicly lashed out at the selectors' decision to drop Bravo and Kieron Pollard.
still commanding support
Despite this furore, Sammy said Holder still commanded the support of the senior players.
"At least now Jason has the backing of the guys in the dressing room, the senior players want to see him do well," Sammy pointed out.
"It's very tough, I don't know what's going on in his mind, but from what I've seen, he's a strong character, a strong individual."
Sammy also advised Holder to seek supernatural help in difficult times.
"(He needs to) stay strong and pray to the Man above. He controls all things," the all-rounder said.
"If you're feeling down, you whisper a prayer to Him. That's what I did, but I had good support around me with my family."
West Indies are currently in New Zealand preparing to face Pakistan in their second match of the World Cup at Hagley Oval tomorrow.