Sat | Sep 18, 2021

Lloyd backs Brathwaite for WI captaincy

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2021 | 12:23 AM


Legendary former captain Sir Clive Lloyd has weighed in on the raging debate over the future of the West Indies Test captaincy, saying be believed Kraigg Brathwaite was “slightly ahead” of Jason Holder to lead the side in next month’s series against Sri Lanka.

While pointing out that Holder was competent enough to continue in the role, Sir Clive said Brathwaite’s exemplary leadership in inspiring an inexperienced side to a 2-0 whitewash of Bangladesh earlier this month could not be ignored by selectors.

However, the 76-year-old Sir Clive said both players brought vital experience to the squad, and if selectors were keen on making a change, it was important to first sit down and discuss the matter with the players.

“If I were a selector, obviously Kraigg would be slightly ahead of Jason because of what (he) has done with the team that they have there,” Sir Clive said. “But the point is, they (selectors) will have to sit down and discuss it. It’s a beautiful position to be in that you have guys with experience, who were captain and vice-captain.

“I’m sure Jason’s is not a guy who will say ‘I’ve got a bad deal or a raw deal’.”

He continued: “I played a part in making Jason captain. He’s had good moments and he’s had some bad moments. I think it is good that we have guys with that experience. I don’t think he’s going to be out of the side … the point is they (selectors) would have to sit down and have a chat with the players (and find out) how they feel.”

Holder, who has led the side since 2015, opted out of the Bangladesh tour, citing mental fatigue and concerns over the integrity of the biosecure ‘bubble’ for the series.

He was one of 10 players declining selection, leading to weakened sides being selected for both the one-day and Test series.

Brathwaite, however, chose to lead a 15-man Test squad, which comprised four uncapped players and five others with less than 10 Tests to their names, and he attracted widespread praise for the masterful way in which he marshalled the side in both Tests.

Sir Clive, who inspired West Indies to World Cup triumphs in the first two editions of the tournament in 1975 and 1979, said what made Brathwaite’s achievement even more stellar was the fact that leading the West Indies was already a complicated role even with experienced players.

“We must understand that captaining the West Indies is by far more difficult than any other country,” Sir Clive stated.

“Australia is one country, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka [are all one country]. We are 14 islands spread. We have different cultures and backgrounds, it’s not easy to bring people together, and Kraigg Brathwaite and those guys, in the matter of a couple of weeks, pulled things together.”

The highlight of the series was the form of two debutants and two other players with limited international experience.

Kyle Mayers struck an unbeaten 210 and fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner, 86, as West Indies chased down 395 on the final day to pull off a sensational victory in the first Test in Chattogram.

In the second Test in Dhaka, Bonner shone again with 90 and 38, while wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva, with just two Tests behind him, struck a top score of 92 in the first innings.

Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who had played only three Tests prior to the series, grabbed a nine-wicket match haul in Dhaka to spin West Indies to victory.

The likes of Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks and Shimron Hetmyer, all of whom opted out of the Bangladesh tour, are now expected to be available for selection for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.

But Sir Clive said the nature of what the inexperienced side achieved in Bangladesh meant selectors could not simply discard those players when the stars returned.

“We have to reward them. You can’t get rid of these guys who did such a marvellous job,” Sir Clive urged.