LONDON – Jason Holder has become the first West Indian since cricket great Garfield Sobers to be named as the world’s leading all-rounder following his superb display against England in Barbados.
West Indies captain Holder struck a commanding 202 not out and also took two useful first-innings wickets on his Kensington Oval home ground in Bridgetown, Barbados to help his side complete a crushing 381-run win over England in the first Test.
Victory, secured with more than a day to spare, put the West Indies 1-0 up in a three-Test series.
The towering Holder’s man-of-the-match display saw him go ahead of Bangladesh’s Shakib-al-Hasan and India’s Ravindra Jadeja in the International Cricket Council’s all-rounder rankings, with England’s Ben Stokes still in fourth place.
Although the rankings, which aim to take into account the quality of the opposition as well as a player’s raw figures, did not exist when Sobers was still playing, they have since been applied retrospectively to generations of former cricketers.
Under that system Sobers – widely considered to be the best player cricket has known – last topped the rankings in 1974, the year of his retirement.
Sobers made a cap presentation just before the first Test started, with the 82-year-old witnessing the impressive display of Holder, a fellow Bajan.
Meanwhile West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave criticised what he said was a lack of respect shown to his side by former England captains Geoffrey Boycott and Andrew Flintoff.
Boycott, in a pre-series newspaper column, labelled the West Indies as “very ordinary, very average cricketers” while Flintoff, like Holder a pace-bowling all-rounder, tweeted his disbelief at the Caribbean skipper’s double century.
Grave, an Englishman who made his reputation in cricket administration with Surrey and the Professional Cricketers’ Association, was decidedly unimpressed.
“Former players have said some stuff I think is unwarranted and borderline disrespectful,” Grave told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.
“I saw Andrew Flintoff say he can’t believe Jason Holder got a double hundred, yet I think Jason Holder is a fantastic cricketer and has been performing so fantastically over the last 18 months — a brilliant captain.
“Criticism of our players and suggestions that they’re not world-class is unfair. It doesn’t seem to happen when England play other opposition. I think it’s unwarranted and not true.
“I’m hoping everyone gets to see that in the next few weeks of this series.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)