No need to remove Jason Holder as Windies captain

By February 21, 2021

 No need to discard Jason Holder as Test captain.

    How do we evaluate a captain? Do we use their win-loss record? Do we judge their on-field performances? West Indies Test captain Jason Holder should continue as the team’s leader despite calls for Kraigg Brathwaite to replace him at the helm.

The calls have come after Brathwaite led the squad to victory over Bangladesh in a two-Test series two weeks ago while Holder opted not to tour due to health and safety concerns.

 Changing captains is not the answer to the West Indies’ problems and if the selectors were to do so it would be a very rash and irresponsible decision. It would also amount to a knee-jerk reaction.

When Holder was selected to be Test captain in 2015, it was purported as a “long-term” appointment. By replacing Holder with Brathwaite after success in one Test series, the selectors run the risk of undermining Holder’s confidence by bringing into question his ability to lead. Nothing good would come from that.

 It would be inaccurate and quite unfair to say Holder has had no success as captain as he did win the Wisden Trophy in 2019.

The 29-year-old Holder has grown as a cricketer and is one of the world’s leading Test cricketers, ranked third on the all-rounder’s chart, 11th in bowling and 43rd in the batting rankings.

He has a lot to offer to the team and each player can learn from his exploits in different formats and levels of the game.

It is also key to note that just recently, Kraigg Brathwaite was stripped of the vice-captaincy and told to focus on improving his game.

The Windies will be confident going into their series against Sri Lanka. So instead of causing unnecessary division within the team by changing captains, each player should be encouraged to learn from the other and cooperation should be encouraged.

Both Holder and Brathwaite can work alongside each other. Holder could learn a thing or two from Brathwaite and vice versa.

 So instead of focusing on who should be captain, the focus should be on building around the core and planning for the future.

 

 The NBA All-Star Game should be cancelled.

 

The 2021 All-Star Game was initially cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic but the NBA has reversed the decision and decided to hold a one-night event in Atlanta on March 7, despite public objection from players.

Despite players like LA Lakers star LeBron James coming out and voicing his displeasure with the league’s decision saying that he will be there physically but not mentally, the NBA’s persistence in continuing with the All-Star Game, gives the impression that player safety and concerns are being overlooked in the name of profit.

The All-Star Weekend provides fans with the ability to interact tradition with their favourite players. However, the fact that Covid-19 has prevented fans from being at the games undermines the need this season.

We live in unprecedented times and the safety and health of the players should be of paramount importance, and it is not unreasonable to believe that the All-Star Game could trigger virus clusters that put even more players at risk.

 

Is all this worth risking the rest of the NBA season?

 Novak Djokovic is unstoppable!  Novak Djokovic extended his dominance at the Australian Open beating Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 to secure his18th Grand Slam title.

The 33-year-old Djokovic dispensed of his opponent in an hour and 53 minutes to claim his ninth Australian Open title and move with two of the number of titles won by both Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal.

Not even an abdominal injury suffered earlier in the tournament could prevent the Joker from continuing his relentless march to catch up with his two contemporaries.

Congratulations!

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

    Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

    But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

    Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

    Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

    Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

    Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

    POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

    West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

    "What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

    "Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

    The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

    Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

    AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

    Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

    "Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

    The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

    "Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

    "We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

  • Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic on Osaka lighting cauldron – It cannot be better for our sport Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic on Osaka lighting cauldron – It cannot be better for our sport

    Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic cauldron will have helped increase the exposure for the sport of tennis around the world, according to Novak Djokovic.

    Osaka was given the honour of carrying the torch on the short final leg at the Japan National Stadium before walking the steps to light the flame and end the opening ceremony.

    The four-time grand slam champion is the face of the Tokyo Games in her home country, creating extra pressure on her shoulders as she bids to strike gold.

    Djokovic appreciates the absences of legendary names Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is a blow, but he believes Osaka's presence is crucial for tennis in the battle for media coverage at the Games.

    "It cannot be better for our sport, you are representing yourself, your country but also your sport in the Olympic Games, you're trying to get the hype and the attention towards our sport as much as you possibly can, so we're all contributing to that in the Olympic Village," Djokovic said when asked about Osaka's role in Friday's ceremony.

    "There's a lot of attention towards the tennis players which is great, from the other athletes which is very nice to see, very nice to experience.

    "Obviously you don't have Roger or Rafa. They are big stars and legends of our sport, but still there's quite a lot of great athletes, top players. Naomi is a home favourite and a lot of eyes are on her.

    "Being at home playing is a lot of pressure, but it's great for our sport just in general to see that there's a lot of attention towards it."

     

    Djokovic was speaking after overcoming Hugo Dellien with ease in his opening outing in the men's singles tournament, the Serbian triumphing 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour.

    The quick win allowed the recently crowned Wimbledon champion to avoid staying out for too long in the Tokyo heat, an issue that led to Daniil Medvedev calling for matches to be pushed back to later in the day, allowing players to compete during the evenings when the temperatures have dropped.

    "I agree with him 100 per cent," Djokovic said of Medvedev's suggestion. "I actually asked as well.

    "My team captain, Viktor Troicki, was speaking to the referee a couple of times. To be honest, I don't understand why they don't start matches at say 3pm.

    "I've heard for tennis there is some kind of curfew they have to finish at midnight, but if that's the case, I've just finished the last match and it's not even 5pm, we still have seven hours to play. 

    "They have lights on all the courts, they're going to make life much easier for all of us tennis players, I just don't understand why they don't move it. 

    "It's actually for the television broadcasters even better, because the later you play, the better it is for the United States and the time zones in Europe.

    "I don't know, maybe the ITF (International Tennis Federation) can give you a better answer to why they chose to be played in the middle of the day. I doubt they will change the decision, but we're hoping that they will."

  • Tokyo Olympics: Medvedev hits out at 'joke' changeover times as Djokovic coasts through Tokyo Olympics: Medvedev hits out at 'joke' changeover times as Djokovic coasts through

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    Representing the Russian Olympic Committee, Medvedev appeared fatigued at times in his 6-4 7-6 (10-8) triumph over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik at the Ariake Tennis Park.

    The conditions in the Japanese capital were sweltering on Saturday but Novak Djokovic was able to keep his cool in coasting to a 6-2 6-2 win against Hugo Dellien.

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    Medvedev, who saved three of four break points and now has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Bublik, was pretty pointed about what he feels should be done about the heat.

    "Like they do in Mexico, the matches maybe should start at six (pm) because the heat actually gets much, much lighter. We all try to practise at six," said Olympics debutant Medvedev, who next plays Sumit Nagal.

    "The fact that we have only one minute between changeovers is a joke. If you ask, let's say 200 tennis players that are here, I think 195 will tell you that one minute is a joke. It should be 1:30.

    "But you have to play, that's the Olympics, you go for the medal. You're not here to cry about the heat. It was really tough for both of us. We talked about this after the match on the court. It was unbelievably hot. But you need to get through it."

    Fellow Russian athlete Aslan Karatsev (11) defeated Tommy Paul 6-3 6-2 to set up a meeting with Jeremy Chardy, while Lorenzo Sonego (13), Ugo Humbert (14), Fabio Fognini (15) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (16) all progressed.

     

    DJOKOVIC UP AND RUNNING

    Since winning bronze in Beijing 13 years ago, Djokovic has not had the best of luck at the Olympics – losing in 2012 and 2016 to Juan Martin del Potro on both occasions.

    But with a host of big hitters from the ATP absent – including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite in Tokyo.

    Only Steffi Graf in 1988 from either the WTA or ATP Tour has ever completed a sweep of all four slams and an Olympic gold in a calendar year, and Djokovic needs Olympic gold and victory at the US Open to match the feat.

    He needed just 61 minutes here to beat Dellien of Bolivia.

    MURRAY SCORES UPSET DOUBLES WIN

    Andy Murray is the two-time defending men's singles champion in Tokyo, but struggles with injuries mean it would take a herculean effort to make it three in a row.

    But he is also representing Great Britain in the doubles and together with Joe Salisbury upset French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3 6-2 in their first time competing with one another.

    Murray is not looking too far ahead, though, saying: "You take one match at a time, you know, so a lot of the players here are really motivated to play for their country. 

    "This is such a rare opportunity for all of us and I think we all want to do well. So, yeah, just take it one match at a time."

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