“I’m keen to get back on the field definitely in Test cricket” – Jason Holder

Former West Indies captain Jason Holder has explained his reasoning behind sitting out the two-Test series against Australia that has just concluded.

The 32-year-old was one of a number of West Indies stars who opted to make themselves unavailable for the Aussie Test series, leading to seven uncapped players being originally named in the 15-man squad.

While many were expecting the side to be uncompetitive as a result, the West Indies ended up performing admirably and even tied the series 1-1 after a remarkable win in Brisbane.

Holder says that he simply decided not to play in the series as he wants to priorities playing T20 cricket in 2024 with a World Cup in that format set for the USA and Caribbean later this year.

“I think this year was a little bit unique, I wanted to definitely sign a central contract and be around West Indies cricket as is still my plan,” Holder told SEN Afternoons.

“But after long back and forth negotiations with Cricket West Indies it then led to this decision.

“But it’s not me ruling up myself from any other cricket for the West Indies. I think because this year is a T20 World Cup year, I wanted to priorities playing T20 cricket up front at least to give myself the best chances of making the West Indies T20 side.

“So far it’s going well, it was really good to see the boys triumph against Australia, we haven’t beaten them for some time.

“That was really nice to watch.”

While he hasn’t played Test cricket since last July, Holder says it’s his favorite form of the game and he hopes to add to his 64 games in the longest format once this World Cup campaign passes.

“I’m keen to get back on the field definitely in Test cricket,” Holder said.

“It is my favorite format. I prioritized Test cricket for a number of years and I think this situation is a little bit more unique as a World Cup year.

“I just wanted to give myself the best chance of preparing for the World Cup and giving myself the best chance of making a World Cup team.”

Another star West Indies cricketer who could be faced with the decision to play franchise cricket over Tests is Shamar Joseph.

While Joseph has only played two Tests, he shone against Australia and appears to have the cricketing world in the palm of his hand aged just 24.

Even though Joseph has already stated that he wants to continue playing Tests for his nation, Holder expects him to face that decision soon but doesn’t see his situation as having many similarities to the young quick.

“I think that decision is down to him,” Holder said.

“I think my situation is a little bit more unique because I’ve played international cricket for the last 10 years now.

“I’m not getting any younger, I’m 32 now. So for me, I feel as though I’ve put in a lot of time for West Indies Cricket – I passed up a lot of opportunities to play franchise cricket in order to priorities international cricket.

“I think at this stage of my career now it’s more or less me trying to kind of maximize earnings but still be available and play as much cricket as I possibly can for the West Indies.”

As a smaller cricketing nation, Holder understands that simply prioritizing Test cricket isn’t as easy for West Indies players as it is for those representing the likes of Australia, India and England.

Despite those nations having more power and resources than the West Indies, Holder is proud of how the governing body in the Caribbean has operated and he hopes more money continues to get poured back into the game at home.

“I think it all depends on where you’re from,” Holder said.

“Definitely the big three England, Australia and India have a lot more financial resources than we as a smaller cricketing nation do.

“That’s been our biggest challenge, we look at our infrastructure in the Caribbean, we’re a little bit further behind and it’s purely down to finances.

“I must give Cricket West Indies credit for what they’ve done with little resources that we’ve had and hopefully in the coming years we can build some more financial revenue and pump it back into the development of the sport.”

The 2024 ICC T20 World Cup runs from June 1 to 29 in the West Indies and the USA. The Final will be held at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

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