July 12, 2024


Jason Holder to join Worcestershire in bid for West Indies comeback

The West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder is set to join newly promoted Worcestershire for their first five matches of this year’s County Championship, the Guardian understands.

Holder, the West Indies Test captain from 2015 to 2020, skipped their two-Test series against Australia in January but has publicly stated his desire to continue playing red-ball cricket. This proposed stint in Worcester offers ideal preparation for a potential comeback when West Indies tour England for three Tests in July.

Related: The Spin | Gap between county cricket’s haves and have-nots is growing dangerous

The 32-year-old’s only previous experience of county cricket came in 2019 with an early season stint at Northamptonshire, the same year he became the first West Indies player to top the Test all-rounder rankings since Sir Garfield Sobers.

Missing from the side that pulled off a historic eight-run win at the Gabba in January, West Indies’ first in Australia since 1997, Holder instead decided to prioritise 20-over cricket at the start of the year, with a view to featuring at the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA in June.

He spent January and February at UAE’s ILT20, the Bangladesh Premier League and in Australia for West Indies’ 2-1 T20I series defeat. His most recent work has been in whites, representing Barbados in two first-class fixtures this month.

Upon the announcement in December of his absence from the Test squad to face Australia, Holder told Cricinfo that “by no means is this me turning my back on Test cricket”, adding that he still wanted to be in the frame for the series against England and South Africa after the World Cup. “I will do everything possible to make myself eligible for those Test series and have spoken to the coach and selectors to reiterate that,” he said.

Two of Holder’s three Test hundreds have come against England, including an unbeaten double-century from No 8 in Bridgetown five years ago. After leading the West Indies during their bio-bubble tour of England in the summer of 2020 – using it to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and take six for 42 in a victorious first Test – Holder was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year.

Worcestershire begin their season with a visit to Edgbaston to face Warwickshire. Holder will not be available for a trundle at New Road during his stay, with floods forcing the county to play their first two home fixtures at Kidderminster CC, prompting fears that more flooding over the Easter weekend could extend their exile.

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