Already having tasted the limelight of the international stage, fast bowler Jason Holder is anxiously eyeing the Caribbean Premier League as another chance to make his mark in world cricket and continue his swift rise to prominence.
Standing 6ft 7ins, the 21-year-old Barbadian cuts an imposing figure and is likely to be just as intimidating for the Barbados Tridents after being picked by the Desmond Haynes-coached franchise in the player draft.
While Holder has played only two One-Day Internationals for West Indies, he has already been on three international tours – the most recent was last month’s International Cricket Council Champions Trophy in England and Wales.
“I am very pleased with the way my career has been progressing,” Holder said. “Obviously I have been propelled for the last few months into the Indian Premier League and the West Indies team so I have really been enjoying it and my development.
“It was always my goal to be here, at least making strides into the West Indies team around this age. I thought it would have taken longer, judging by the strength of the West Indies but I’m obviously pretty excited to be in the team at this present time and I just want to stay in.”
Holder made his first class debut in 2009 as a 17 year old and has advanced impressively, representing the West Indies Under-19s at the Youth World Cup in New Zealand a year later before gaining a surprise call-up to the Windies senior team in 2012 as an injury replacement for fast bowler Tino Best on the limited overs tour of Bangladesh.
And though he failed to land a game on that tour, he was again selected for the Windies limited overs trip Down Under earlier this year, where he finally made a much awaited international debut.
“Though it was my first game, I honestly wasn’t that nervous, which was surprising,” he said.
“I thought I coped with the pressure quite well. Obviously I had done the hard work to get there. I just tried to soak up the moment as best I possibly could and enjoy it,
“It was just unfortunate that I didn’t get to play a few more games but I know if I keep doing the right things, I will have a long lasting career.”
What followed the Australia tour was definitely a shock for the right-arm pacer. He was snapped up by Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings.
He played six matches, grabbed only two wickets, but still managed to get the attention of pundits with his steep bounce and sharpness.
“It was a serious experience. Playing in front of thousands of people shouting your name and just cheering you on, it was something to really soak in. For me, it was quite pleasing for us to get to the finals and having played a part in it. It was fitting for me for my first season.”
Holder has now set his sights on dominating the Caribbean Premier League, which bowls off across the region in six countries from 30 July to 24 August. Cayman business Kelly Holding is the event manager for the CPL.
Holder believes that experience gained over the last year will augur well.
“I am very excited about the CPL. I think it is a great initiative, mixing the local players with some international stars. I think the teams are very evenly balanced so it should be very interesting to see what transpires in the next few months.
“I definitely think the IPL has prepared me for the CPL. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge over the past few months with these players in the IPL. I think I’ve broadened my knowledge of how to react in certain situations so it’s just about executing it in the game.”
Holder intends to dominate in the CPL. “I think I am capable of doing it. It’s just about me being focused and executing my plans in whatever game I play.”
An added fillip for the youngster is the involvement of Haynes, the legendary former West Indies opener, in the management set up of the Barbados Tridents – a partnership he believes will be a successful one.
The Barbados Tridents are led by franchise players Kieron Pollard and Shoaib Malik who will play alongside Holder, Dwayne Smith, Shakib al Hasan, Umar Akmal, Shannon Gabriel, Rayad Emrit, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Kyle Mayers, Devendra Bishoo, Kirk Edwards and Raymon Reifer.
Following the opening ceremony on 30 July, the Barbados Tridents will face the St. Lucia Zouks in the tournament’s first game at the historic Kensington Oval.