BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Former Test Vice-Captain Deryck Murray believes West Indies could benefit from Kraigg Brathwaite’s retention as captain for next month’s Test series against Sri Lanka, and regular skipper Jason Holder focusing on his role as an all-rounder in the setup.
Brathwaite has drawn widespread praise for inspiring an inexperienced West Indies to a resounding 2-0 series win over Bangladesh — the first time in nearly a decade the Caribbean side have won two Tests on away soil.
And Murray said once selectors retained the core of the squad from the Bangladesh tour for the upcoming series, there was a “strong case” for Brathwaite replacing Holder.
“I do not discard Kraigg Brathwaite as captain automatically, so we need to look at what happens between now and [the Sri Lanka series]… what is the team we are going to put together,” Murray said.
“And if it is that four or five [members] of this team that has just completed the game in Bangladesh are going to be in that team [for Sri Lanka], there’s a strong case for [retaining Brathwaite].”
He continued: “There is a strong case for saying to Jason Holder ‘come back, don’t have the pressures of captaincy on you. You are going to be the central all-rounder in this team, you’re going to bat at six, we need you to attack as a bowler, be a wicket-taking bowler, not a containing bowler as the fourth seamer in the team.’
“And therefore we need to have the best available team at that time who are coming in with the confidence of just having been successful.”
Brathwaite was asked to lead a 15-man Test squad with four debutants after Holder, along with four other first choice players, declined selection for the tour due to COVID-19 concerns.
The 29-year-old Holder, who has led West Indies in 37 Tests since 2015, said earlier this month he was also suffering from “mental fatigue” from having played several back-to-back series in bio-secure “bubbles” due to the ongoing pandemic.
In his absence, Brathwaite led the side superbly, overseeing an historic three-wicket win in the opening Test in Chattogram and a thrilling 17-run win in the Dhaka second Test.
Murray argued that with Brathwaite having checked all the boxes in the recent tour, it was now difficult for selectors to discard him.
“We now need to see how we can capture that team work, that team spirit that showed itself on the field. How can we capture that behind the scenes and make the right choices.,” the 77-year-old told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest.
“Kraigg Brathwaite pulled that team together, as captain he put himself on to bowl at a crucial time in the [second innings of the last Test].
“That was a person who was positive, who was doing things. Do we now say, ‘Thank you very much, I’ll put you to one side, sit in the corner, wait till we call you again?’ We need to think.”
He continued: “The other captain (Holder) that we had said he was suffering from mental fatigue. Maybe just as Kraigg lost the vice-captaincy and came back when he was given the captaincy, it might be an opportunity to let someone else sit back, perform as a player to the best of their ability.
“They [Holder] probably would be indispensable in the team in the all-rounder’s spot, so we need to look very carefully and make sure that we do not belittle anybody’s performances in the last series we have just played because the so-called stars are coming back.
“There is nobody that is now an automatic selection in the West Indies team.”
West Indies host Sri Lanka in two Tests at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua between March 21 and April 2.