Calcutta: In Michael Holding’s opinion, Shivnarine Chanderpaul is “improving” as captain, but he’s hoping that the job “one day” goes to Ramnaresh Sarwan.
“You can’t say Chanderpaul has been the West Indies’ best captain. However, he’s improving and moving in the right direction after the end of (Brian) Lara’s innings' Personally, I would like to see Sarwan lead one day.
“He’s a thinking cricketer and has age on his side. I’m sure he’s going to be respected in the dressing room and nothing matters more than respect,” Holding told The Telegraph in Sydney earlier this week.
Chanderpaul has captained in eight Tests (one win, five losses) and 11 ODIs (just one victory). Sarwan led in four ODIs (three wins) last year.
Holding, who was on the commentators’ panel in the Super Series, expressed happiness that the contracts row had been resolved and the West Indies would field the strongest side in the three-Test series against Australia.
“The best XI should always be on the park' In our days we played and, then, got paid. Today, players are first given contracts' But, then, life itself has changed so much,” he quipped.
Would the return of the many senior pros (for example, Lara and Sarwan), who didn’t tour Sri Lanka in July-August because of the row, cause a friction in the dressing room'
“I hope not' I don’t recall awkward moments after (Kerry Packer’s) World Series Cricket because those of us who came back were more in numbers than the ‘traditional’ players' The scenario could have been different had it been equal,” Holding replied.
The 15-strong West Indies squad in Australia has nine players who weren’t there in Sri Lanka.
Despite being known to speak his mind, Holding didn’t exactly say much ' or, perhaps, he actually did ' about Lara.
“I’m aware Ridley Jacobs has let his thoughts be known, but I wouldn’t like to comment on Lara’s attitude as I’m not part of the dressing room' Where would I place him among the greats' Well, let’s talk of other things,” Holding said.
The “other things” included the current West Indies pace attack.
“It’s not that we lack the firepower, the question is of quality: Can the present lot take 20 wickets in every Test match' I’m optimistic about Jermaine Lawson, Tino Best and Darren Powell,” he pointed out.
Asked whether, like sections in the West Indies, even he had reservations over the appointment of Australian Bennett King as coach, Holding answered: “I have no qualms about the coach’s nationality' Bottomline is that the job has to be done well.”
It hurt millions that only two from the West Indies (Lara and Chris Gayle) got picked for the Super Series. But, then, Holding felt the thin representation “reflected” the West Indies’ standing ' No. 8 both in Tests and ODIs.
Almost 19 years after quitting, was there something he missed'
Holding signed off laughing: “I certainly don’t miss getting up early each day, exercising and bowling at least 20 overs' I’m glad those days are over.”
Batsmen of this era must be glad they don’t have to face ‘Whispering Death’.
Holding, it may be recalled, finished with 249 Test wickets and 142 in ODIs.