Dubai: A win in a low-scoring match in Sharjah may have kept slim hopes alive for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but more importantly, these matches are also throwing up some valuable pointers for the franchises about the mega auction for next season. One won’t be surprised if Jason Holder, the Man of the Match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, becomes a much sought-after name for 2021 season.
The 28-year-old allrounder, captain of West Indies Test team for last six years now, had not been able to create much of an impact in the star-sudded field of IPL so far - making his debut with Chennai Super Kings in 2013 and then Sunrisers Hyderabad, followed by a stint at Kolkata Knight Riders in 2016. The opportunities were few and far between with him getting a cap in only 15 matches so far - where his record is nothing much to boast about.
In the ongoing IPL in the UAE, Sunrisers had drafted him only as a replacement when Mitchell Marsh left with an injury - and it was only after halfway stages of their league campaign that the Barbadian got a look-in. Going about his task without any fuss, Holder had been able to drive home his utility so far - the peak of them coming in the crunch match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday night when he returned figures of 4-0-27-2 and then provided the much-needed calmness after the loss of Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson by hammering three huge sixes in his unbeaten 26 to take his team over the line.
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Can he then provide the X-factor for IPL franchises in future in the way some of his illustrious compatriots like Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy or Andre Russell did over the years for their respective franchises? In terms of cricketing prowess, Holder may not possess the brute force of a ‘Dre-Russ’ to make a mockery of asking rates, but he certainly has the cricket sense and maturity to serve the teams much like a Bravo or Sammy by mixing things up in his slow medium bowling and provide stability to the lower middle order batting of any team.
The likes of Bravo, Russell or Kieron Pollard are not getting younger - with question marks over Russell’s fitness cropping up off and on for Kolkata Knight Riders. It’s here that a performer like Holder can come in handy - who has the ability to express himself if given the opportunity and can be an useful member of the think tank.
Interestingly enough, exploits in the Caribbean colours is often no guarantee for a greater acceptance in the IPL. Remember Carlos Brathwaite, who won the West Indies their last T20 World Cup with his assault on Ben Stokes in the final over against England, but failed to carve a niche for himself in the cash-rich league.
Hopefully, Holder will find his feet soon in the IPL eco-system!