West Indies rest Jason Holder for first two ODIs against Ireland
Jason Holder has been rested from the West Indies' squad for the first two ODIs of the three-match series against Ireland at home.
The senior all-rounder is the solitary change in the West Indies' 15-member contingent that recently suffered a 2-1 series loss in India.
Holder, leader of the Caribbean Test side, picked up one wicket across the three matches against India and batted on only one occasion in the series managing seven runs off four deliveries.
“The decision was taken to rest Jason due to the heavy workload he has had over the last year,” said Roger Harper, West Indies' chief selector.
“With an important year ahead for West Indies cricket, we saw this as the best opportunity to give him a break to recharge his batteries and refresh his mind so he could be ready to perform at his best as our Test captain throughout 2020, as the number one ranked all-rounder in Test cricket and an important member of the team in the white-ball formats."
West Indies have made significant gains in the 50-over format following their disappointing World Cup campaign.
They completed a clean sweep over Afghanistan under the leadership of new white-ball skipper Kieron Pollard and gave a tough fight to the power-packed India side.
Despite the improvement in the team's performance, Harper highlighted the need for the bowling lineup to step up its efforts in the death overs.
"The Afghanistan and Indian series told me that the team is making very positive strides. Winning the ODIs against Afghanistan, our first ODI series win for five years, followed by the very competitive performance in against India is a testament to that," he said.
"The team demonstrated a determination to compete and gave it every effort. Against India, the batting was consistent and while the bowling had its moments, it is clear that we have to improve our ‘death’ bowling. However, the fact that the team played in such an organised and competitive manner consistently augurs well going forward.
“This series against Ireland offers us the opportunity to build on the performances in India, build confidence as a team and for individual players. Just like the series against Afghanistan, the Ireland series is an important one for us, one we must win.”
The first match between Ireland and West Indies will take place in Barbados on January 7.
West Indies squad
Kieron Pollard (capt), Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh