By Neto Baptiste
Former Antigua and West Indies fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, has accused captain of the regional squad, Jason Holder, of underutilising pacer Alzarri Joseph, making it difficult for the young speedster to get into his groove.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin lashed out at Holder, saying that he has observed the trend for quite some time.
“It’s not because I’ve worked with this young man, but I think Alzarri has been handled poorly by the captain from day one, not just this series, and just look at how he is being used. Here it is that you have a youngster with raw talent and we don’t have a lot of bowlers with raw talent, but how do you get experience, isn’t it by doing what you have to do?” he said.
“You can’t learn experience; you learn skill, you develop skill, but experience is you participating in whatever it is in order to gain the experience. If you’re not happy with an individual and you think there is too much talk about this individual and don’t think he’s as good and you want to prove a point, then you give him short spells, bowl him with the old ball when things are tight and critical so he never has a break.”
Joseph, in the team’s first Test against England, bowled a total of 31 overs, the least of all the fast bowlers in the squad. He gave up 98 runs while claiming two wickets. The fast bowler, in the second Test, bowled a total of 25.1 overs for 84 runs and one wicket.
Benjamin said the captain must exercise more confidence in Joseph’s ability and give him room to grow.
“The captain has the ability to make or break a bowler. The time that you give him the ball to bowl, the confidence that you place in him will determine the frame of mind and if you are going to give me two overs and take me off every minute, the first thing I am going to say is that you don’t have any confidence in me so my whole demeanor is now going to change,” the former player said.
“I want my captain to show me that look, you’re here because you deserve to be here, I am going to give you the responsibility or, I don’t think you deserve to be here so I am going to bowl you out of the team,” he added.
Benjamin, who claimed 61 wickets in 21 Tests for the West Indies, also called on Holder to step up to the plate, accusing the all-rounder of hiding behind his other bowlers when things get tough.
“Now, what I have observed with our captain is that he doesn’t bowl unless things are happening and once things are happening the ball belongs to him and he’s not relinquishing that but as soon as you hit a little rough patch [he gives the ball to someone else], you go and work this ball for me and as soon as things start happening he comes back in and cleans up. I have seen those things, I’ve been part of those situations many times. I’ve gone through that myself,” he said.
Benjamin also claimed 100 wickets in 85 One Day International (ODI) matches and has also coached at both the national and regional level.