Holder cautions against overworking exciting prospect Seales
By Akeem Greene
At age 19, Jayden Seales was handed the ball for the first time in Test cricket in the 10th over of South Africa’s first innings in the opening Test in St. Lucia.
First ball: a spearing yorker to Aiden Markram; second ball: a bit wide but sharp pace; third ball: a bit wide but good pace; fourth ball: some pace and shape away from the right-hander; fifth ball: overpitched and clipped through the legside for three: sixth ball: WICKET! Debutant Keegan Petersen goes.
Rising delivery that hits the splice and is easily gobbled by Jason Holder at second slip.
Seales went on to bowl 20 more overs, six of which were maidens and ended with 3-75.
It was extremely impressive for a lad, whose previous First-Class match came in December 2020 for West Indies A against New Zealand A, where he had 1-53 (18 overs) and 0-23 (three overs).
After being one of the highlights of the ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa in 2020, where he took 10 wickets and showed great pace and hostility, Seales then impressed at the Caribbean Premier League for champions Trinbago Knight Riders, which booked his spot for the New Zealand tour as a reserve.
Four wickets in the Regional Super50 for native Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, followed by 3-42 and 1-23 in the ‘Best v Best’ Four-Day practice match before this Test series, and Seales forced his way into the reckoning.
Now that the promise is there for everyone to see, West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder wants him to be managed and not further fast-tracked to play multiple formats early in his career.
“I just hope we manage him. We got to understand that this is his second First-Class game and the body will take a bit of time to adjust to the workload and we got to be very careful not to bowl him to the ground,” Holder expressed at Tuesday’s Virtual media briefing ahead of the second Test on June 18.
“Sometimes we get excited with a young prospect such as Jayden and we throw him into all three formats. I would personally like to see a gradual build-up into the three formats if that is the direction Cricket West Indies wants to go.”
The former captain added: “The most impressive thing about his debut is the sustenance of his consistency; he was there nagging and asking tons of questions with his consistency for a 19-year-old and I think the sky is the limit for him if he can stay fit.”
Holder exuded immense emotions after taking the catch for Seales’ first Test scalp and said he was overjoyed for the young lad.
“I am excited for Jayden. It was special to see not only the way he bowled, but the way the team rallied around him. I was commenting on his first Test wicket and everyone was saying how they really enjoyed how we got around him. I honestly felt I was taking my first Test wicket when Jayden got Petersen, but it is a pleasing note for me.”
Comfortable in the lower-order
Meanwhile, Holder said he is open to doing the needs of the team, but said one must factor his workload with the ball when deciding where he bats.
In the previous series against Sri Lanka he batted at six, but has returned to the usual number seven position. Head Coach Phil Simmons had stated Holder is one of the better batsmen on the team.
“Whatever the team requires; the last series I batted at six, this one, I am batting at seven. Traditionally, I have been around 7,8 and 9 and if it is a situation where I am required to come up a little higher, I will put up my hand and do it. I just think the hardest thing is to bowl the amount of overs that I bowl and then having to come immediately and bat,” the number one ranked Test all-rounder expressed.
The 29-year-old went on to say: “The way the team is structured, I still have a heavy workload in terms of bowling. My overall take on it is that sometimes after bowling 25-30 overs in an innings then having to come back and come bat at five or six, it could be pretty tough.”
In the first Test, Holder shared the new ball with Kemar Roach and took 4-75 in 20.5 overs and also made 20 (team’s top-score in first innings) and four.