Northants sign Test skipper Holder

LONDON,  CMC – Charismatic West Indies Test and one-day captain Jason Holder will turn out for English county Northamptonshire in several matches of the upcoming campaign, the east Midlands club announced yesterday.

The 27-year-old will play the first two County Championship matches against Middlesex and Glamorgan, as well as the first six games in the Royal London One Day Cup, in the domestic season which gets underway April 5.

Holder’s county stint precedes the 50-overs World Cup in England which bowls off May 30.

“England is somewhere I’ve wanted to play for a long time and I’m looking forward to the experience of county cricket and testing myself in the different conditions,” Holder said.

“Northamptonshire has a reputation of being a good club to be a part of, with a tight-knit squad and coaches who want to get the best out of their players.”

He continued: “I’m hopeful from a personal point that it will provide me a good opportunity of acclimatizing to English conditions and getting some time in the middle ahead of the World Cup in England and I’m grateful to Northamptonshire for the opportunity which I am really looking forward to.”

The move comes in the wake of Holder’s rise to the pinnacle of the Test all-rounder rankings, becoming the first West Indies player to do so in nearly half a century.

He has been in superb form with both bat and ball in the ongoing series against England, smashing a monumental unbeaten double hundred in the opening Test in Bridgetown and then snatching four wickets in the second innings of last week’s second Test in Antigua, as West Indies took a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Northants head coach David Ripley said he expected Holder’s capabilities to make him a huge asset to the club in his time there.

“Our discussions with Jason have been ongoing for some weeks now,” he said.

“Jason is one of the world’s top players and it will be great to have him as part of our squad during a period of the season where we will have both Specsavers County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup matches.

“He is a quality bowler, match-winning batsman, catches well at slip and his leadership experience will also be important, supporting and working with Alex Wakely and our other senior players.”

Barbadian Holder averages 33 with the bat in 37 Tests and 27 with the ball, having collected 93 wickets.

He has also played 85 One-Day Internationals, scoring seven half-centuries and taking 112 wickets.

Holder will not play in the final Test against England starting in St Lucia on Saturday after being suspended for his team’s slow over-rate during the Antigua Test which finished in a three days.

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