Former West Indies captain Jason Holder has opened up about the conflicts that West Indian cricketers face when lucrative playing opportunities in franchise cricket arise for individuals.
In an exclusive interview with Headstrong: An Innings With, Holder – speaking before he was replaced as Test skipper earlier this year – explained how he could have earned more money playing cricket in T20 leagues than he did playing for West Indies.
In an interview that also touched on the circumstances in which Holder assumed the West Indies captaincy in the infancy of his own international career, Holder explained the difficulty that comes with managing players who have opportunities to play in T20 leagues around the world, as well as the personal conflicts that arise in such situations.
“Those are the hardest players to manage because they’ve got options,” said Holder. “Players who’ve been committed to West Indies cricket don’t have many options outside, probably, of myself no one has turned down other contracts to play for West Indies.
“I could sit down here and safely say I’ve passed up a lot of money to play for West Indies. I could have been a lot more well off than I am. I consider myself really blessed because I’ve made a lot of money in my life for a guy my age…but I probably could have made a lot more but I’ve always had that desire to play for West Indies.
“Coming up there was never T20 cricket so the only way to make your mark was to play international cricket. I would honestly say I don’t know if I would make the same decisions if I was older at that stage.
“I always sympathise with the guy who’s at the middle stages of their careers. I played for West Indies when I was 21, I played first-class cricket when I was 17 years old. Those two things don’t happen very often.
“I had age on my side. Whereas a guy might come into [the] West Indies [team] at 28 or 27. He’s got different scenario in front of him so I can’t be upset with a guy who wants to run around the world at 28 years old with an insecure future with West Indies cricket and miss out on an opportunity to make a living for himself on the circuit.
“My disappointment, however, comes when players like myself give up so much to commit to West Indies cricket and then West Indies cricket isn’t as accommodating as they possibly can.
“There have been a few instances where I’ve been very disappointed in how things were handled.
“At 29, I kind of fall into that middle phase of my career now. I’ve got to be a little bit more selfish now.
“I’ve got the world in front of me in terms of options. I don’t have to play international cricket. I can play anywhere I want around the world. I’ve played in England with county cricket, I’ve played in Australia so opportunities are always in front of me in terms of making money.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in that things will happen for me when they’re supposed to happen and I know I’ll make money, I can’t make back what I’ve lost but there’s a lot more money out there to be made.
“I’m now at a crossroads where I’m not going to give up on West Indies cricket but I’ve got to think about how I can open up my calendar year for a few more tournaments around the world.”
You can listen to the full interview with Holder on the Headstrong podcast, available to listen to on all the usual podcast hosting platforms. Headstrong: An Innings With supports the Ruth Strauss Foundation and is exclusively previewed by Wisden.com.