Hawk Eye on West Indies v England Third ODI: Time to back Holder

Jason Holder
Holder has been inspirational

Ed Hawkins uncovers some value on the Windies skipper to top score at St Georges' on Monday...

"The strokemakers and sloggers might not find the wicket to their liking. Keiron Pollard aside, the style of runscorer who has done well there in the last ten years have been those of a more serene nature"

West Indies v England
Monday February 25, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Big chunk in punters' favour

Jason Holder, although put in the shade by the performances of Sheldon Cottrell and Shimron Hetmyer, was still in inspirational touch in game one as he reinforced his reputation as one of the world's MVPs.

Holder, leading from the front in the guise of revered former Windies captains of the past like Clive Lloyd and Darren Sammy, first knocked over Ben Stokes and then Jos Buttler just as it looked like the game was up.

Those wickets, for the addition of only five runs, caused a panic not seen in the England dressing room since the bad old days of ODI mediocrity. Holder has England spooked. From a position of seemingly impregnable strength at 228 for four chasing 290 Holder's intervention changed the game.

We expect him to go well again at St George's, although it is not with the ball we will be betting him. The 7/2 offered by Betfair Sportsbook appeals for top West Indies bowler we have to swerve because, statistically, it's too short. We only bet prices which we can prove are a rick.

Luckily the 10/1 about him top scoring is a rick. On two-year form he's a little bigger than a 4/1 poke. That's a whopping edge in our favour.

We ummed and aahed about taking him for top bat in game two in Bridgetown but ducked out because we felt the pitch was so good that the hitters at the top of the order would make the running. So it proved with Chris Gayle notching a fifty and Hetmyer a ton.

In the case of England top-bat however, we were cursing. We had identified Ben Stokes as value for game one and betted him. Of course, we should have gone in again because the price was still wrong for round two but by the same rationale we lost faith.

Be bold and be rewarded

The lesson is that sometimes you have to be bold and bet the odds. If one consistently takes wrong prices, in the long run, one returns profits. Holder might not win at St George's. He might not win on the market the next time, or the time after that... and so on. But he should cop before we go into the black.

In our favour, hopefully, is West Indies team selection. In our match preview we suggested that the smart move would be to give Oshane Thomas a rest, who has been expensive, and recall Nic Pooran. This gives them better balance and added batting depth on a wicket which has been tricky to score on in the past.

But we will keep our fingers crossed that the temptation to change a winning team is ignored. That means Holder should remain at No 6, giving him a better chance of longer crease time.

Our man should have the feelgood factor at the ground. On his first visit in ODI (he has played only twice there) he helped turn the game. Although not a top-bat effort his 22 off 15 balls against Bangladesh in 2014 got them home in a nervy chase.

The strokemakers and sloggers might not find the wicket to their liking. Keiron Pollard aside, the style of runscorer who has done well there in the last ten years have been those of a more serene nature. Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dinesh Ramdin have all knuckled down as the likes of Gayle (who averages 28 there) have struggled.

We recognise that Holder is not a grafter, of course. It's just a string to his bow that the flashier models may spin off giving hima chance to go big.

Hawk-Eye P-L

2019 - points p-l: +16.77 (32 points staked)
2018 - points p-l: +9.86 (89 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)

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