LONDON – West Indies captain Jason Holder and fellow fast bowler Kemar Roach have made significant strides in the latest ICC Test rankings released yesterday.
Holder, who last week became the top-ranked all-rounder in the world, jumped four spots in the bowlers rankings this time around and now lies on a career-best sixth place.
The 27-year-old has also now reached 778 rating points which marks the highest by a West Indies bowler since legendary speedster Courtney Walsh retired 18 years ago.
Holder followed up his unbeaten double century in the first Test in Bridgetown with an outstanding performance with the ball in the second innings of the second Test in Antigua last weekend, which the Windies won emphatically by 10 wickets.
It was his spell after lunch that broke the backbone of the England batting and helped send them crashing for 132 all out in their second innings at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
He finished with four wickets while Roach, who scythed through the middle and lower order, also claimed four to end with an eight-wicket match haul.
That performance saw Roach leap eight spots in the rankings to 12th just behind new-ball partner Shannon Gabriel who rose on spot to 11th.
The trio’s presence in the top 12 marks the first time in 23 years that three Caribbean bowlers have been ranked so highly on the ICC charts.
Guardian Sports columnist Colin Murray said, "It is not at all surprising that the three major fast bowlers in the Windies attack have moved up the international ratings. Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder have tormented the 3rd ranked England team with fast bowling that is reminiscent of the halcyon days of West Indies cricket."
He added that, "This trio had Sri Lanka and Bangladesh dodging bullets here last year and it was only our batting that let us down against the Sri Lankans. Roach seems back to his best not as fast as he once was but his movement of the ball has seen him become as menacing as he previously was. Gabriel is sheer pace and brute strength. He is big, strong and will be dangerous on a pitch with some grass. Holder is easily the most improved all rounder in the world he moves the ball appreciably and his line and length is immaculate. He will continue to improve and if he can add a yard or two to his repertoire he will become more dangerous to world batsmen."
Meanwhile, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph also enjoyed healthy movement up the rankings, jumping 12 places to 53rd.
In the batting rankings, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich rose two places to 45th, Shai Hope moved up five places to 46 while Darren Bravo gained two places to be 55th, after scoring exactly 50 in the first innings of the last Test.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, meanwhile, inched up one place to 33rd to be the highest-ranked West Indies batsman, two ahead of his skipper Holder.