Holder eyeing top spot in bowling charts after achieving 20-year high
Captain Jason Holder has amassed the highest rating points by a West Indies bowler in two decades as he closed in on the number one spot in the International Cricket Council's bowling rankings, after leaping one place to second following his outstanding showing in the first Test against England.
The 28-year-old Holder, who finished with a seven-wicket match haul in Southampton as West Indies trounced England by four wickets, shot to a career-best 862 ratings points - the highest since legendary pacer Courtney Walsh tallied 866 points in August 2000.
Holder also retained his spot as Test cricket's top-ranked all-rounder, as he also remained unmoved at 35th in the batting rankings to also be the highest placed Caribbean side batsman.
The fast-bowling all-rounder was superb with the ball in the first innings at the Ageas Bowl last weekend, grabbing a career-best six for 42 to send England tumbling for 204 in their first innings and giving West Indies the early initiative in the contest.
For Holder, it was his sixth five-wicket haul in his last 10 Tests and confirmed his status as one of the elite bowlers in the game.
However, Holder is being chased down by England's Ben Stokes, who lies second in the all-rounder's rankings and moved to 431 points to narrow the gap to 54 points.
Stokes lashed scores of 43 and 46 in the Southampton Test to break into the top 10 at ninth in the batting rankings while taking six wickets to jump three places to 23rd in the bowling rankings.
Holder was joined by speedster Shannon Gabriel whose nine-wicket haul saw him rise one place to 18th, further consolidating his spot in the top 20.
It was Gabriel's heroics which broke the backbone of England's batting in the second innings when he picked up five wickets.
Several West Indies batsmen also enjoyed upward movement. Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, who struck 61 in the first innings, jumped seven places to 37th, while experienced opener Kraigg Brathwaite halted his recent downward slide by leaping four spots to 48th, following his first innings top score of 65.
Roston Chase has moved three places up to 45th while Jermaine Blackwood, whose superb 95 led West Indies' successful run chase on Sunday's final day, has been rewarded with a 14-point rise to 58th.
There was no change at the top of the batting and bowling rankings with Australians Steve Smith and Pat Cummins, respectively, occupying the leading spots.