Balanced workload critical for all-formats trio, says Coley
West Indies' Jason Holder (right) celebrates with teammate Raymon Reifer after the dismissal of South Africa's Simon Harmer (left) during the third day of the second Test match at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg recently. (Photo: AFP)

EAST LONDON, South Africa (CMC) — Interim West Indies Head Coach Andre Coley says players competing in all formats for the regional side need to be managed carefully in order ensure their continued freshness.

Three players — all-rounders Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers, along with fast bowler Alzarri Joseph — all featured in the two-Test series against South Africa earlier this month, and are also in the West Indies squad to face the hosts in the white-ball series starting here Thursday.

The trio also campaigned in the inaugural SA20 hosted by Cricket South Africa back in January.

"It's important for us to find that balance for the players," said Coley.

"Yes, I know they want to play for West Indies — and we want our best players to play for West Indies — but the balance is important and it's also their livelihood.

"So if we can, over the next 12 months, plan out with the key members of the different squads to work out how we can best manage the load — not only in international cricket but in franchise cricket to keep everyone as fresh as possible — I think we have a better chance of being more competitive."

Former Test Captain Holder featured in seven matches for Durban Super Giants in the SA20 before turning out in both Tests for West Indies in the recent series, gathering 118 runs from four innings with one half-century, and taking seven wickets.

The 26-year-old Joseph, meanwhile, also turned out in seven matches in the SA20 for Joburg Super Kings and then led West Indies' Test attack earlier this month with 12 wickets at 18 apiece.

Mayers struggled in the Test series on the back of a heavy schedule in the SA20, the left-hander gathering only 54 runs even though he picked up seven wickets.

"Jason is always someone who gives their all, like the majority of the players. I knew [on the final morning of the last Test] he was one fumes, literally," Coley said.

"He's always someone who has raised their hands up and says 'Coach, I'm going to give you everything today.' He continues to be a valuable member of our team.

"Because of the volume of bowling he's required to do occasionally he ends up batting at number eight and then has to have a heavy workload, batting and bowling."

He continued: "I believe Jason has a lot of value to add, not only in Test cricket but across all formats. As you know, he's in the three squads so it becomes important for us to manage him or to help him manage himself, not just physically but mentally because he — just like some of the other players — puts in a lot.

"Alzarri plays franchise cricket around the world and is also in the three squads; he's also a young person that we're looking to be a leader in the future so, definitely, just managing those players [is important]."

The white-ball series against South Africa, comprising three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals, wraps up March 28 — three days before the start of the Indian Premier League where Holder will feature for Rajasthan Royals, Joseph for Gujarat Titans, and Mayers for Lucknow Super Giants.

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