Obituary

John Holt

HOLT, JOHN KENNETH CONSTANTINE, OD, died on July 2, 1997, aged 73. J. K. Holt - also known as J. K. junior, as his father was one of Jamaica's earliest star players - showed formidable batting form for West Indies in the Test series against England in 1953-54. He was given out lbw for 94 on his Test debut at Sabina Park, his home ground. There was a near riot, and umpire Perry Burke had to be escorted home. Holt made up for this in the next Test at Bridgetown, scoring 166 with a stunning exhibition of strokeplay that made his partner, Frank Worrell, look comparatively ordinary. He made runs in the next two Tests as well: 48 not out, 64 and 40.

From then on his Test form declined, though he was appointed vice-captain for the tour of India and Pakistan in 1958-59, and scored 123 in the high-scoring draw at Delhi. He was always a strong cutter and puller, and batted on for Jamaica until 1961-62. Holt was awarded Jamaica's highest honour, the Order of Distinction, in 1976. But against Australia in 1954-55 he had dropped several catches, and the crowds at Bridgetown, who had cheered his century a year earlier, turned against him. Leslie Hylton, the former Jamaican fast bowler, was about to be executed for murdering his wife, and one group of spectators held up a placard: "Save Hylton," it said, "Hang Holt."

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