Ultimate Test XI Profile: Michael Holding

By May 12, 2020
Michael Holding Michael Holding

Michael Holding was fast. But you never knew it from the way he ambled to the crease and quietly allowed the ball to kiss the pitch before the batsman was faced with the violence of it all.

The name given to Michael Holding because of his quiet and elegant run up was, interestingly, not delivered by the batsmen who were invariably sent packing after or amid one of his spells, it came from the umpires, who never heard him approaching the wicket and could only watch as batsmen hurriedly tried to move into positions to counteract a delivery aimed solely at causing destruction.

There are many who say Holding was the quickest of all time but his Rolls Royce-esque technique made others more recognizable as genuinely scary quicks.

Bowling to England opener Geoffrey Boycott in 1981, Holding delivered six deliveries the last of which cannoned into the usually defensively sound batsman's off stump, sending it careening toward the wicketkeeper. It is widely accepted that this was the best over of all time. The five deliveries prior came at no cost, with Boycott failing to get a bat on four and edging the first just short of Vivian Richards at second slip.

It was Boycott, who at the time was the best batsman in the world, said there had never been quicker than Holding.

Holding’s career only lasted 60 Tests but in the 12 years it took to get through those games, 249 wickets fell. On one particular occasion, the West Indies toured England, who had a big-talking skipper known as Tony Greig. In an interview, Greig had said his England side were going to “make the West Indies grovel.”

In the fifth Test of the series at The Oval, with the West Indies already leading 2-0, Holding had his revenge.  

The paceman would start with 8-92 after the West Indies had racked up 687 on what was thought to be a docile pitch. Holding was 22 years old and in his first year of cricket.

Six of those eight wickets were batsmen who were bowled, while the other two were sent back, out leg before.

In his second innings with the ball, Holding would end with figures of 6-57 and was declared man of the match, despite Viv Richards 291.

It was after that game that umpire Dickie Bird coined the phrase Whispering Death.

“I couldn’t hear him when he was running in. It was the most fantastic piece of fast bowling I had ever seen,” said the experienced umpire.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Michael Anthony Holding

Born: February 16, 1954, Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Canterbury, Derbyshire, Jamaica, Lancashire, Tasmania

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1975-1987)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs       Wkts    BBI      BBM       Ave    Econ   SR    4w     5w     10w

60     113       12680    5898        249      8/92     14/149   23.68   2.79   50.9    11     13        2

 

Career Highlights

  • Nicknamed “Whispering Death”
  • Best match figures by a West Indian (14/149)
  • Captured 249 wickets at 23.68
  • Had a strike rate of 50.9
Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Related items

  • Jamaica's pearl status in the Caribbean against all the odds Jamaica's pearl status in the Caribbean against all the odds

    Last year I visited Trinidad and Tobago, met Brian Lara, did a couple of SSFL matches, walked the streets of Port of Spain, had some spicy doubles and attended the biggest party in sport. And needless to say, I fell in love with the twin-island republic. It was too short a stay.

    It was the first time visiting another Caribbean island, and I was even enamoured by the fact they had street lights, even on their highways. Because in Jamaica... in many instances ... the road is only lit by vehicular traffic.

    My friend Mariah Ramharack, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and my co-worker, saw the funny side in seeing my starry eyes.

    It is said that Paris is the city of lights. However, through the eyes of this novice wanna-be traveller, sweet, sweet T&T was all that and a bag of chips.

    That trip really opened up a craving to travel more, because being Jamaican, living in Jamaica and not travelling outside of Jamaica certainly limits my scope and my view of the world.

    Having said all of that... Jamaica is one heck of a country, and I'm proud that this is the country of my birth.

    What Jamaica has achieved as a nation, especially in sport, is incredible. We have led the way in the Caribbean and indeed much of the world in track and field, making a massive impact at the Olympics and the World Championships. Our athletes have showcased not just our talents but our culture. And I believe Jamaica's renaissance in track and field in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics is linked with the country's renaissance in tourism since that time, with tourist arrivals increasing by over 50 per cent according to tradingeconomics.com.

    We can claim to have sport's greatest-ever ambassador in Usain Bolt, and some of the greatest-ever female sprinters to grace the world in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey.

    We also have some of the most notable cricketers from George Headley to Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh to Christopher Henry Gayle.

    We also have the first black woman to win a global title in swimming – Alia Atkinson.

    And as far as team sport is concerned, our Sunshine Girls are right up there in the world of netball while our Reggae Boyz made us so proud at the 1998 World Cup in France.

    These are just the tip of a massive iceberg of representation and pride over the years which began even before our Independence in 1962 in no small part due to the aforementioned Headley as well as the likes of Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Leslie Laing.

    All of these stories were laced with adversity, which appears to be the driving force of Jamaica’s success.

    It is our blessing, and for many others who have fallen by the wayside, it is our curse.

    A cursory glimpse at the government’s expenditure on sport sees Jamaica spending far less than Trinidad and Tobago.

    Trinidad and Tobago spends roughly five times more than Jamaica and even the Bahamas spends twice as much as the land of wood and water. The economies dictate that this should be the status quo for now.

    Our emergence in the world is powered by sheer will and determination, and pressure. And maybe that is the true story of Jamaica. Because how else would pearls be made?

    Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Ultimate XI T20 Profile: Daren Sammy Ultimate XI T20 Profile: Daren Sammy

    Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy has a very tangible effect on the teams he plays on. Outside of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, the team Sammy plays on, wins.

    This is no accident either. Sammy has the ability to fill his teammates with self-belief and help drive them to a consistency of performance that generally results in trophies.

    To add to that ability, which made him the first West Indies captain to claim two World titles since Clive Lloyd won a second World Cup in 1979.

    Outside of his ability to motivate and good acumen as a captain, Sammy is also a fearsome striker of the ball and a very steady seam bowler.

    Asa bowler there is not a lot of variation to Sammy’s bowling, the medium-pacer coming up at a time when a consistent line and length were the order of the day. That may speak to why his bowling in the T20 arena tailed off toward the latter part of his career.

    Today, Sammy plays sparingly and when he does, he doesn’t bowl but is still good enough for dangerous cameos with the bat.

     

    Career Statistics (2007-present)

    Full name: Daren Julius Garvey Sammy

    Born: December 20, 1983 (36), Micoud, St Lucia

    Major teams: West Indies, Brampton Wolves, Glamorgan, Hobart Hurricanes, Kings XI Punjab, Northern Windward Islands, Nottinghamshire, Peshawar Zalmi, Rajshahi Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, St Lucia, St Lucia Zouks, Stanford Superstars, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Toronto Nationals, University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI, Windward Islands, World-XI

    Playing role: Allrounder

    Batting style: Right-hand bat

    Bowling style: Right-arm medium

     

    T20I Career – West Indies (Batting)

    Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS    Ave      BF       SR       100  50     4s     6s    

    68       52     18     587      42*   17.26    398    147.48    0      0      45     31  

    T20 Career (Batting)

    Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF      SR       100    50      4s     6s    

    308    259    74     3876      71*   20.95   2780   139.42     0      6      251    235   

     

    T20I Career – West Indies (Bowling)

    Mat   Inns   Balls   Runs     Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

    68       59      916   1116        44      5/26    5/26     25.36    7.31    20.8     1       1       0

    T20 Career (Bowling)

    Mat   Inns   Balls     Runs    Wkts    BBI     BBM      Ave    Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

    308    217    3405      4498     159      5/26    5/26     28.28   7.92    21.4     2      1         0

     

     Career Highlights

    • 2x T20 World Cup-winning captain (2012 & 16)
    • Highest strike rate in T20 WC history (164.12)
    • 587 runs in 68 T20I matches at 17.26
  • Ultimate XI T20 Profile: Daniel Vettori Ultimate XI T20 Profile: Daniel Vettori

    Daniel Vettori is a master of drift, subtle variations in flight, speed and length. The combination makes him a fabulous T20 bowler. Add his lower-order batting to that equation and you have yourself a hell of an addition to your T20 line-up.

    Easily, one of New Zealand’s greatest-ever cricketers, Vettori is considered the greatest exponent of left-arm orthodox spin since Bishen Singh Bedi.

    Often bearing the brunt of being New Zealand’s sole wicket-taker except when Shane Bond would play, had the added bonus of making him very marketable as the face of the Kiwi side and soon the Indian Premier League (IPL) would come calling.

    Vettori was bought for US$625,000 in the inaugural season of the IPL by the Delhi Daredevils with teammate and skipper Virender Sehwag calling him the best spinner in the world. He would go on to captain the Royal Challengers Bangalore, leading them to the 2011 final.

     

    Career Statistics (2006-2015)

    Full name: Daniel Luca Vettori

    Born: January 27, 1979 (41), Auckland

    Major teams: New Zealand, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Northern Districts, Nottinghamshire, Queensland, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warwickshire

    Playing role: Allrounder

    Batting style: Left-hand bat

    Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

     

    T20I Career – New Zealand

    Mat   Inns   Balls   Runs   Wkts   BBI      BBM    Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

    34       34     787     748       38     4/20     4/20    19.68   5.70    20.7     1        0      0

    T20 Career

    Mat   Inns   Balls    Runs     Wkts   BBI      BBM    Ave    Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

    143    143    3236    3424       131    4/20     4/20    26.13   6.34    24.7     1      0         0

     

    Career Highlights

    • Took 38 T20I wickets at 19.68
    • Record best T20I economy rate (5.70)
    • 1 four-wicket haul in T20I
    • 131 T20 wickets captured at 26.13
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.