Cricketer turned commentator Michael Holding believes British society and its media are all talk and little action when it comes to championing equal rights for all, more specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler turned pundit, Michael Holding, has revealed his powerful, impassioned plea for an end to institutionalised racism had just come ‘spilling’ out, following the death of American George Floyd.

Floyd’s death, at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin last year, prompted global outcry and worldwide protests.  In response to the incident, Holding gave powerful testimony about racial injustice, during Sky Cricket's coverage of England against West Indies in July 2020.

Holding won the Sports Journalists' Association (SJA) Award for Best Pundit in 2020 at the SJA Awards and Sky Sports won the Sports Network of the Year category.  The Sports Pundit award is decided by an SJA Members' vote.

The West Indian revealed the speak has simply come from thoughts that have been buried deep in his consciousness for a number of years now.

"People don't understand what it is like to go through life and always thinking that people think less of you than what you think of yourself,” Holding said at the online awards ceremony.

"It can be a little bit tiring and when I got that opportunity it just came spilling out,” he added.

He, however, holds out hope that the process that could lead to lasting change has already begun.

"If you just look at the protests on the road and look at the faces of the people that were on the road. I saw a Swedish women's football team take a knee before a game, so it is going all over the world that people are recognising that things need to be done, and it's about time it did."

West Indies legend Sir Andy Roberts insists the region’s fall off in producing top-class bowling talent is due to the unwillingness of the current generation to put in the hard yards required to be successful.

For decades, the region was the producer of fearsome fast bowling talent, which often left opposition batsmen with plenty to think about.  The likes of Roberts, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Wes Hall, and Michael Holding are only a few of the names who could leave opponents with plenty to dread once they strode to the crease.

Many will point to the pace-bowling lineage being broken with the end of twin towers Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, with no bowler since managing to come close to consistency matching that once fearsome legacy.

“I don’t think that these guys are prepared for the hard work that fast bowling entails,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest program.

“If you look at it, most players now prefer to play T20s, it's only four overs.  I must say that fast bowling is hard work, I would say donkey work, but I just believe they are not prepared,” he added.

In recent times, some have blamed poor preparation of the region’s pitches for suffocation of the Caribbean’s fast bowling talent, Roberts, however, does not agree.

“A lot of people blame the pitches, but I always ask, Pakistan is supposed to have some of the slowest pitches in the world, yet still they produce some of the fastest bowlers in the world.  How do they do it and we can’t,” Roberts said.

 “People believe that during the 60s, 70s, and 80s we used to have really fast pitches, that is far from the truth.  We used to have Kensington Oval, the ball used to swing around and move off the seam on the first day, but after that, it became one of the best batting pitches in the region.  It has nothing to do with pitches, it has a lot to do with the work ethics of the young cricketers, they don’t want to work hard.”

Former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, believes the upcoming and current generation of fast bowlers will only reach their full potential if they spend more time thinking on the pitch.

For many decades the Windies was known for producing generations of fearsome fast bowlers.  The likes of Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshal, and Michael Holding filled the hearts of countless opposition batsmen with fear for decades.

 A new generation of Windies bowlers, led by Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel along with youngster Alzarri Joseph has shown some promise, in recent times, but are yet to scale the heights reached by the golden generation.  Lloyd, who captained and played alongside many of the region’s top fast bowlers, has insisted the players had more than just pace.

“The thing with our fast bowlers is that they all did something different, it wasn’t just inswingers or outswingers.  They bowled different things.  So, when you came to bat against our players, you had to be at the top of your game and that’s why they were successful,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest program.

“There was no let-up.  We didn’t just have fast bowlers; we had thinking fast bowlers.  They were not calypso cricketers,” he added.    

 

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