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.    

 

Cricket commentator Michael Holding believes Nicholas Pooran should be playing Test cricket despite the fact that he has not played much first-class cricket.

Cricket commentator has taken the England Cricket Board to task for not continuing the practice of players taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) for their series against both Pakistan and now Australia.

West Indies fast-bowling legend has laid into Jofra Archer after the England pacer flouted the bio-secure protocols and was dropped from the team for the second Test in the #raisethebat series at Old Trafford.

There was no play on today’s third day because of persistent rain, with England having batted for the majority of the two days prior.

With the West Indies leading the series 1-0, scores in the second Test are England 469-9 declared and the West Indies 32-1.

“I have no sympathy at all. I don't understand why people can't just do what is required,' Holding said during an interview with Sky Sports.

According to the Sky Sports commentator and pundit, the sacrifices the teams have had to make to make the series a reality are relatively small and should not elicit actions such as Archer’s.

Archer, during his trip from Southampton where the first Test was played to Manchester for the second, rerouted to his house before making his way to the venue.

The pacer was forced to miss the Test as he had to self-quarantine and has since been fined by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ahead of the possibility of playing in the third Test should he test negative for COVID-19.

“Talking about sacrifices - Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a little cell and he did nothing wrong - that is a sacrifice,” said Holding.

Holding did not have kind words for the ECB either, suggesting they hadn’t thought all the protocols for the series out well enough.

“Why aren't the England team travelling on a bus? If they have already passed the COVID test and everyone is together, they have six matches and are moving from one venue to another, why aren't they just all on a bus?” Holding questioned.

“Why are they allowed to travel by car? People need to just think a bit,” said Holding.

Fast-bowling legend-turned-legendary commentator, Michael Holding, effortlessly threw case studies here and there while backing up his views on the issue of racism.

West Indies fast bowler turned respected commentator, Michael Holding, has over the years developed a reputation for being outspoken. He just tells it like it is. On Wednesday, prior to the start of the #RaiseYourBat Series between the West Indies and England, he was at his best delivering a powerful message against racism.

The fast-bowling great, speaking on Skysports was asked his views on the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, delivered a poignant lesson on how education and religion helped brainwash the world against people of colour.

 “Education is important, unless we just want to continue living the life that we are living and continue having demonstrations every now and then and a few people saying a few things,” Holding said.

“When I say education I say going back in history. What people need to understand is that these things stem from a long time ago, hundreds of years ago. The dehumanisation of the black race is where it started. People will tell you that ‘oh it’s a long time ago, get over it’. No, you don’t get over things like that.”

He mentioned another recent incident in the United States that brought into stark focus, just how ingrained racism has become.

“That lady in central park in New York (Amy Cooper). If she did not have in her DNA the thought process that she is white and this man is black and ‘if I call a police officer, nine times out of 10 he is going to be white and I will be considered right immediately. The black guy will have to prove that he is not guilty and by the time he has to prove that he might be dead,” Holding remarked.

“She had that in her mind from day one and that is why she said and did what she did. How do you get rid of that in society? By educating both black and white.”

Highlighting that he was not much of a religious person, Holding said that religion has brainwashed much of the world against people of colour.

“As a young man I didn’t understand what brainwashing is; now I do. We have been brainwashed. Even white people have been brainwashed,” Holding said.

“I go back many years, think about religion. You and I both are Christians. Look at Jesus Christ. The image that they give of Jesus Christ, pale skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Where Jesus came from, who in that part of the world looks that way? Again, that is brainwashing, this is to show, ‘look this is what perfection is, this is what the image of perfection is.’

“If you look at the plays of those days. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is a black man. Again brainwashing people to think, ‘oh he is a black man, he is the bad man’.”

He also spoke about how those recording history have deliberately ignored achievements by people of African heritage.

“We all know who invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison invented it. Edison invented the light bulb with a paper filament; it burnt out in no time at all. Can you tell me who invented the filament that makes these lights shine throughout? Nobody knows because he was a black man and it was not taught in schools. Lewis Howard Latimer invented the carbon filament because of which lights continuously shine, who knows that?” he asked.

 “Everything should be taught. When I go back I remember my school days, I was never taught anything good about black people. And you cannot have a society that is brought up like that, both whites and blacks, which is only taught what is convenient to the teacher.”

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts believes Shimron Hetmyer erred when deciding to forego the West Indies tour of England.

The Master Blaster, Sir Viv Richards, is English county cricket's greatest overseas player. This, according to BBC Sport users, who voted on the best players from each of the 17 counties. Each winner then went through to an overall vote.

When the final votes were tallied, the former West Indies captain had secured an astonishing 43.2 per cent of the final vote, finishing ahead of another former West Indies captain, Sir Clive Lloyd (9.2 per cent), and ex-New Zealand all-rounder Sir Richard Hadlee who won 8.5 per cent of the vote.

West Indies bowling legend Michael Holding believes the team’s previously strong performances against England should give them plenty of confidence heading into next month’s Test series.

England are currently ranked at fourth in the world, four places above the eight-ranked West Indies.  On paper, it should be a comfortable win for the home team.  But, although the Windies have not managed to get any sort of result in the UK since 1995 and have not won a series there since 1998, the regional team has put in some solid performances, including when they last visited in 2017.

On that occasion, the West Indies were obliterated in the first Test but rebounded strongly on the back of two centuries from Shai Hope to win the second.  England went on to win the third Test.  Holding believes that particular battling performance and the fact that the Caribbean team turned the tables on the Englishmen on their last visit to the region will give the team some hope heading into the series.

“West Indies lost 2-1 when they were in England the last time.  They didn’t play that badly…the second Test match will have showed them that they are able to compete in England,” Holding said on youtube podcast Mikey – Holding nothing back.

“They are about 75 percent of the guys who toured England in this same squad, so it won’t be anything new for them.  So that should give them a little bit of help mentally and of course, they have the Wisden Trophy.  They beat England in the Caribbean and that should spur them on to make sure they retain that Wisden Trophy.  That is a big thing for them,” he added.

 

 

Michael Holding played his first ODI on August 26, 1976, against England.  He took 2 for 38 in the match the West Indies won by six wickets with 84 balls to spare.

Fast and accurate, Holding, over the next decade, took wickets consistently as a member of the all-conquering West Indies team. In 102 matches, Holding claimed 142 wickets at an average of 21.36 and an economy of 3.32.

In the Prudential World Cup in 1979, Holding returned 4 for 33 from his 12 overs as the West Indies dismissed India for 190 before going on to win by nine wickets with 8.3 overs to spare.

During the Benson and Hedges World Series in January 1980, Holding produced a masterful performance with the ball, returning figures of 4 for 17 from 9.3 overs as the West Indies restricted Australia to 190 all out. However, it all went for nought as the West Indies lost the match by nine runs.

Five years later and again in the Benson and Hedges World Series, Holding would deliver a match-winning spell against Australia returning his best bowling figures of 5 for 26, dismissing them for 178. The West Indies then scored 179 for 3 to score a convincing seven-wicket win.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Michael Anthony Holding

Born: February 16, 1954 (66), Half-Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica

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

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

ODI Career: West Indies (1976-1987)

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

102         102        5473       3034      142        5/26       5/26       21.36     3.32       38.5       5             1             0

 

Career highlights

  • Never bowled a wide in 900 overs of international cricket
  • He picked up 142 wickets in 102 ODIs
  • ODI Bowling Average: 21.36
  • Has one 5 wicket haul in ODIs

In this story that was initially published on Friday, May 15, 2020, the writer inadvertently attributed comments from the Dominica Cricket Association in relation to funds earmarked for the Dominica Cricket Academy to Mr Tony Astaphan. Those comments were actually made by Glen Joseph President of the DCA. Sportsmax.TV sincerely apologizes for the error and any harm that may have been caused to Mr Astaphan. 

 

 

 

Did Cricket West Indies (CWI) run the risk of being involved in money laundering when it acted as a conduit for more than US$100,000 intended for the development of cricket in Dominica in 2018?

That and more are questions being asked by auditors and former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, who spoke out on the issue which was among several red flags raised by auditors in a recent report on the operations of the CWI.

According to Holding’s reading of the audit, that CWI has reportedly classified as ‘confidential’, but which the fast bowler characterized as damning and harsh, in 2018, the CWI received funds of US$134,200 from a sponsor on or about August 8, 2018, on behalf of the Dominica Cricket Association (DCA).

The money was received from a third party, which appeared to be an offshore corporation, Holding explained.

The auditors, Holding said, wrote that it was unclear why the funds did not go directly to the DCA.

However, the auditors, according to Holding, said the money was paid over to the DCA in three tranches; US$104,100 on November 16, 2018; US$15,700 on August 15, 2019, and US$14,400 on September 21, 2019. “In this particular situation, CWI was the financial conduit,” the auditors are quoted by Holding as adding.

The situation has created some underlying concerns.

“What due diligence was performed to ensure that the source of the funds was legitimate and that the funds were clean from an anti-money laundering compliance perspective,” Holding read.

According to Holding, the auditors also wanted to know what measures were taken to minimize the risk CWI may have been involved in money laundering, noting that they were unable to find an executed agreement for the transaction.

The funds were supposed to be specifically earmarked for cricket development in Dominica. However, there was no evidence CWI obtained confirmation from the DCA that the funds were used as directed.

Holding, while speaking with host Asif Khan on ‘Michael Holding Nothing Back’, also wanted to know whether any directors of the CWI board were involved in the transaction.

The former fast bowler turned commentator was the one who brought the matter to light while speaking with Khan, revealing that he had received a copy of the auditors’ report in his email and thought the Caribbean people would be interested in hearing its contents.

He also wanted to know what process was implemented by the CWI in authorizing the transaction.

However,  Glen Joseph President for the DCA told Andrew Mason, host of the popular Mason and Guest on Friday, that he was surprised by Holding’s comments.

He said he was aware that CWI had received the money and kept it for a long period of time.

Joseph explained the CWI held onto the funds because they were having cash-flow issues and had to use the money for some operations.

“This resulted in our academy having to struggle because we had no money to run the academy so realising the fact that we needed our funds, I made a demand for these funds and I am aware that it was sent. All money that was sent was received and it was solely used for cricket development purposes,” Joseph said.

“Recently, Mr Wilbur Harrigan, who is principal of PKF, (a Dominican firm of auditors and consultants) visited during the time when CWI came to visit in connection with the upcoming game against New Zealand and asked questions on the transaction.

“We explained to him that we received the money, what the money was spent for and shortly after we were able to send him documents on the spending of the funds. There are documents to prove that these funds were used for cricket development purposes. That I can confirm for anybody.”

Joseph said anyone who wishes to get information on the issue can contact the DCA.

“We are very transparent in what we do. I try my best to ensure that we give an account for every dollar received and every dollar spent.”

However, questions remain unanswered with regards to this issue and others raised in the report Holding read, which suggest the auditors were expressing grave concern.

“We have become aware of several matters that cause consternation with respect to whether things were done in the best interest of Cricket West Indies,” Holding quoted the auditors saying.

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

The Caribbean has created many of the great cricketers in history and quite a number of them would have been greater still had they not had such keen competition for places in a stacked West Indies side.

A few weeks ago, we decided to have our own West Indies Championship featuring the all-time greatest sides from the region and a mouthwatering contest is set to unfold if you look at the teams we have come up with over the period.

Today we turn our attention to Jamaica, a country that has produced fast bowlers of the highest quality, but also every other type of cricketer you can think of. The country has had brilliant representation at the West Indies level behind the stumps, as well as with the bat.

As is usual, we invite your comments on the team we’ve selected because everybody has their favourites. For the purposes of consistency, we’ve made up the teams using six batsmen, a wicketkeeper, and four bowlers.

On occasion, somebody gets left out who people think it incredulous to do so. Do not hesitate to tell us where we went wrong by commenting under the article on Facebook or on Twitter.

 

BestXI: Jamaica

 

Chris Gayle 180 matches, 13,226 runs, 333 HS, 44.83 avg, 32 (100s), 64 (50s)

Christopher Henry Gayle’s fame and claim to greatness has come largely from his exploits in T20 cricket. However, the tall, powerful, imposing left-hander, even before that was one of the most dominant batsmen in Jamaica’s rich cricketing history. Gayle has scored more first-class runs than any cricketer the country has produced. His 13,226 runs have come at a healthy average of 44.83, only surpassed by Maurice Foster and the colossus of West Indies cricket, George Headley. Gayle has also scored 32 centuries in the format, again, the figure is only surpassed by Headley, who has 33. But Gayle stands alone in the number of half-centuries he has scored, slamming 64 of them.

 

Easton McMorris – 95 matches, 5906 runs, 218 HS, 42.18 avg, 18 (100s), 22 (50s)

Easton McMorris struggled for the West Indies when he got his chances at that level in the early 1960s, but for Jamaica, he was immense, averaging 42.18 as an opener and scoring 18 centuries and 22 fifties in just 95 matches, ending his career with 5,906 runs under his belt.

 

George Headley - 103 matches, 9921 runs, 344* HS, 69.86 avg, 33 (100s), 44 (50s)

George Headley needs no introduction really, his 22-match stint at the very top of cricket is legendary, but as a first-class cricketer, he was even more consistent, averaging nearly 70 over the course of 103 games. He scored 9,921 runs, including 33 centuries and 44 half-centuries.

 

Lawrence Rowe – 149 matches, 8755 runs, 302 HS, 37.57 avg, 18 (100s), 38 (50s)

Lawrence Rowe’s first-class average of 37.57 belies the impact he had on the game in Jamaica and certainly throughout the Caribbean. Crowds would come to regional matches just to see ‘Yagga’ bat. But he wasn’t bereft of runs when his career ended, scoring 18 centuries and 38 fifties from his 149 matches. The style with which he put together the majority of the 8,755 runs he scored was something to watch. According to teammate, Michael Holding, Rowe was the best batsman he ever saw. Unfortunately, Rowe was troubled with his eyesight, as well as an allergy to grass, of all things. That may have spoilt his performances somewhat, but at his best, there was no better batsman.

 

Maurice Foster 112 matches, 6731 runs, 234 HS, 45.17, 17 (100s), 35 (50s)

Maurice Foster was one of the most prolific runscorers in the 1960s and 70s and it was said, his ability to play fast bowling came from his love for table tennis where he was a West Indies champion at one time. In just 112 matches, Foster notched up 6,731 runs at an average of 45.17, only bettered by the great George Headley. In those six thousand plus runs can be found 17 first-class centuries and 35 half-centuries to boot.

 

Collie Smith 70 matches, 4031 runs, 169 HS, 40.31 avg, 10 (100s), 20 (50s)

Collie Smith died at the age of 26, but in that short time, the space between a boy and a man, he managed to score 10 centuries and 20 half-centuries in first-class cricket. Of course, by the time he was 26, his prodigious talent meant he had already represented the West Indies 26 times, scoring four centuries and six half-centuries. For Jamaica, he would play 70 times, amassing 4,031 runs at an average of 40.31.   

 

Jeffrey Dujon – 200 matches, 9763 runs, 163* HS, 39.05 avg, 21 (100s), 50 (50s)

A wicketkeeper averaging nearly 40 is a luxury. But his batting was only part of the story, as Dujon had to keep wicket for the West Indies during a period when it was notoriously difficult. Pace, real pace was hard to react to from behind the stumps but Dujon made his acrobatic catches so commonplace, they ceased to be a thing. At the first-class level, Dujon would claim 469 victims, 22 of those went to stumpings. But Dujon can also be proud of the 21 centuries he put together in 200 matches, as well as the 50 half-centuries that were part of his 9,763 runs with the bat.

 

Michael Holding – 222 matches, 778 wkts, 23.43 avg, 49.9 SR

The Rolls Royce of pace bowling, the man known as ‘Whispering Death’, has claimed 778 first-class wickets, standing only behind Courtney Walsh who had a markedly longer career. Holding would end his after 222 matches and his wicket tally would be taken at an average of 23.43 with a good strike rate of 49.9. A student of the game, Holding would outthink batsmen, even as he delivered with blistering pace that could shock you into doing altogether the wrong thing.

 

Courtney Walsh – 429 matches, 1,807 wkts, 21.71 avg, 47.2 SR

Courtney Walsh took a wicket every 47 balls during his long first-class career. That career would span 429 matches and include 1,807 wickets, making anything any Jamaican ever did with the ball, minuscule. His strike rate was better than Holding’s and so was his average. The stingy Walsh would only give up 21.71 runs for every wicket he took. A generally jovial, charismatic man, with ball in hand, he transformed into a bit of a grinch and is arguably the greatest pace bowler the country has produced.

 

Patrick Patterson – 161 matches, 493 wkts, 27.51 avg, 49.3 SR

Patrick Patterson drove fear into batsmen, even those who claim to like the quick stuff. Patterson, with his trademark shuffle to the crease and that high-lifting boot that would signal what’s to come, was devastating and on occasion, unplayably quick. He would end his 161-match first-class career with 493 wickets at an average of 27.51. His strike rate of 49.3 was also something to behold.

 

Nikita Miller – 100 matches, 538 wkts, 16.31 avg, 48.9 SR

Nikita Miller is the most prolific bowler in the history of Jamaican cricket. In just 100 first-class matches, Miller bagged 538 wickets at an average of 16.31. His strike rate of 48.9 is better than all his potential fast-bowling teammates. Miller has taken 10 wickets in a first-class innings on 12 occasions and also has 35 five-wicket hauls to go with the 36 occasions he took four in an innings. Between 2005 and 2019, Miller single-handedly orchestrated many of Jamaica’s victories. 

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