West Indies fast bowling legend and outspoken pundit Michael Holding has pleaded for the inclusion of former opener Desmond Haynes in the regional team’s plans going forward.

Haynes, also a member of the legendary West Indies teams of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, has continually expressed interest in occupying the position of head coach and has often received the endorsement of several prominent former players.

The 63-year-old had been in the running for the position, which was recently up for grabs, but Cricket West Indies (CWI) choose to appoint his former opening partner Phil Simmons instead.  Despite not getting the position, Holding is confident that Haynes and others who applied for the post still have plenty to offer to the region and should be included in some way or the other.

 “ I would hope that they (CWI) wouldn’t just turn their backs and say ‘Phil Simmons is the coach; that’s it – the rest of you can just sit down and wait until something else comes up,” Holding told the Line & Length cricket podcast.

“I would hope that Phil Simmons would look at the people who also applied and think to himself ‘ok, I can use some of these people in my set­up. Let me try and get these people under my wing and help this West Indies team’.”

 

Windies fast bowling legend Michael Holding has hit out at what he terms attempts at ‘censorship’ from the ICC, after formal requests made by the cricket body to cut down on criticism of umpires on air.

The former West Indies paceman was heavily critical of the umpiring during the West Indies vs Australia last week.  He was, however, far from the only one as the game featured several high-profile errors.

West Indies opener Chris Gayle was given out twice, while facing an over from Mitchell Starc, with both calls later overturned via the decisions review system.  The batsman was dismissed lbw in the next over from Starc but replays showed the previous delivery had been a huge no-ball. The ball that dismissed the West Indian should, therefore, have been free hit.

Later, two more on-field decisions were overturned. The first was reviewed by Jason Holder after he was initially sent back to the pavilion lbw, sweeping to Glenn Maxwell, the ball just pitching outside leg.

Holder then successfully reviewed once more, attempting to sweep Adam Zampa, with ball-tracker showing the ball would have comfortably missed leg stump. 

Holding, who called the umpiring ‘atrocious’, expressed the belief that the officials were being pressured by strong appeals from the players.

In response, the ICC in an email to Holding and other commentators pointed out “the importance of maintaining the highest standards and uphold the game’s best values and spirit while covering the tournament”.

Never one to hold back on his opinions, the player turned pundit claimed commentators were being increasingly “compromised by controlling organisations to the point of censorship”.

“If those umpires were FIFA officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home. They would not have been given another World Cup game to officiate. As a former cricketer, I think cricket should be held to a higher standard. Is the objective to protect the umpires even when they do a bad job?” Holding said in a reply accessed and published by The Times of India newspaper.

 “I am sorry, but I am not going to be part of that. Please let me know if I should be heading back to my home in Newmarket instead of heading to Cardiff because I don’t agree with what is being suggested here and happy not being part of it.”

West Indies fast bowling legend Michael Holding added to critical of umpiring decisions during the Windies, Australia match, suggesting the officials allowed themselves to be bullied.

The officials, Chris Gaffaney and Ruchira Palliyagurge, made several questionable decisions during the match, particularly as it related to Windies batting star Chris Gayle. 

The 39-year-old was given out twice by Gaffaney, while facing an over from Mitchell Starc.  Both calls were later overturned via the decisions review system. 

The drama was far from over for the big left-hander, however.  In Starc’s next over he was dismissed lbw.  Replays showed that on this occasion the batsman was indeed out, but further reviews showed the previous delivery from Starc was a huge no ball.  The delivery that eventually dismissed Gayle should have been a free hit.

Palliyaguruge later had two on-field decisions overturned. The first was reviewed by Jason Holder after he was initially sent back to the pavilion lbw, sweeping to Glenn Maxwell, the ball just pitching outside leg. Holder successfully reviewed once more, attempting to sweep Adam Zampa, with ball-tracker showing the ball would have comfortably missed leg stump.

"The umpiring in this game has been atrocious," Holding said while doing television commentary.

"For one, even when I was playing and you were not as strict as they are now, you were allowed one appeal. You don't appeal two, three, four times to the umpire.

 "They are being intimidated which means they are weak.

"This has been an atrocious bit of umpiring by both."

 

Legendary West Indies fast bowler turned commentator Michael Holding has rejected the notion of an increase in the use of stump microphones, which some have argued will benefit the game of cricket.

Debate in the public sphere has raged, as of late, after the devices played the role in the sanctioning of two players.  Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was banned for four matches after being accused of directing a ‘homophobic’ jibe toward England captain Joe Root.

In an ODI against South Africa, Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed was picked up on the stump mic making a racist comment to Andile Phehlukwayo and was also subsequently banned for four matches. 

Proponents of the argument have pointed to the positives of both outcomes and argued that an increase in microphones would also bring fans closer to players.  Holding, however, vehemently disagrees with the idea.  

"I had a conversation on air here in South Africa where I voiced my opinion on the stumps microphones being left on at all times.  It’s a backward step as far as I’m concerned,” Holding told Mumbai Mirror.

“The field of play and the dressing room belong to the combatants and the excuse being offered that it helps the viewers to enjoy the game is very lame.  If the public needs to hear the players on the field, it simply means the product being offered has a problem,” he added.

 

 

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