Jamaica (Agencies): Michael Holding, one of the most revered commentators of world cricket and known for his strong views and razor-sharp comments, has decided to hang up the mic. He has already informed his decision to his employers in the UK and South Africa.
“My decision is very personal and only my employers know my situation which I will not make public so sorry,” the 66-year-old former West Indies fast bowler, told Mirror confirming his decision to retire from broadcasting. Holding started his commentary career in 1991 and has been with the Sky for 21 years. He elaborated about his decision to Mason and Guest radio programme in Barbados. “I am not too sure how much further than 2020 I will be going with commentary. I cannot see myself going much further down the road at my age. I am 66 years old now, I am not 36, 46 or 56,” he told the show host, Andrew Mason. “I told [Sky] that I could not commit to more than a year at a time,” he said. “If this year gets totally destroyed, I might have to think about 2021 because I can’t just walk away from Sky, a company that has done so much good for me.”
Stentorian voice and an inimitable Caribbean accent, Holding never minced words and his candidness went to the point when his employers had to tell him to restrain himself. He still called spade a spade. At last year’s World Cup in England, Holding was asked by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to restrain himself and not criticise the organisers and he shot back telling the world body that he cannot compromise on his principles.
The ICC directive, first reported by Mirror from England, had come after Holding hit out controversial decisions of the umpires during the West Indies-Australia league match. Holding had called umpiring ‘atrocious’ and ‘weak’ in a game that the West Indies lost by 15 runs.
Holding, known as Whispering Death for his fiery pace in a playing career of 60 Tests and 102 ODIs, always stood by his principles. Once he decided to not commentate on Twenty20 cricket and he stood by it despite offers of lucrative contracts. He also refused to do commentary for the West Indies cricket after he fell out with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
He had famously said that he and his wife popped a bottle of wine after Dave Cameron lost the WICB election. “They don’t want to hear the truth (on West Indies cricket),” he had once said.