Cricket

Fast bowlers breaking down despite facilities beats me: Holding

He may be ‘Whispering Death’ on the field, but off it, Michael Holding is a genial man.

Recently, a waiter at a Thai restaurant in Southampton, asked him: “Hope the day has been good?” Holding said: “It is always good maan!” The waiter probed: “No boring days?” Holding shook his head and said: “Even boring days are good maan, look at what is happening in the Middle-East! Out here, we are lucky.”

The West Indies fast bowling legend, who troubled acclaimed batsmen in his prime, is now content with his life as a commentator. An enduring love for cricket, a fondness for his nation Jamaica, a clear perspective about the world at large and a refusal to live in a bubble that his status naturally bequeaths (Indian bowling coach Joe Dawes recently referred to him as ‘royalty in fast bowling’) helps Holding stay grounded.

During a freewheeling chat with a few members of the media, Holding spoke about some issues besides lapsing into nostalgia.

Excerpts:

INDIA TALES 1983

We thought we already won the World Cup and that’s why we lost that final.

Brave Indian batsmen

I can recall Mohinder Amarnath and Dilip Vengsarkar and from the earlier period, Sunil Gavaskar and G.R. Viswanath. I don’t know what’s the reason, but (Malcolm) Marshall hated Vengsarkar.

GOOD OLD DAYS

Pace quartet

Our role was to get the batsmen out. If one didn’t get, the other should get, that was our job. We never sat together and discussed about targeting a specific batsman. We just focussed on whoever was batting.

That famous picture of him kicking the stumps in New Zealand

The funny thing is that the guy who took the picture had no clue. He wasn’t a cricket photographer, someone assigned him to shoot cricket that day, he came, clicked and it’s only in the darkroom when they were developing the photos that they realised.

Viv Richards and Courtney Walsh

I have bowled to Viv in domestic matches and at that time our domestic cricket was the toughest in the world. Walsh and I used to room together and talk cricket. He and (Curtly) Ambrose were the last of our world class bowlers.

Regrets?

Wish we had played Pakistan more. It was a difficult team to beat. Imran (Khan) was a good captain; he was a good motivator and made his team play for him. (Javed) Miandad was a good batsman. People say that he never got out lbw in Pakistan but still he was a good batsman.

MODERN TIMES

Young fast bowlers breaking down. It beats me, I mean they have bio-mechanics experts, nutritionists, trainers, the best of facilities and still they break down.

The 15- degree clause for suspect action.

That’s the rule and we have to go by it. They say only beyond 15 degrees is a bent arm palpable to the naked eye. So we go by it.

Coaching?

I cannot coach. I am fine with players coming and talking to me, seeking knowledge, I am available for that. Sometime back I was trying to help my daughter with her work and after a point I just lost it because I don’t have the patience.

Commentary lessons

I learnt initially from Richie Benaud and Ian Chappell and at one point I was a regular on Channel Nine.

Jamaica and those runners

Everyone sprints in Jamaica; I met (Usain) Bolt once on a flight. We were flying from Kingston to London and we had a chat, he knew me and he follows cricket.

How about contributing to West Indies cricket?

When someone doesn’t want you, will you force yourself on them?


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 4:52:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/fast-bowlers-breaking-down-despite-facilities-beats-me-michael-holding/article6284921.ece

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