Holding blasts ICC 'censorship' attempts - Former fast bowler won't back down on umpire criticism

By Sports Desk June 12, 2019
Michael Holding Michael Holding

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.”

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