Monday, 24 June, 2019

No hard feelings between ICC and Michael Holding

Michael Holding responds to ICC ‘censorship’ after criticising umpires Holding hits out at TV gagging row after West Indies legend is warned not to criticise umpires
Cary Erickson | 14 June, 2019, 21:58

After Bangladesh expressed their displeasure over the lack of reserve days in the International Cricket Council World Cup following a tournament-record third abandonment in the space of five days, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson has explained why it is practically hard to reserve days for every single match of the mega event.

Earlier in the day, the near universal condemnation by fans made the ICC issue a statement explaining its decision why it didn't keep any reserve days to accommodate washed out matches.

The former pace bowler, a high-profile TV analyst, labelled the officiating in the match between West Indies and Australia at Trent Bridge on June 6, as "atrocious".

While commentating for the match, Holding was miffed and said on air, "The umpiring in this game has been atrocious". You're allowed one appeal, you don't appeal two, three, four times to the umpire. ICC TV's duty is to reflect the values (above) and not to cast doubt or negative judgement on anything associated with the tournament in our coverage.

Holding was reportedly contacted via email by the ICC and asked to refrain from criticising the umpires - Chris Gaffaney and Ruchira Palliyaguruge - on that occasion. Holding was among several commentators to receive an email from Huw Bevan, the head of cricket at production company Sunset & Vine, urging them not to "amplify mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents".

Bevan wrote to him saying "this is exactly the kind of thing we need to avoid putting on air".

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"We have only requested them to be fair in their comment". In an interview with the Guardian, Holding once remarked: "I resigned from the ICC when they decided they wanted to change the result of the Pakistan game at the Oval (against England in 2006 from a forfeiture to a draw) because of politics. We should also be very careful not to look to create controversy around an event or match at any time", he added.

In reply to the email, Holding reportedly wrote: "If those umpires yesterday were Federation Internationale de Football Association officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home".

Holding certainly is right in expressing his express opinions over the poor standard of umpiring in as big (the biggest in fact) a tournament as the World Cup. As a former cricketer, I think cricket should be held to a higher standard.

"I am sorry, but I am not going to be part of that".

The Caribbeans were at the receiving end of some very bad umpiring decisions and lost the match by 15 runs.

He suggested if the "censorship" continued then he would consider leaving the tournament "because I don't agree with what is being suggested here and happy not being part of it".