The Sun-Herald, 24.05.15 ‘Michael Holding says sledging could lead to on-field fight if cricket authorities don’t step in’, Daniel Lane
West Indies great Michael Holding fears sledging could lead to the ugly spectacle of top-flight cricket’s first fight on the pitch and admitted he would never have accepted the verbal abuse dished out by players such as David Warner during the Australian summer.
Holding, 61, said the amount of aggression in matches was unacceptable and he grinned when asked if he was ever sledged by an opponent when he was a member of the West Indies pace attacks of the 1970s and 1980s.
“Not if they wanted to survive,” he said. “When I played I cannot remember any sledging. Obviously one or two people would pass a remark or two but what I see now, whenever people are walking off the cricket field, people are in their face saying whatever they’re saying.
“If that happened to me … I was a little bit hot-blooded when I was a young man bowling fast and if that happened on the cricket field then it wouldn’t have ended there.
“This idea once you get off the cricket field everything is fine. No, you don’t get personal with me and then get off the field and we’ll be friends. No. No, no. no.”
The paceman, who was nicknamed Whispering Death by English umpire Dickie Bird because he couldn’t hear the Jamaican speedster as he ran in to bowl, fears the world will soon witness the unthinkable, two opponents in the so-called gentleman’s game trading punches over a sledge that cut too close to the bone.
“One day someone will do it,” he replied when asked about the possibility of an on-field fight. “When you are on the cricket field you’re supposed to be batting and bowling, [but] there’s nothing wrong with talking to people and having a joke and even passing a sarcastic remark during a game, because I’ve seen that, I’ve heard it.
“But you don’t get personal with people. Something is going to happen one day and then they’ll realise they’ve gone too far.”…
Holding, who is a patron for the Learning for a Better World (LBW) Trust charity, which pays for education in the Third World, helps youth in Jamaica by providing scholarships on the condition the money was not used to improve their sporting prowess.
“The money goes into an account in their parents’ or guardian’s name and the building society pays the bills,” he said. “Invoices are provided whether they’re for lunches, books, uniforms, but I don’t want them to use that money to buy a cricket bat because the aim of the scholarship is for them to improve their life, not their cricket, because you have some mediocre people who are cricketers and I want to build quality people for Jamaica.”
The Sun-Herald 24.05.15
Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald, n.d.