“The umpiring in this game has been atrocious,” Michael Holding said on air during the Australia – West Indies world cup encounter.
His opinion on the umpiring decisions has sparked controversy after an email was leaked between ICC and Holding. As per the Times of India, Holding has revealed an attempt from ICC officials to shut him up for his on-air remarks on umpires last week.
Holding also criticized the behaviour of some Australian players in the field after they were accused of intimidating umpires with over-the-top appeals for wickets.
“Even when I was playing and you were not as strict as they are now, you were allowed one appeal. You don’t appeal two, three, four times to the umpire. They are being intimidated, which means they are weak. This has been an atrocious bit of umpiring by both” said Holding during his commentary stint.
The criticism followed after Chris Gayle was dismissed following a huge no-ball from Mitchell Starc went undetected by the umpire Gaffaney from New Zealand.
In the email to Michael Holding, reportedly written by Sunset & Vine Asia’s Head of Production Huw Bevan, also singled out Holding’s comments at the moment when Gayle was incorrectly given out.
“We had an incident in the (WI vs. Aus) match where we highlighted on air during an analysis segment (which Holding has denied) that a no-ball should have been called. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to avoid putting on-air,” Bevan wrote.
Bevan suggested the commentary team should not be critical of umpiring decisions.
“Before the event, we went to great pains to explain to you all as senior production and commentary personnel of the need to avoid this kind of thing. It’s critical for us that we should never amplify umpires’ mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents nor show the umpires in a bad light. We should also be very careful not to look to create controversy around an event or match at any time”.
Holding surely in no mood to take any nonsense from ICC, he was severe in his reply to the email.
“If those umpires yesterday 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 wrote back.
Holding’s response to the email shows that ICC cannot bully him. He furiously wrote in his response that he is ready to pack his bag and go back home.
Holding said, “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.”
As per the TOI report, the matter has been sorted out between the ICC and Michael Holding, and he will continue to be part of the commentary team in the ongoing World Cup.