Michael Holding is a former West Indian cricketer, considered one of the fastest bowlers ever to play Test cricket. He was nicknamed “Whispering Death” by umpire Dickie Bird due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease. Mickee (as he is known) is now a well respected Sky TV commentator and cricket pundit.
Mike Selvey described his bowling action and career as ‘It began intimidatingly far away. He turned, and began the most elegant long-striding run of them all, feet kissing the turf silently, his head turning gently and ever so slightly from side to side, rhythmically, like that of a cobra hypnotising its prey. Good batsmen tended not to watch him all the way lest they became mesmerised. To the umpires he was malevolent stealth personified so they christened him Whispering Death. No-one in the game has bowled faster.
His over to Geoff Boycott in the cauldron of Kensington Oval early in 1981 has gone down in history as the finest, fastest, most ferocious gambit of all time. Five years earlier, towards the end of the drought-ridden summer of 1976, The Oval had become a wasteland, parched beyond recognition, with slow flat heart-breaking pitches, and it was on this, in the final Test of the season, through the simple device of bowling ramrod-straight at high pace and to a full length, that he conjured 14 wickets for 149, the finest match figures ever by a West Indian. Now in the commentary box, he is gentle but fearless, a rational critic who beguiles with his deep fruity measured Jamaican twang’.
After retiring from cricket he ran a petrol station in Kingston called “Michael Holding’s Service Centre”, employing several people who were members of Melbourne Cricket Club of which he was a member. The business was initially successful, though Mikee found it stressful. Broadcasting began to take up more of his time, and while he was away the petrol station suffered so in 1995 he decided to sell. The former fast bowler also considered taking up umpiring, though not as a profession, and considered pursuing qualifications to umpire in domestic matches in Jamaica but his time was taken up with managing the petrol station and broadcasting. Michael is probably best known to a new generation of cricket watchers as a regular and outspoken member of the Sky Sports cricket commentary team.
He had never aspired to becoming a commentator but he was friends with a producer at Radio Jamaica who invited him to commentate on cricket. This led to him working around the Caribbean, but at this stage work was not regular enough to be his main source of income. Holding made his transition from radio commentator to television in 1990 when cricket in the Caribbean was broadcast on Sky television around the world for the first time. Two local commentators were chosen and Holding was picked alongside Tony Cozier at the latter’s recommendation. He became a broadcaster as a member of the Sky Sports cricket commentary team, as well as being a semi-regular member of the Channel 9 cricket commentary team in Australia led by Richie Benaud.
He has a love for Horse Racing and stays in Newmarket when he is in England for the cricketing summer. Book Micheal Holding today!
Recognition for Services to Sport
On Thursday 9th May 2013, Michael Holding received an Honorary Degree and Life Time Achievement Award at the University of East London.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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