You might be aware that he has been one of the fastest bowlers ever to play Test cricket, but did you know that Michael Holding has taste buds for desi delicacies? “I not only enjoy Indian cuisine when I visit the country, but I’m a regular visitor to Indian restaurants when I’m in the UK, especially London. Indian food is not just in India, it’s everywhere,” the 58-year-old told us over the phone from London.
Called ‘Whispering Death’ due to his quiet but pacy approach to the bowling crease, Holding also reminisces about his India visits and the friends for life he has made here. “I only toured India once as a player (1983-84). But I also came here for various tours as a commentator and enjoyed each visit,” he says, adding, “I have made some lasting friendships among ‘the opposition’ and names such as Ravi Shastri, Anshuman Gaekwad and Sunil Gavaskar come readily to my mind.”
Currently beguiling fans with his deep fruity measured Jamaican twang in the commentary box, Holding is also taking pride in the Stevan Riley directed British documentary film, Fire in Babylon, which is about the record-breaking West Indies team of the 1970s and 1980s. It features stock footage and interviews with several former players and officials, including Colin Croft, Deryck Murray, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Andy Roberts, apart from Holding. It hits the Indian screens today. “The story that Fire in Babylon is trying to tell is the story of the development and recognition of a region (West Indies) through sport, in this case — cricket and music. It shows how people from the Caribbean, both those living in and outside of the region, got recognition and respect through what the team was doing on the field of play,” says Holding.
No Holding back...
Full Name: Michael Anthony Holding
Birthday: February 16, 1954
Birth place: Kingston, Jamaica
Teams: West Indies, Canterbury, Derbyshire, Jamaica, Lancashire, Tasmania
Batting Style: Right-handed
Nickname: Whispering Death
Current job: Commentator
He used his height (6’3”) to generate large amounts of bounce and zip off the pitch.