Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding is known for his sharp and erudite commentary on cricket. Holding held centre stage last year during the West Indies tour of England as his passionate speech against racism during a broadcast on Sky Sports was lauded and appreciated by the entire cricketing fraternity and beyond.
Speaking to news daily The Indian Express, Holding expressed his strong views against T20 cricket, talking about its impact on the sport in West Indies. He also gave a stinging response when asked why he has not commentated on the Indian Premier League (IPL), arguably the most popular franchise T20 league in the world.
When asked about the revival of cricket in the West Indies, after they won the T20 World Cup for the second time in 2016, Holding said that he didn't consider the shortest format as 'even cricket'.
"When you win a T20 tournament, that is not revival; it's not even cricket! It's going to be very difficult for the West Indies to get on top in Test cricket because of this T20," Holding told The Indian Express.
"The T20 tournaments around the world are the bane of the game. When you are a poor country and can't afford to pay as much as England, Australia, and India, the players will go on to play T20. That's where West Indies and others are getting hit," he added.
In the past few years, several West Indies cricketers have opted to play franchise cricket, rather than playing for the national team and there have been several showdowns between the board and players over pay disputes. Holding said that he didn't blame the players for this but the administrators instead.
"When you are earning 600,000 or 800,000 dollars for six weeks, what are you going to do? I don't blame the cricketers. I blame the administrators. They give a lot of lip service to Test cricket but all they are interested in is bringing in money into their cupboards… West Indies will win T20 tournaments which aren't cricket; they won't be a force in Test cricket," Holding said.
When asked why he hasn't found commentating in IPL interesting, Holding said, "I only commentate on cricket.'
Michael Holding was a member of the West Indies team that won the 1979 World Cup and finished runner-up in the 1983 World Cup. He was a part of the famous pace quarter under Clive Lloyd's captaincy that took West Indies to the zenith of Test cricket from the late 1970s to the 1980s.
He picked up 249 wickets in 60 Test matches and 142 wickets in 102 ODIs for the West Indies.