Michael Holding set to retire from commentary after 24 years

A report by Elizabeth Ammon for The Times of London.

Michael Holding is set to retire from cricket commentary at the end of the summer, bringing a close to his distinguished 24-year career.

The former West Indies fast bowler has not made an official announcement but the abandoned Old Trafford Test between England and India was expected to be his last.

Holding, 67, began his career as a commentator in 1988 before joining Sky Sports two years later and has been part of the fabric of the English summer ever since.

Holding, who played 60 Tests and 102 ODIs for West Indies between 1975 and 1987, brought the same grace and gravitas to the commentary box as he exhibited on the pitch, where his elegant, smooth action and searing pace earned him the nickname “whispering death”.

His experience and knowledge made him one of the most respected commentators in world cricket and the Jamaican was not afraid to express forthright opinions. His loathing of T20 cricket, for example, was such that he refused to commentate on it.

Last summer, after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis policemen, Holding spoke up for the Black Lives Matter movement in a heartfelt and eloquent speech that received worldwide acclaim. In a piece to camera, Holding spoke about racism and inequality in cricket and wider society. He subsequently won the Royal Television Society Award for best sports pundit and Sky Cricket won the award for best sport programme.

This year Holding — who divides his time between Newmarket, where he pursues his passion for horse racing, and Jamaica — published a highly acclaimed book, Why We Kneel, How We Rise looking at racism within sport.

Holding received praise from all quarters, with Ian Bishop, a fellow former-West Indies fast bowler turned commentator tweeting: “Michael Holding has always been kind, understanding and encouraging to me; even when I messed up. I am privileged to call him friend and mentor.”

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