Michael Holding, the legendary West Indies fast bowler turned cricket commentator, is walking away from a three-decade-long career behind the microphone at the conclusion of the current cricket season.
The 67-year-old Jamaican icon had his first stint as a commentator in 1990 following his retirement from Test cricket in 1987. He played 60 Test matches for the West Indies between 1975 and 1987 taking 249 wickets.
Ironically, his first television broadcast was England’s tour of the West Indies in 1990. He worked with SkySports for more than two decades as one of their most respected voices in cricket.
The straight-talking sportsman had indicated from as early as last year that his retirement was imminent. Speaking on Mason & Guest in Barbados in April 2020, Holding revealed that his time behind the microphone was fast coming to an end.
“I am not too sure how much further than 2020 I will be going with commentary. I cannot see myself going much further down the road at my age. I am 66 years old now, I am not 36, 46 or 56,” he said.
“I told Sky that I could not commit to more than a year at a time. If this year gets totally destroyed, I might have to think about 2021 because I can’t just walk away from Sky, a company that has done so much good for me.”
Also in 2020, Holding came to greater international prominence when in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minnesota in the United States, he made a passionate four-minute long rant about racism.
His comments went viral and he subsequently wrote a book Why We Kneel, How We Rise that chronicled his experiences with racism and those experienced by other famous athletes of colour including Usain Bolt, Naomi Osaka, Thierry Henry among others.
“I thought long and hard about my life and I realised it was time to speak,” he revealed in an interview on his decision to publish the book.
“Maybe my voice could make a difference. I thought about all the occasions when I could have and should have said something, but didn’t. Inside I grimaced. It was not time to make that mistake again. Time to become unselfish.”