No Holding Back

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No Holding Back

Michael Holding

Publisher:Orion Publishing Co

As one of the fastest bowlers the world has seen, Michael Holding went by the haunting nickname “Whispering Death,” claiming 249 Test wickets. It was a moniker earned because he advanced on the bowling crease with stealth-like malevolence. Despite having not laced his bowling boots since 1989, it remains a fitting sobriquet. As a commentator and administrator, Holding has delivered his views on cricket in the same manner that he played the game: he speaks softly with a rich Jamaican rhythm and is calculated in either criticism or compliment. “No Holding Back” charts his effortless transition from one of the great players to one of the great pundits. Holding graphically describes his days as a player, looking back at how he tried to deliberately hurt batsmen on the wastelands of Kingston, and his first match for Jamaica when he almost collapsed from exhaustion—after only four overs. There is time, too, to divulge what it was like to tour with the West Indies, and unmissable insights about sharing a dressing room with other legends of the game like Sir Clive Lloyd, Sir Viv Richards, and Malcolm Marshall. “No Holding Back” does not shirk the big issues, however, and serves as an antidote to the often bland and shallow autobiographies of recent players. Holding tackles why the West Indies have slipped following their halcyon days, openly assesses Brian Lara, and laments the hypocrisy over the state of the game in the region. The controversy surrounding the Allen Stanford $20m spectacle, the ICC's handling of the abandoned England v Pakistan match, player power, illegal bowling actions, and the threat of Twenty20 to the Test game are all subjects which Holding tackles with characteristic knowledge and class.

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