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Happy Birthday, Michael Holding

16th Feb, 1954 – Birth of Whispering Death and the bowler from island who was struggling to keep their existence alive in cricket. Happy Birthday Michael Holding.

Last updated: 19.02.2021
Happy Birthday Michael Holding

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16th Feb, 1954 – Birth of Whispering Death and the bowler from island who was struggling to keep their existence alive in cricket. In the long history of the game of cricket, you will not find many fast bowlers who have ruled the cricket like the way few of them did with the ruthless brand of cricket. With the likes of Dennis Lillie, Jeff Thomson and Andy Roberts who have terrorized the batsman with the fear of getting injured.


Here was the bowler who had unleashed the new form of cricket “the Enigma called Michael Holding”. When the cricket was at its best, watching up Michael Holding was a sight to behold. There have been the fast bowlers who have inspiring stories about the uncertainty of their struggles.



But to be honest, there are very few who have a story like the great West Indies Michael Holding to get the answers of questions hit by opposition or conditions. The most gifted fast bowler who had everything in his arsenal to put the opposition into the shambles at any time. Born in Jamaica, cricket was the first choice for Michael Holding.


Nicknamed “Whispering death” for the unplayable bowling spells and the pace that was generated by him from the pitch. Holding was the part of the Invincible West Indies team of the 70s to early 80s who dominated cricket the way they wanted and made the fans like me to watch their performances on the loop. Cricinfo tries to define the ability of this pacer, It began intimidatingly far away. He turned, and began the most elegant long-striding run of them all, feet kissing the turf silently, his head turning gently and ever so slightly from side to side, rhythmically, like that of a cobra hypnotising its prey.


Good batsmen tended not to watch him all the way lest they became mesmerised. To the umpires he was malevolent stealth personified so they christened him Whispering Death. No-one in the game has bowled faster. His over to Geoff Boycott in the cauldron of Kensington Oval early in 1981 has gone down in history as the finest, fastest, most ferocious gambit of all time.


 Five years earlier, towards the end of the drought-ridden summer of 1976, The Oval had become a wasteland, parched beyond recognition, with slow flat heart-breaking pitches, and it was on this, in the final Test of the season, through the simple device of bowling ramrod-straight at high pace and to a full length, that he conjured 14 wickets for 149, the finest match figures ever by a West Indian. Now in the commentary box, he is gentle but fearless, a rational critic who beguiles with his deep fruity measured Jamaican twang.


While the another great of game Allan Donald describe the best I have ever seen

Holding had featured in 60 tests and all of them were played against India, Australia, England and New Zealand. In those 60 tests, Holding picked up 249 wickets at an average of 23.69 which included 13 five-wickets-haul (11 of them came overseas).


While in the 102 ODIs, Holding picked up 142 wickets at an average of 21.37. These numbers easily depict him as great but he was a player of much more than these numbers. In his long cricket career, there have been many of his unplayable spells. 


But the spell against Geoff Boycott remained as the greatest bowling spell in the test cricket history where holding ripped off the stumps on the last ball of the over. Alongside Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding completes the most destructive bowling unit in the history of cricket which was somewhere in the fact too, the West Indies team was so successful in that era.


Another great spell of Michael Holding against Australia at Perth – Holding heats up in Perth

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