I'd like to thank Michael Holding for taking time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed by Cricistan. Below we have both the audio interview and the text interview for all you Cricistanis.
The Audio Interview
Michael Holding Audio Interview
Cricistan.Com: This is Abdul Habib of Cricistan.com with West Indian fast bowling legend Michael Holding. Michael thanks for agreeing to do this interview with Cricistan.com.
Michael Holding: No problem
Cricistan.Com: You were part of the world beating West Indian side and the Pakistan side of that era was also one of the top 3 sides in the world. What do you think went wrong for both teams?
Michael Holding: Well Pakistan and the West Indies have had similar problems as far as organisation of their cricket is concerned. Pakistan produces a lot of individually brilliant cricketers and so do the West Indies but if you don't have a team in the real sense of the word then you will struggle. Both teams have had problems with their cricketing administrations.
Cricistan.Com: Teams that were struggling in your era like England and Australia are now dominating, do you think this has anything to do with their professional setups and their emphasis on fitness
Michael Holding: No. I think all teams are into fitness and all teams put a lot of effort into fitness and nutrition. I dont think that has anything to do with Australia and England playing good cricket at the moment, South Africa and Sri Lanka are playing good cricket too. I think it's a matter of the infrastructure that you have in your respective countries and the organisational ability of the administration. I think that's the most important thing as far as producing cricketers is concerned. Obviously you've got to have talent but if you have the proper infrastructure and administration to make sure things go smoothly you have a very good chance of producing some good teams.
Cricistan.Com: You've played 19 ODI's against Pakistan but I came across a very interesting stat today, one that I'm having a bit of trouble believing. Is it true that you've never played a test match against Pakistan?
Michael Holding: No, I never played a Test match against Pakistan. For one reason or another it never happened. When Pakistan came to the West Indies in 1977,I was in university. When West Indies toured Pakistan in 1981 I got injured in the very first game, which was an ODI, that meant I played no further part in that tour. Then I toured Pakistan for a one day series, so I never played a Test match against Pakistan.
Cricistan.Com: That's a shame we'd have loved to see you play in Tests against Pakistan because You're a bowler who took apart the best batting line-ups in the world. Did you study Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan and Mudasser Nazar in case you did come up against them?
Michael Holding: Well I played against them in one day cricket and you always study the opposition that you play against. Back then we didn't do it as technically as they do it now because we didn't have the fan-dangles that they've got now with replays and all the technology that they now use. In those days it was just a matter of memory and discussing it amongst yourselves.
Cricistan.Com: The way a dismissal is planned in Test cricket is very different to one day cricket. If you had come across javed Miandad in a Test match, what plans did you have for him?
Michael Holding: It would all depend on what was happening at that stage of the match, you should never go into a match with any pre-conceived ideas. A bowler should go into a game with a basic plan but the plan has to change with the position the match is in, the way that the pitch is playing and the way that the batsman is playing his shots. All batsmen have certain weaknesses but that only gives you a starting point, it can't be the only plan that you've got.
Cricistan.Com: You were known as 'Whispering Death' and you were one of the fastest bowlers to play the game but apart from yourself who would you say are the three fastest bowlers you've seen.
Michael Holding: Geoff Thomson was the fastest bowler that I ever saw and up till now I don't think there's ever been a faster bowler than Geoff Thomson, he certainly is number 1. As for the other two, there have been a lot of very fast bowlers. I've seen people like Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar and Shane Bond in recent times. In my time there was Andy Roberts before he started to wane and of course Malcolm Marshall who was very fast...
Cricistan.Com: (interrupts) What about Ian Bishop?
Michael Holding: Ian Bishop yes for a short period before he got his back injury and Patrick Patterson bowled very fast for the West Indies too.
Cricistan.Com: Brian Lara said that Mohammad Zahid of Pakistan was the fastest bowler he'd ever seen. Have you seen Zahid bowling and what did you think?
Michael Holding: I think I saw him at Brisbane in a one day game, a short fellow if I remember correctly. He was rapid. He was very, very quick. Very, very quick but unfortunately he didn't last very long.
Cricistan.Com: The West Indies had Ambrose and Garner who were both very tall bowlers and watching them was a real spectacle.Do you think cricket is missing a spectacle like that these days?
Michael Holding: No, not necessarily. Somebody who's 6'8 comes along very rarely, you dont see it too often so the game cant really miss it. But I think the game is missing genuine fast bowlers and it will continue to miss genuine fast bowlers because when they do come along they wont last. There's so much cricket being played now that it's impossible to bowl genuinely fast for very long.
Cricistan.Com: In Pakistan we've got a 6'10 left arm fast bowler who's just been called up to the Pakistan A team. Having played with Joel Garner what advice would you have for this guy on how best to use his height.
Michael Holding: Well Joel Garner wasn't express pace and I've no idea how fast this guy is...
Cricistan.Com: ...he bowls in the early 80mph range
Michael Holding: Well if he's early 80s then he's still a young man then he still has a chance of developing.
Cricistan.Com: He's 27 years old
Michael Holding: At 27 years old he's gone past the development stage, for him it's just a matter of good control using that height making things uncomfortable for batsmen.
Cricistan.Com: You never got to play T20 cricket, how would 'Whispering Death' have handled batsmen coming down the pitch and trying to knock you out of the park?
Michael Holding: I wouldn't have been interested in T20 cricket. I would've been interested in the amount of money that they're paying to play cricket, it's something that I think is destroying cricket. I wouldn't have been interested in the format of the game but there's no way I could tell people that I'd refuse $800,000 to play for 6 weeks.
Cricistan.Com: I dont think anyone would. A few years ago you did a comparative analysis of the hyperextension between RP Singh and Shoaib Akhtar.
Michael Holding: Yes I remember doing that during a Pakistan and India series.
Cricistan.Com: Are you aware that Shoaib Akhtar is double-jointed? Due to that I dont think it was a fair comparison because Akhtars elbow can bend in ways that RP Singh's never will.
Michael Holding: It doesn't matter. Hyperextension is hyperextension. When you look at both of them from the side they look the same but when you look at both of them from the front you saw two different actions.
Cricistan.Com: Is that because his elbow can go in different directions?
Michael Holding: Well his arm was straightening.
Cricistan.Com: What do you think of the current Pakistan pace attack?
Michael Holding: I think they have a pretty good pace attack right now. Aamer, Asif and Gul are 3 good fast bowlers but they're more effective in the conditions here in England than they would be under the conditions back home in Pakistan. That's because none of them bowl extremely fast anymore. The two older fellows, well I say older in quotations because they're not yet 30, have slowed down considerably due to the amount of cricket that they've played.
Cricistan.Com: Yes, Umar Gul was 150k when he started his career. Gul's taking wickets for fun in T20 cricket and although you can see him applying pressure in Test cricket he struggles to make breakthroughs. Where do you think he's going wrong in Test cricket?
Michael Holding: I think T20 cricket is a completely different format of the game and you cant compare the two. Playing T20 cricket will change a lot of players, what you do to be successful in T20 cricket wont be successful in Test match cricket.
Cricistan.Com: When Gul started his career he was a very good new ball bowler but I think he's got carried away with reverse swing and has forgotten how to use the new ball.
Michael Holding: When you have to bowl 4 overs in a game, it's completely different to when you have to bowl 20 overs in a game.
Cricistan.Com: What do you think of the current West Indies pace attack, it's improving isn't it?
Michael Holding: To be honest, I haven't seen them. I dont watch West Indies cricket unless I'm working on the game and the last time I saw West Indies play it was against Zimbabwe.
Cricistan.Com: Have you seen Kemar Roach?
Michael Holding: I saw him, he was ok. Nothing more than that.
Cricistan.Com: What are your thoughts on Mohammad Aamer, is he one for the future?
Michael Holding: I think so but it depends on how much cricket he plays. Someone that young, 18 years old, with the workload he has ahead of him. Who knows how long he'll last.
Cricistan.Com: Thank you very much for talking to us Michael, it's been a pleasure.
Michael Holding: No problem.
An Exclusive Interview with Michael Holding
An Exclusive Interview with Michael Holding
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