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Cricket World Cup 2019 | 'Should I Head Back Home?' - Michael Holding Slams ICC After Being Asked to Ignore Umpiring Howlers

Legendary West Indian player-turned-commentator, Michael Holding has lashed out at the International Cricket Council for telling him to repress himself from saying anything negative against the umpiring howlers during the 2019 World Cup.

Cricketnext Staff |June 12, 2019, 10:35 AM IST
Cricket World Cup 2019 | 'Should I Head Back Home?' - Michael Holding Slams ICC After Being Asked to Ignore Umpiring Howlers

Legendary West Indian player-turned-commentator, Michael Holding has lashed out at the International Cricket Council for telling him to repress himself from saying anything negative against the umpiring howlers during the 2019 World Cup.

An email was sent to Holding, according to TOI, after the 65-year-old termed the umpiring in the match between West Indies and Australia “atrocious”. There were quite a few decisions that went against West Indies and Holding feels on-field umpires Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Chris Gaffaney couldn't handle the pressure that was created by repeated appealing from Australians.

Gayle was wrongly given out a couple of times but was able to review it. The left-hander eventually was dismissed on a delivery which should have been a free hit but the umpire failed to spot a huge no-ball on the previous delivery. West Indies captain Jason Holder was also given lbw on a ball that had pitched outside leg, which left Holding fuming.

He then received a mail from Huw Bevan, the production head for ICC’s rights partner Sunset & Vine Asia, saying: “The importance of maintaining the highest standards and uphold the game’s best values and spirit while covering the tournament.

"ICC TV’s duty is to reflect the values (above) and “not to cast doubt or negative judgement on anything associated with the tournament in our coverage.

"Inherently in live television, there are occasions when on-field decisions cause reason for discussion or debate, but as ICC TV host broadcasters, our (Sunset & Vine) duty is not to judge or highlight mistakes."

After Holding went after both the umpires, Bevan wrote to him saying “this is exactly the kind of thing we need to avoid putting on air”.

“Before the event, we went to great pains to explain to you all as senior production and commentary personnel of the need to avoid this kind of thing. It’s critical for us that we should never amplify umpires’ mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents nor show the umpires in bad light. We should also be very careful not to look to create controversy around an event or match at any time,” he added.

"It's a strong reminder to everybody involved to uphold the strongest of standards in our coverage."

In reply, Holding, who is not known to mince his words, sent back a scathing mail to Bevan.

“If those umpires yesterday were FIFA officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home. They would not have been given another World Cup game to officiate. As a former cricketer, I think cricket should be held to a higher standard. Is the objective to protect the umpires even when they do a bad job?

“I am sorry, but I am not going to be part of that. Please let me know if I should be heading back to my home in Newmarket instead of heading to Cardiff because I don’t agree with what is being suggested here and happy not being part of it,” added Holding, who was the only commentator to receive this e-mail.

“I was certainly very critical of umpiring which was pathetic to say the least.”

When the newspaper got in touch with Holding, the former right-arm paceman said he feels that the matter has now been resolved.

“It’s true that there was a mass email sent out after the West Indies/Australia game and I did see fit to respond. But as far as I am concerned, the matter has been resolved and I have, and hopefully everyone, has put it behind them. I don’t really want to distract from the World Cup that is already suffering from some uncooperative weather.”

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