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SHOULD BE RE-NAMED "HOLDING BACK".
on 28 July 2017
I like Mke Holding. He is a superb commentator and cricket analyst with a sharp and incisive mind. Along with Dennis Lillee he is probably the finest bowler I have seen play. As a Derbyshire CC supporter it was a privilege to be able to watch this superb athlete "live" on a number of occasions.
However, I found large sections of No Holding Back to be as plodding as Chris Tavare on Mogadon.
The title of the autobiography would suggest Mickey is going to let loose with an expose of all that is wrong with cricket (up to 2010 when the book was published). He does name some names and in his usual articulate and constructive manner explains what is wrong and what needs to be done - especially with regards to West Indies cricket administration. However, it is as though he has been allocated a number of megabytes and once they have all been used he has to stop. The discredited Allen Stanford (repeatedly referred to as "Sir Allen") is systematically exposed by Holding, but numerous cricketers - too many in my opinion - are given anonymity or referred to obliquely.
I still feel I have learned next to nothing about Mickey as an individual. He devotes a chapter to his horse racing hobby, but I know absolutely nothing about the 4 years he spent with Derbyshire. This period has been totally overlooked and virtually airbrushed out of his cricketing life. I know virtually nothing about his family, his wife, children or his life away from cricket. Autobiographies usually give the reader a glimpse into the life we never know outside the confines of the subject for which the biographer became famous. I can't see the point of writing one otherwise.
Apart from claiming that FIFA are the shining light of how a world body should run international sport, Mikey puts forward constructive and compelling arguments against what he sees as the malign influence of T20 cricket. He certainly saw that one coming, and I don't doubt with the benefit of 50:50 hindsight he would re-write the praise heaped on FIFA!!
Autobiographies seem to always come with a large dose of self justification and this one is no different. As I said at the beginning, I like Michael Holding and I still do. As a player he lifted fast bowling to great heights. As a commentator he shines amongst illustrious company. As an analyst he is forthright and invariably proven to be bang on the money. As a writer of his biography he is patchy, selective and somewhat plodding. I am happy to listen to his comments on TV and will always retain fond memories of the great West Indies and Derbyshire bowler immortalised as "Whispering Death".