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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".
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on 25 May 2017
Michael Holding for me was one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. His run up was balletic and athletic in one. I have no idea what I would have felt if he was standing near the boundary rope starting his run up. He details the high and lows of West Indian cricket with honesty. His other parts of his life with his love for horses rounds it off. I expect him to continue to excel in whatever he does
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on 15 December 2013
A very readable biography from one of the greatest bowlers of all time.

He is forthright, albeit a little impatient at times, but he knows what he is talking about.

Like to be the next England bowling coach, Michael?
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on 5 March 2013
I'm not an avid reader but do enjoy the sport of cricket immensly.

Mr Michael Holding tells his version of events in a very readable and enjoyable style. Giving the reader an inner view of some of the goings on in and around West Indian and cricket in general.

Thought it might have been more scandalous in it's revelations as Mr Holding appears to have built up a reputation for his no nonsense and forthrite comments but enoyed the content from cover to cover. I think the vast majority of cricket fans would really enjoy this book.
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on 5 July 2010
The rather good punning title points to Michael Holding's objective for this book - an ambition that he makes clear at its end "I have no plans to do another book after this one, so I wanted to make sure that I said everything I wanted to." Some readers may regret that Holding's remarkable cricket career occupies less than 100 pages and there are no statistics - although he did publish an earlier memoir (with Tony Cozier) in 1993, a few years after he retired. Most of the new book is about his life and interests after his long playing career was over in 1989, including his highly successful job as a television commentator. He also gets off his chest some of his concerns about cricket today and reveals much about recent scandals and about the incompetence (his word) of most cricket administrators.

Curiously, for so public a figure, Holding is quite reticent about his private life (other than his love of racing which takes up a whole chapter) and his family. He briefly describes his childhood in Jamaica - but mainly from a cricket rather than a personal perspective. We learn little about his wife and children either. Another curious omission is any reference to his highly principled stance against apartheid in the early 1980s when he turned down a sum reported to have been over £150,000 to take part in a rebel tour to South Africa. Perhaps it is modesty that stops him from recording the fact that he has always stuck to his principles when others abandoned them to take the tainted gold on offer from time to time. Holding's involvement with Allen Stanford takes a whole chapter and throws some bright light onto that sordid and murky affair. He and the other 14 West Indian "Legends" were paid $10,000 a month to provide respectable cover for Stanford and it was only Holding who walked away as soon as he realised that Stanford's claims to be helping West Indies cricket were a chimera. If he could see that all was rotten in the kingdom of Stanford as early as January 2008 why were others, not least the England and Wales Cricket Board, so easily duped?

Michael Holding is unlikely committee fodder and no friend of cricket's governing bodies but he did serve for a while as a member of the ICC's cricket committee. His involvement was brief and came to an end when the ICC executive committee, against the advice of the cricket committee, voted to overturn the result of the forfeited England v Pakistan Test match at The Oval in 2006. Holding resigned and in his book he expresses regret that "more people on the committee didn't make their opinions known publicly". Holding would not be surprised that there is nowhere a monument dedicated to the memory of a cricket committee.

Michael Holding and his ghost writer Ed Hawkins have produced an at times entertaining and thought-provoking book - but it is far too selective and arbitrary to be called the "Autobiography" it claims to be. The cricket stories are anecdotal and fairly randomly selected and there is little in depth discussion of the hinterland that impinged upon Holding's career - although the chapter on Packer is a very good exception to this. But it is an enjoyable read, there is an index (hooray!) and the photographs are nice - as, quite clearly, is the man himself.
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on 2 February 2013
Its a very interesting book, well written and of interest to all cricket lovers.. I would recommend this book and am pleased to have read it.
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on 30 May 2010
Michael Holding today is very successful as a highly respected critic and commentator . But I wish he had focused his new book entirely on his comments and life after retirement , since in his excellent first book - Whispering Death written by the peerlees Tony Cozier in the early 90's- Mikey had already outlined his career and playing days well.

I still find that first book to be a better read career wise and much more readable from the fan's perspective as many incidents were narrated viz - (like the flash point that dared Indian keeper Kirmani to expose all 3 stumps in a test in 1983 and take a stance at almost the 12th stump - (Mikey took the challenge and bowled a bouncer at him and was promptly taken off - a rare occasion when he came off second best)

As it happens in his new book , Mikey has condensed almost his entire career into just 100 pages which is really old wine for anyone having read his earlier one .

Having said this - the balance half of the book (another 100 odd pages) is interesting - thoughts on the ails of WI cricket , Chucking , ICC ,issues , Commentary , Lara , 2006 Oval test controversy ,Sanford et al views etc are all worth reading - pity as he could have covered the entire book with his forthright views .

on the whole for me its somewhat of a letdown and flawed . The beginning chapters are as pacy as his bowling - he does'nt cover any series in particluar but focuses more on the controversies like Dunedin 1980 etc - where i see the book as somewhat flawed is the lack of a smooth transition from player to businessman to cricket commentator and panelist.

There is no statistical section at the end and there is no major mention of the players he rated highly and why except Viv Richards , Andy Roberts and Malcolm Marshall who are kind of covered also he missed naming a best Windies or world XI of his time which would have been interesting as he played against some of the best and i was eager to find out whom he rated among the best.

But new readers possibly will find this a fascinating read - esp that over at the Kensington Oval in 1981 and on the whole Mikey much like his incisive bowling does'nt mince his words.

my abiding memory of Mikey comes from a great cartoon which Roy Ulyett crafted during the tumultuous series in NZ in the 80's - a sheepish Kiwi umpire checks with a truculent Mikey whether he would like to bowl - over the wicket , round the wicket or THROUGH THE WICKET ! sadly the cartoon has been lost in the passages of time but stuff like this and anecdotes would have greatly embellished the book from the pace legend.
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on 28 October 2010
Holding is one of my favourite of the latest batch of commentators and was a wonderful crickter to watch in his time, but I found myself a bit let down by this book. Having read the cricinfo review I expected to be disappointed by the shortness of the section on his playing days, but in fact this was the slowest part. Holding was very, very good and although I'm not suggesting it came easily to him- he worked very hard- his career seemed simply one of "started playing, was very good at it, stopped playing". The tribualtions of a more mediocre player like Simon Hughes are actually far more interesting. The book actually improves a lot after his retirement. Some of his anecdotes are a bit forced, but his views on modern cricket were at times enlightening. I still have a lot of affection for the guy, but there are far better sporting biographies out there.
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on 11 January 2015
Good book for an avid follower of West Indies cricket
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on 31 August 2010
Mikey has become a widely respected figure in world cricket and his Jamaican inflection is sweet music for many Sky viewers, especially in an era when a good speaking voice no longer appears to be essential for a successful career on radio or TV. I was a schoolboy when Mikey made his name in world cricket by taking fourteen wickets at The Oval during the long hot summer of 1976 and I picked up this book with eager anticipation, having just read David Tossell's excellent account of that series ("Grovel"). This autobiography suffers by comparison as Mikey's fifteen years of playing international cricket are glossed over in little more than one hundred pages. There is just not sufficient time or space in the book to provide the kind of detail that hooks or really engages the reader. I found the second-half of the book more engaging, in particular how Mikey developed a second career running a petrol station near Kingston before finding his way to the commentary box by virtue of being in the right place at the right time. The last chapters of the book, devoted to his views on the current state of world cricket and his dealings with the ICC (in particular over the legitimacy of different bowling actions) are the book's strength. Strangely there is no statistical appendix at all - a surprising omission for this genre.
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