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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
on 21 September 2010
What a disappointment!
I was expecting an autobiography, instead I read excerpts of certain incidents in Holding's career as a commentator & cricketer, in his failed attempt to sound sincere.
There's very little on his private life. Some recollections of his childhood in Kingston. Then it goes on to briefly cover his days as a cricketer, the transition to cricket broadcasting, and to gloss over phases of his career as a cricket pundit.
But what I found even more hypocritical is that he's so adamant to defend himself in his involvement with Allen Stanford (the Texan billionaire currently awaiting trial in the US). In numerous publications, Holding is credited as introducing Stanford to the game of cricket. But the Stanford 20/20 series failed in the West Indies. It's obvious that Holding wrote this book to whitewash his own involvement & no doubt to profit.
Holding's current wife Laurie-Ann Holding, who hails from Antigua and is an accountant, was running the Stanford cricket events from her own small company in the Cayman Islands (how convenient). Nice business arrangement for Holding. Stanford ended all this and so Holding's wife's company was no longer on the receiving end of an income from Stanford. This has been reported in the press. Google Image Laurie-Ann Holding & Allen Stanford to view a photo of them at work.
I expect an autobiography to reveal personal details about one's life. There's little mention of his numerous children, all of whom he's fathered with various different women, including one with another ex-wife. Only that he had to pay for two of his daughters' university fees. How petty of him to mention this.
Holding's passion for horse-racing covers another chapter.
A previous biography, Whispering Death was a more accurate read, if you want an insight into his career as a cricketer. No Holding Back was a waste of my time and money. I feel that Holding is trying to portray himself as a conscientious media personality, but instead he's insincere. Not an autobiography. It's his biased version of certain events and the reader feels deceived. What a pity! Save your time and money for something more worthwhile.
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.
on 2 October 2010
Was given this book as a gift, though I wanted Botham's Head On.
It has a lighthearted, anecdotal start, but then it veers off on different tangents.
In an interview on CNN Sports, Michael Holding stated it's not an autobiography as such but more of a discussion on various issues, including the ICC and test cricket.
There are a few photos ranging from his childhood in Kingston, to his different careers, to holidays in Sri Lanka with his 2nd or 3rd wife Laurie-Ann Holding, who looks either Pakistani or Arabic.
Well, I didn't like the book. I noticed a real ulterior motive and that was the catalyst in my changed opinion of Holding.
It's the Allen Stanford chapter that I find especially ridiculous. I remember clearly, when Michael Holding would wax lyrical about Stanford being the savior of West Indies cricket. After all, Stanford was paying the Legends (including Michael Holding) an exorbitant amount of money for absolutely nothing. Allen Stanford is now awaiting trial, and I'm wondering how he'll react if he reads this.
On page 154, Michael Holding provides more redundant triviality by stating he did not know that he had to wear a dinner jacket to The Pavilion Restaurant in Antigua when he had to meet Allen Stanford to negotiate a deal for his wife's company to run the Stanford cricket events. What a load of baloney! He's just so pretentious. I nearly stopped reading the book then.
Huge revenue was lost by Holding's wife & her business partner when they no longer had Stanford as a client. Michael Holding, the Legends, West Indies cricketers, his wife's company Kelly-Holding Ltd, all made a fortune out of Stanford. But when the funds stopped rolling in, the vitriol took over.
It's a preposterous claim by Michael Holding that Allen Stanford, a billionaire who was listed in Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful & affluent men in the world, actually eagerly sought the services of Kelly-Holding Ltd. At the time, Kelly-Holding was a newly set-up, 2 person team in the Cayman Islands, with hardly any clients. And it still has hardly any events. As if Stanford didn't have numerous, well-established events companies at his disposal. More like they made the availability known to him & possibly an offer. And besides, perhaps it would have been more successful. I recall, Ken Gordon, President of the WICB being very disillusioned by the Stanford 20/20 event management in 2006.
It seems to me this issue is about money. As Stanford pulled out of this cockamamie cricket scheme realizing that he had to cut his losses, Holding's proposals to Stanford about cricket didn't work out and he felt the onus was on him.
I used to think Michael Holding was a great commentator and looked forward to listening to him.
Now I'm not so sure as I sense duplicity and I've lost respect. I see a greedy, calculating bitter man.
on 9 January 2012
as an avid cricket lover michael,s views and his knowledge about the game is highlighted in this book. a must buy for the game,s enthusiast
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.