Politics shielding chuckers, says Holding

Published: Saturday, April 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

New Delhi:Bowlers are getting away with illegal actions because umpires are afraid of calling them for political reasons, according to West Indian fast bowling great Michael Holding.

Holding, whose copybook, but lethal, bowling action earned him the nickname of Whispering Death, said it was not difficult to identify chuckers with the naked eye.

"Once you see something with the naked eye, you should be reporting it and having it assessed and measured properly," Holding said in an interview in the April issue of Mumbai-based 'Cricinfo' magazine.

"The difficulty is in the politics surrounding it, with people afraid to report certain players."

Holding, now a respected television commentator at 52, hinted the Pakistani tearaway Shoaib Akhtar still does not have a clean action despite being cleared to bowl by the International Cricket Council.

"When you look at Shoaib Akhtar and (India's) Rudra Pratap Singh from the front, you see a bent arm with one and a straight arm with the other," he said.

"Politics is preventing people from doing what they should."

Holding added the way out was "to get people in authority who have the backbone to do what is right, and not what is politically expedient."

Holding, who claimed 249 wickets from 60 Tests in the 1970s and 1980s, said excessive workload was to blame for the steady decline of quality fast bowlers.

"Its the workload," he said. "I wouldn't have coped. I wouldn't have been able to play 12 years of Test cricket. It's ridiculous how much they're playing."

The West Indian great said the use of helmets and protective gear had made it easier for batsmen to face fast bowling these days.

"In our time we didn't have a lot of protection, so you would easily find out who didn't have the guts to stand up and face the fire.

"A lot of batsmen today, their technique is so faulty that if they were to have that 30 years ago, they'd be dead. They now take their eyes off the ball knowing that even if it hits them on the head, the helmet will protect them."

Asked which current batsmen faced fast bowling well, Holding said: "I would say (Australian captain) Ricky Ponting.

"Sachin Tendulkar - up to three years ago but not now. (England captain) Michael Vaughan. (Indian captain) Rahul Dravid, to a certain degree. Venkatsai Laxman too."

Holding rated Australian Dennis Lillee and Pakistan's Imran Khan as the best fast bowlers of his time.

"They had pace and they could do things with the ball," he said. "Dennis was pretty much the all-round fast bowler; he could do anything with the ball.

"Imran was another who could intimidate people out with his pace and also get them with movement, especially into the right-hander."

Write Comments