The ICC 2019 World Cup match between West Indies and Australia witnessed a spate of umpiring errors. This provoked commentator Michael Holding to severely criticise the on-field officials, that too, while on commentary. This has now led to a reaction with international cricket's governing body sending emails to members of the official commentary team demanding a measure of restraint in their criticism.
The match in question saw as many as four decisions from on-field umpires, which went against the West Indies team, being overturned when the batsmen of the side took the DRS option. There was also the instance of one of the umpires failing to notice a no-ball from one of the Aussie bowlers. The last instance of a wrong lbw decision prompted Holding to launch a tirade against the two men given the task of on-field umpiring – Ruchira Palliyaguruge of Sri Lanka and Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand.
"I am sorry but the umpiring in this game has been atrocious. For one, even when I was playing and they (the umpires) were not as strict as they are now, you were allowed one appeal. You don't appeal two, three, four times to the umpire. That is the first thing. They are being intimidated (by the appeals of Australian players), that means they are weak. This has been an atrocious bit of umpiring by both," the former West Indian fast bowler thundered.
This outburst from Holding comes as no surprise to all those who have listened to his commentary over the years. Known for being forthright and holding back no punches, the legendary fast bowler is both admired for his courage to address sensitive issues as well as criticised by some for going overboard at times.
Over the years, Holding has been an integral part of English home summers of cricket, due to his association with British broadcasters Sky Sports. In the last few years, he has also provided commentary during South Africa's home season for local broadcasters SuperSport. In the past also, Holding is known for lashing out at things he finds reprehensible. One thing can be said with certitude, things certainly are more interesting when the West Indian great is on air.