Former West Indies fast bowler and veteran broadcaster Michael Holding has hit out at ICC for asking him to be careful when speaking about the umpiring howlers, which have been one of the talking points in the ongoing World Cup. Holding, who never minces his words, while speaking on the game, received a note from the ICC to be more careful when voicing his opinions on the matter.
The cricketer-turned-commentator had called the umpiring "atrocious" during West Indies' World Cup match against Australia, in which Chris Gayle was adjudged LBW when replays showed Mitchell Starc had overstepped on the previous delivery and hence, it should have been a freehit. He further lashed out at the umpires for not being strong enough and caving in to pressure and raising their fingers after repeated appeals from the Aussies.
ICC writes mail to Holding
If a report in Times of India is anything to go by, an e-mail was sent out to Holding immediately after the match by Huw Bevan, the production head for ICC"s rights partner Sunset & Vine Asia, in which it was mentioned: "Before the event, we went to great pains to explain to you all as senior production and commentary personnel of the need to avoid this kind of thing. It's critical for us that we should never amplify umpires' mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents nor show the umpires in bad light. We should also be very careful not to look to create controversy around an event or match at any time."
Clearly, this did not sit down well with Holding who slammed the ICC and said that it was not his job to protect the umpires even when they were not doing a great job. He even said that had the officials been part of a FIFA World Cup they would have been asked to pack their bags and go home.
Holding hits back
Holding reportedly wrote: "If those umpires yesterday were FIFA officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home. They would not have been given another World Cup game to officiate. As a former cricketer, I think cricket should be held to a higher standard. Is the objective to protect the umpires even when they do a bad job?"
He further said in the reply: "I am sorry, but I am not going to be part of that. Please let me know if I should be heading back to my home in Newmarket instead of heading to Cardiff because I don't agree with what is being suggested here and happy not being part of it."
However, the report further adds that the matter has been solved and both the ICC and Holding have come to a conclusion over the issue.