Holding takes a swipe at IPL, says it's not cricket

Michael Holding
Michael Holding. File photo: Reuters

New Delhi: Former West Indies pace bowler and commentator Michael Holding has cocked a snook at the Indian Premier League (IPL), terming it not quite cricket.

"I only commentate on cricket," said Holding in an interview to Indian Express when asked the reason behind him not commentating at the cash-rich T20 league.

Holding, who took 249 wickets in 60 Tests, is part of the commentary panel with Sky Sports.

The former right-arm pacer, who was part of a fearsome pace battery that included Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Sylvester Clarke, Colin Croft, Wayne Daniel and Malcolm Marshall, hit out at the change in rules by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that restricts bowling bouncers and favours batsmen.

The cricket world has, in recent times, been affected by cases of concussion. The death of Australian opener Phil Hughes, after he was hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott, in 2014 has made batsmen's security of paramount importance.

The two-bouncer rule, however, predates Hughes's death. That rule came into force in 1994.

"I am glad, I am on the way out. Because they are slowly but surely destroying the game. I wouldn't even try to honour that with a proper response. You want to cut out bouncers from the game? Okay, well, stop footballers from heading the ball because that gives them concussion as well. And that is a study that has proven to be correct," added Holding.

He said that while safety is important, it is important to not turn cricket into a soft-ball competition.

"You try and protect people as much as you can, yes. That is why people are wearing helmets and improving helmets now. That is why they do so much to try and protect them because people's lives are important. But don't turn it into a soft-ball competition," he added.

The 67-year-old Jamaican lamented that England, the birthplace of cricket, is putting shorter formats ahead of Test cricket.

"England, they say, is the mother of cricket where the game started before all the colonialists took it around the world. The best months in England are supposed to be the summer months, right? Is yearly Test cricket being played? They play in May and early June. The next Test match is on August 4. This has been going on for two-three summers in England. So, it's obvious that they are putting other forms of cricket over Test cricket," he said.

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