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Michael Holding: West Indies' Whispering Death

Updated on June 3, 2011
Michael Holding: Rolls Royce of fast bowling
Michael Holding: Rolls Royce of fast bowling

Full name: Michael Anthony Holding

Birth place: Kingston, Jamaica

Birth date: February 16 1954

Major teams: West Indies, Jamaica, Derbyshire, Canterbury, Lancashire, Tasmania

  • Right arm fast bowler
  • Right-hand lower order batsman
  • Radio and television cricket commentator


Michael Holding was called the Rolls Royce of fast bowling for good reason. His run up was smooth and efficient, yet he was fast. The Jamaican was often the spearhead of the West Indies pace attack of the late 1970s and 1980s. Holding's athleticism came from his athletic background; he was a long jumper before he turned to cricket full-time.

The run-up was so smooth that he was even nicknamed "Whispering Death." The tall Jamaican had a typical fast bowler's temperament; fiery and aggressive. After he retired, Holding became a straightforward commentator who was apt to make controversial remarks from time to time. That attribute, his insight, and his deep Jamaican accent, made him a sought after "colour commentator."

Michael Holding's bowling records

Match type 
Strike Rate
List A 
Source: Cricinfo

Fastest over to Geoff Boycott

Memorable moments

  • 14/149 vs England at the Oval in 1976. This remains the best match bowling analysis by a West Indian bowler in Tests
  • World Cup Winner: 1979
  • World Cup Runner-up: 1983
  • Thirteen 5-wicket hauls in Tests
  • Fastest over to Geoff Boycott (1981)
  • Kicking the stumps in New Zealand (1981)

Michael Holding autobiography

No Holding Back: The Autobiography
No Holding Back: The Autobiography

In this 2010 release, Michael Holding divulges what it was like to tour with West Indies, and shares unmissable insights about sharing a dressing room with other legends of the game like Sir Clive Lloyd, Sir Viv Richards, and Malcolm Marshall. Holding does not shirk the big issues—he explores why West Indies have slipped following their halcyon days, openly assesses Brian Lara, and laments the hypocrisy over the state of the game in the region.


Holding making England grovel in 1976


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