Holding, ICC war over poor World Cup umpiring

West In­dies fast bowl­ing leg­end Michael Hold­ing is now at the cen­tre of a World Cup um­pir­ing con­tro­ver­sy with the In­ter­na­tion­al Crick­et Coun­cil (ICC), af­ter the body re­port­ed­ly tried to cen­sure him over his crit­i­cism of de­ci­sions by the of­fi­cials dur­ing the West In­dies ver­sus Aus­tralia game last Thurs­day.

The Times of In­dia is re­port­ing that Hold­ing hit out at what he termed at­tempts at ‘cen­sor­ship’ from the ICC, af­ter an email from the body for­mal­ly chas­tised him for his on-air com­ments dur­ing the game and sug­gest­ed he cut down crit­i­cism of um­pires on air.

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The Times of In­dia ac­cessed both an e-mail sent by Huw Be­van, pro­duc­tion head for the ICC’s rights part­ner Sun­set and Vine Asia, crit­i­cis­ing Hold­ing for his crit­i­cism and the for­mer Windies leg­end’s re­ply, in which he re­fused to back down on his stand.

Hold­ing had called the um­pir­ing atro­cious dur­ing the game and was not the on­ly TV com­men­ta­tor to do so. The West In­dies play­ers and man­age­ment were al­so crit­i­cal of match of­fi­cials Chris Gaffaney and Ruchi­ra Pal­liyagu­ruge dur­ing the post-match in­ter­views and Windies fans had even called on the re­gion­al board to ap­proach the ICC on the mat­ter.

On the field of play, West In­dies open­er Chris Gayle was ad­judged out twice dur­ing an over from Aussie pac­er Mitchell Starc and both calls were over­turned via the re­view sys­tem. Gayle was even­tu­al­ly dis­missed lbw on an­oth­er re­view in Starc’s next over but re­plays lat­er re­vealed the pre­vi­ous de­liv­ery from Starc was a bla­tant no-ball. The le­gal ball that dis­missed the West In­di­an thus should have been free-hit. Two more on-field de­ci­sions in­volv­ing Windies skip­per Ja­son Hold­er were al­so over­turned on re­view.

While on air, Hold­ing said he felt the um­pires were be­ing pres­sured by vo­cif­er­ous ap­peals from the play­ers as he not­ed how the game was af­fect­ed by the poor de­ci­sions.

But in re­sponse to the avalanche of crit­i­cism of the of­fi­ci­at­ing from Hold­ing and oth­er match com­men­ta­tors the day af­ter the match, Be­van sent an email to Hold­ing not­ing “the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing the high­est stan­dards and up­hold the game’s best val­ues and spir­it while cov­er­ing the tour­na­ment.”

Said Be­van: “In­her­ent­ly in live tele­vi­sion, there are oc­ca­sions when on-field de­ci­sions cause rea­son for dis­cus­sion or de­bate but as ICC TV host broad­cast­ers, our [Sun­set & Vine] du­ty is not to judge or high­light mis­takes.”

Hold­ing re­port­ed­ly asked why he was the on­ly com­men­ta­tor sin­gled out in his re­sponse to Be­van, adding: “If those um­pires 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?”

Hold­ing re­port­ed­ly said Be­van’s email was ev­i­dence that “com­men­ta­tors are be­ing more and more com­pro­mised by con­trol­ling or­gan­i­sa­tions to the point of cen­sor­ship.”

Per­haps sens­ing his stance may have drawn a fur­ther re­sponse from the ICC, Hold­ing added, “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, when the news­pa­per con­tact­ed Hold­ing for a com­ment, he said the mat­ter with the ICC had been re­solved and he was con­tin­u­ing on the com­men­tary team.

Via Trinidad and Tobago Guardian
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