Michael Holding: The System, Plus T20 Is Destroying Our Cricket

Former West Indies fast bowler, Michael Holding
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By Neto Baptiste

An ineffective development system coupled with the drawing power of T20 cricket continues to work against the success of current and possibly future West Indies teams.

This is according to former fast bowler, author and commentator, Michael Holding, who said players will always have natural ability, but once the process used to harness that ability is flawed, then players are doomed to failure.

“There’s no way you can lose talent. Talent does not just disappear, but the system we have now doesn’t bring that talent through in my opinion, and also, because of the fact that there is so much other 20/20 cricket going on around the world where guys can earn a lot of money, they disappear in that direction,” he said.

“I remember a tour to Australia quite a few years ago that we had about nine cricketers playing in the big bash when the West Indies were playing down there. None of them were playing for the West Indies, but they were all playing in the West Indies, earning big money. If we had all this talent in the West Indies team, and not playing in these 20/20 tournaments, we would not be where we are, so the system plus the 20/20 is what is destroying our cricket,” he added.

The Jamaican, who claimed 249 wickets in 60 Test matches, and another 142 in 102 ODI matches, said that the system that he refers to does not only include the players, but all involved in the process.

“Changing the coach, changing the president, changing the captain, changing the support staff is not going to change the situation with West Indies cricket. West Indies cricket needs to start itself, starting from the structure of the board and the structure of our cricket, and try to make sure that that is right first of all. I keep on preaching, but it’s going nowhere that we need a transparent organisation running our cricket, and an orgainsation that’s accountable to something or someone. Right now, they are unaccountable, they don’t have to answer to anyone, so they do as they like and nobody can question them,” he said.

Holding, author of the book “Why We Kneel, How We Rise,” said that like some other former players, although he still follows the team, he cannot bring himself to watch them play.

“You try to build up a shield, and that’s why I don’t watch it because I don’t want to be seeing it, because that’s going to hurt even more. I check it in cricinfo and when I see the scores it hurts, but I try to build up a shield against the hurt, but you can’t just divorce yourself from it,” he said.

Holding was speaking on Observer Radio’s Good Morning Jojo sports show.

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