It was 28th November of 1975 and the venue was Gabba at Brisbane, a fast bowlers’ paradise, where world cricket’s one of the most intimidating fast bowlers Michael Holding stepped into the field to make his debut. He was fast, ferocious and intimidating. He was a tall man. When he used to run to unleash red ball from his towering shoulder his feet used to kiss the turf. However, in his debut Test, he was denied by the Australian batsmen to taste the essence of taking maiden Test cricket. The bowling legend turned commentator has turned 64 today. Cricwizz.com wish him happy birthday.
But, he had to wait for sometime for his first Test wicket. In the second Test at Perth, Holding rattled Australia by picking up four wickets. His association with Andy Roberts, Keith Boyce and Lance Gibbs made him a deadly fast bowler of his generation.
Here are five ferocious spells of ‘Whispering Death’ Michael Holding
Maiden fifer against India at Port of Spain in 1976
West Indies bowling great Micheal Holding is in action in a Test match
In 1976 Port of Spain Test Holding picked up his maiden fifer of his illustrious Test career. When India came to bat to reply West Indies’ first innings total of 359 they struggled to get going in front of Holding who pierced through the Indians to make sure the Caribbean side got a substantial 131 runs lead. However, India fought back in the match and nullified Holding’s challenge to win the match by 6 wickets. Though, it was a historic win for the Indians against such a fierce fast bowling Holding’s 6 for 65 was the first glimpse of his rise as a legendary fast bowler. Must read: 10 interesting facts about birthday boy Glenn McGrath
The over of the century at Kingston Oval in 1981
This is the iconic image of Micheal Holding after he sent Geoff Boycott for duck in 1981 at Kensington Oval.
The mercury of rivalry between West Indies and England was rising. In 1981 when England was touring West Indies Holding and his fellow fast bowlers were steamed up to give English boys scary time. At the Kensington Oval, Holding took the responsibility to teach English boys the lesson of ferocious fast bowling.
Holding’s over to Geoff Boycott in the cauldron of Kensington Oval of Barbados has gone down in the history as the finest, fastest and most ferocious display of fast bowling. After West Indies were bowled out for 265 England walked into the middle to bat. When Boycott came to bat Holding was clocking 90 mph/h consistently. English cricket’s one of the most technically sound batsmen Boycott struggled against sheering pace of Holding. He survived the first delivery and managed to defend the next four deliveries but the sixth was unplayable and it rattled Boycott’s stumps. It was a beautiful scene. The opener was sent to the pavilion back after that over for a golden duck.
Birth of Whispering Death in Wisden Trophy in 1976
In 1976 West Indies’ tour of England Michael Holding took 28 wickets in four matches to destroy the audacity of the English cricket.
Arguably it was the best tour of Holding’s career. The 1976 four-match Test series has gone down in the history of Test cricket as one of the most remarkable series. It was graceful, rhythmic action of West Indies fast bowler Holding. He generated an enormous speed from his mysterious approach to the stumps. His ferocious fast bowling frightened England batsmen throughout the series.
When Holding was intimidating English batsmen from one end, Andy Roberts, Vanburn Holder and Wayne Daniel kept England batsmen under check. In that four-match Wisden Trophy, Holding picked up record 28 wickets with a match figure of 14 for 149. This was the series when Holding was reckoned as the ‘Whispering Death’ by the Wisden magazine.
Decimated England at the Lord’s in 1980
Michael Holding made sure that he get a place in the famous honoary board at the Lord’s by taking 6 wickets for 67 runs against England
At the Mecca of cricket, the Lord’s, Holding made sure that his name gets a place at the famous ‘honary board’ of the stadium. In the second Test of the five-Test series, England took on West Indies at the Lord’s. England winning the toss decided to bat first and but found them in deep trouble. An experienced Michael Holding pierced through their defence during his 28 overs spell. Whispering death has conceded 67 runs to take 6 wickets. Out of his 28 overs, he bowled 11 maidens. This was his solitary fifer at the famous Lord’s stadium.
Australia faced the heat of whispering death in 1984
Micheal Holding rattled the Aussies by taking six wickets for 21 runs at WACA in Perth
Michael Holding has a superb record against England and Australia, two of the best Test playing sides. He has done a good job in Australia. He played 14 Test Against the Down Under side and picked up 63 wickets. Being the world beater West Indies were touring Australia in 1984. Holding was an integral part of that tour. In Perth Test, Holding routed the Aussies by picking up 6 wickets for 21 runs.
West Indies batting first scored a mammoth total of 416 runs. In reply, Australia was bundled out for 76 runs. It was Holding who gave Australia a feeling of his scary fast bowling. It was Holding’s best bowling figure against Australia. The host lost the match by an innings and 122 runs. Holding was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.