« Desert Island Discs

Michael Holding, cricketer

2021-09-12 | 🔗
Michael Holding is a cricket commentator and former West Indies bowler. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of international cricket. In July 2020 when rain stopped play during the television coverage of a Test Match, he gave an unscripted four minute monologue on institutional racism in sport and society in the wake of the death of George Floyd. His spontaneous eloquence won him widespread acclaim, including a Royal Television Society award. Michael was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1954 and grew up playing Catchy Shubby, an informal and fast-moving form of cricket, in scrubland behind his parents' home. He made his debut for Jamaica aged 18. Two years later he played in his first Test match for the West Indies and went on to become part of a team that would make sporting history – not losing a single series for 15 years. Michael earned the nickname ‘Whispering Death’ for his long quiet run-up and extremely fast deliveries, and many cricket experts believe he bowled the greatest over in Test history – to the English batsman Geoffrey Boycott in 1981 in Barbados. He retired from international cricket in 1987 and became a well-respected and straight-talking commentator on the game: he has said this is his last year in the commentary box and he plans to return to his home in the Cayman Islands. DISC ONE: Don't Make Me Over by Dionne Warwick DISC TWO: War by Bob Marley And The Wailers DISC THREE: Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba DISC FOUR: Color Him Father by The Winstons DISC FIVE: What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye DISC SIX: Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins DISC SEVEN: That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick Featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight And Stevie Wonder DISC EIGHT: Who the Cap Fit by Bob Marley And The Wailers BOOK CHOICE: Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela LUXURY ITEM: A football CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick Featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight And Stevie Wonder Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Katy Hickman Photo BBC / Amanda Benson
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music. Radio broadcasts, hallo unlearned event, and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island. rights reasons the music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening My castaway this week is the cricket commentary, and form west indies fast, bowler, Michael holding known as whispering death on the pitch and vague militia, was commentary off it he's a cricket legend widely regarded as one of the greatest fastball is in test history.
born in half way tree kingston jamaica. He made his davy his home island aged eighteen and nineteen. Seventy three he played his first test. Much for the west end two years later becoming part of a team who would go on to make sporting history not losing single series for fifteen years in that time heap old what any cricket historians regard as the greatest over in test history to the english batman, Jeffrey boycott retirement brought a second korea is euphonious delivery, combined an intimate knowledge of the game made him one of the most respected broadcast commentators of recent times. He moved beyond the boundary last year when rain stopped play. He delivered powerful monologue on racism in sport and society. it won him numerous prizes, including Roy
television society aboard and it was like much of his career, unplanned. He says a lot of things have done in my life. I never planned them a pretty. Much live my life as it comes when I play es cricket. It wasn't like I ever sat down as a little boy and said I am going to pay for the west indies Michael holding, welcome to desert island discs, vancouver almost lauren glad to be here so like you might not have planned it out, but it has been an impressive career, an integral part of the most successful west, Indian cricketing era commenting on the game for over thirty years. How does it feel when you reflect on older, as we will be today feel very lucky learn. To be honest, I feel very, very fortunate because my life would have been so different, but for this game cricket eve said that this is your last.
here in the commentary box, and I know so many people will miss your beautiful voice. You ve also been very straight talking commentator, though yo unafraid, to speak the truth about what's going on in the game how's that received at home, I wonder in the caribbean. I've been called by us before it all somebody from trinidad. He doesn't like trinidad and it doesn't like people from anti doesn't leg in one from Ghana. Eventually, when I could decide jamaican. We are. I am from this at all. I dont like that particular person. What not just the way it is after all, while although some people might not like some of the things that I see the respect, what I'm saying so I dont worry about that too. Cricket funds will know that you're not to an image of the erasmus has in this. For my kid is twenty twenty format, these short fast matches, though they all growing popularity. here on the wrong side of history in this is the future of the game. Maybe it is a hub
why the alarming cause! I can definitely see that less a direction which the administrators, our great they keep on giving lip service the disk cricket and keep on talking about its ultimate game. What thou be shortened more lauren, they know of a hundred more give, so they move from a hundred twin. The boys know to a hundred bought your life. compassion is test cricket. What look fires your donation about, because it is at all commit test of corrupt of skill, of longevity, you go out and play a hundred and twenty border hundred ballgame on a bus month. Brains does Gozo there, he gets fortify runs from fifteen boys. Any comes in our everyone tells him. He had done a great job. Fifteen balls, laurent fifteen balls, you go out and your ball for all buzz and you may get too for thirty is all you have done a fantastic job before all of us. Can you need for ten twelve fourteen sixty? Nor was that is the true test of some.
The bills. Do not for all was well we're. Gonna talk more sport, but, of course we're gonna make time for the music and were about to hear your first disk today, Michael down, you gonna, by choosing your selections today What more so my selections, our from my early days them didn't happen lasting impression on me? No, this first, one, for instance, is when I use I'd want to begun station in jamaica, amusing, the unworried on a sunday on. We use it on me, Should we never missed it so wisely chosen this particular track, because I want to tell people this is what I am don't try to meet me all over me as I am Don't make me who
Don't make me over by Dionne warwick. so my care wanted to get back to July, twenty twenty rain. It stop play during the tv coverage of a test. Much and you began an impromptu your speech. That would become a full minute monologue on institutional racism. This was in the wake of George floyd's death, even to win numerous awards, feel eloquence and passion, and you were speaking from the heart when you is completely on scripted tom at the moment, yeah? Well, in all these I've been bugging me in on in my mind for decades what I just let it does wash.
For me, and I move on and ignored loring. I just wish that we could come to the point in life. We are people, you see, people ass people. I'm people stop seen. Religions and races and gin does and thus thing. I'm will where those people on it just came out in just came flying that do you realize it s? What reform in its yet won't? You said something many interesting, though, when you describe in it, you said I had those experiences and for a long time I too short them off and moved on every time. Something happened to me by shogunate off, because I said to myself: I don't live this life in jamaica, I'm going back to jamaica when I'm done, and this is something that algiers put behind
I don't have to limit, but after a while, after coming to england, so many years and then being involved in society self meeting, so many caribbean people here in england it sty too. We are on me to be honest. It was not just something I could keep, and showing off. I think you once said mikey. If I'd grown up in the uk, I would be dead now what you mean by that when I was a young man Laurin, I was a little bit fiery I remember my cricket in korea are unique, a stump in new zealand and ninety eight because of might fire in nature at that point in time miller I have come down a lot, but growing up with that sort of fire at temperament. I could have done something that I shall not don't and especially, if I lived in amerika, I wouldn't have gotten to teenage. He said that energy mean didn't anne and don't exe you're racism at home in jamaica, but it was when you left that it started to come into focus for you. What happened when did
unity, remembered the kind of any stinted in civilian areas. Incidents or in austria happened in not lift. We are indirectly, gentlemen, sauce on if you come into the life, because it prompts proxy failed intimidated by the black men in the lift on a but as a door was closing a shorted areas. Remark in northern, not those other things, but what I keep on telling people doing alluring. Although these things happen, I've had a lot more positive experiences in Austria in england, where ever than the negative ones- and it has been so much discussion abides plays taken a neighbour for games, it cricket and in other sports team at some critics argue against play is apparently allying themselves with the more political elements of black lives matter. I wouldn't have won't your perspective is blocked. Lives might have been a political movement. I don't wanna hear about. I have here about the three words black lives matter: people with black skin. There
this matter. That is what I care about. So all those who are looking for a good piece of thread to try and unravel entirely to region is because they do not want change. They cannot give me any other reason for trying to unravel it, making its ten percent music disk number two? What is it and why we got here today. Will this one is war? No bob marley.
Until a call upon my skin is no more significant than a collar resize. You gonna have war all over the world. This sung actually doing laurent is bob marley, taking a speech by impure majesty heels lassie from Ethiopia. On turning that speech into his son of a bitch, you men, guaranteed without It is all the more money in the whales and war, but molly. Of course,
mikey synonymous with your home country or mutual home county ray. I wonder if you ve ever crossed paths, not really the closest I got to meet in Bob marley was one day driving along in a half we, a tree area were came up to the clock to or where there are traffic lights. I stopped might be right at the front, and a blue Bmw came up beside me and as well as it were molly. So he looked at me. I looked at him. I nodded at money nodded at me. Under the last june's only drew a war, or I might rather wanted tat you back to jamaica. Now, obviously, an anti or family there and growing up your mother met your father at church in eighty was ralph, but apparently some of her family were quite unhappy with them. Between them. Why was that? Because of the color reason in jamaica collar ism stems from racism, because the races in fact makes you believe that the more pierce
You are better off. You are in a more like the art to get forward in life and she was a brown skins jamaican. She wasn't white. She was mixed. My father block in a one looks at me can see. Oh doc, I am so you ve unheard produce me again, just as much oh don t woods and saw her funded. Didn't want her to be associated optimum. Getting married to him. I like that sounds like she knew her own mind, though she heard, I think you ve described terrorism. Disciplinarian vermont saw very bored so alarm, my mother, that teach I eventually I hid mistress. So you know what and what not sought a discipline that entails. And she was always eta monday about education and learning and bettering yourself. My father never got a piece of paper behind this new. My father was a self made build up
contractor predict what my mother was always a stickler for discipline. She never ever meted out the punishment, because I was a little bit. We're was as a kid I couldn't. it's still in a window whirlwind cricket, for instance, and as such, it they'll be cooking everything on a friday night, rid of us up up up on such a day on the such an amount, I would disappear, but I did not want to go to bring it out so by an upper because those did you just sit in a cheer all day and there is no we're going to sit and watch here. I'll do so. I would disappear. and when they realise that the confines me they would have to go to cricket thing, you ve said about your dad's that he was the strong and silent type. But woe betide you if he stepped out of line. I am getting slight foreshadows of whispering death. Did you grow up to take after a minute of it? Yes, I think
My father was nearby excite to blood nibble. Some one to make a lot of noise are too short about anything. He was quiet what he did what he had to do. You were born in nineteen, fifty foreign kingston mikey and you with the youngest of four children. By quite some margin, I think it would be of the family, and your sister marjorie says that you were thoroughly spoiled nor bodily behaved ferris. Those are my mother's bite me this. Is she allowed me to get away with another thing that they did not get away with what I got a few bits of punishment? I got some see you as well as being a dime Before we took more about your only days play in sport mike, I think we'd better have disk number three. What are we going to hear next and why this? Nor is why that day out again. Remember for my youth- and this is my early and corn- does know it. Anyone from south africa Miriam mucky, but- and this is a sum that pretty much major world famous.
God put up the we do and remind the mood, and so no matter how many
mackay, bat and potter potter, so Michael holding your first experience and playing cricket was in school, bland behind the house in what you ve called the organised chaos of catchy shoe. Big judges should call can tar balls. I'm gonna have to ask you to tell me, through this step that at a time when we could not afford to buy little boys on a carpenter boards are blocked bore. Let was painted red just a big look like a nice red leather ball, but the entire thing about the game lauren is that Is it taught you all different aspects of cricket for one everybody wants to, but the only way you could get too, but is in all the batsman, thus putting on to hit the stumps unwise storms we use corrugated iron so that when the boy
he did it made a loud noise because we use anything as that did not make a noise a button I saw it didn't he didn't want me sit down whatever, because there are no empires if you're in the old feel on a boy goes high in the air, you don't just sick long date, antagonize compatible catch. Everyone wanted to actual people are pushing you are. We are fighting to get to the baltic to catch, so we really should be came from his the pushing eliza like shoving yes shopping, but because, should you progressed pretty quickly and you were playing informal matches, the mountain cricket club uninvolved curricle matches? What are you doing god into rural irids on sunday and why they are of course, what matters, because every time there was a much light that a boat was killed and that was launched. It was such a great for local kid with the these big men, because I'm eleven twelve thirty
not the moors, and these guys are eighteen, nineteen, twenty. I know the continent in big men in all upstanding managers in the society. So was that the point that you start dreaming ambitious, big drainage. I had never had an ambitious big dreams. I just played on had fun. mikey would ve gotten makes in time for the music. This ascent number four today tell us what we got here next and why have chosen it again. This goes back to my youth, a gentleman that use a go to my sister. I ve had a car on, of course, use car had a cassette dick in it on one of the first class it see got was of the wind stunts is called collating father mama,
by the way? What do you know color him for the winston the you made your first class debut at eighteen years old, but you remember by that date or was nineteen dollars. I would almost nine what I remember is being extremely unfit and not knowing people had started Talking about me, no cause I've done very well at school, normally again big men and I think all I've got to charge inside charged in first or second or third or fourth toolbar. Ended, affordable by was walking known defined. They gonna see into massive. Please laud, don't let him com a file if do away. I was dying
died. I was out on my feet. I was just two years They said no, nine. Seventy five! You had chosen to join the west indies team and to australia. What do you think captain Clive, lord soaring? You were nothing. You saw potential. I don't think he expected me to play in Austria. I think he is drop said to himself Whilst it is youngster to Austria that twenty one years old best placed to one lord, the boy fast, good, fast bones and peaches, you learn. I do come on that tour. What you're so happened that this elected mina first ist you so you gain playing experience, but sadly a way wasn't very happy time,
tat s, it press photo of human tears on the pitch at one point. What went wrong in that, for there would have been sidney, which would have been the fourth dismount and the first ball after tea. I got rid of young redpath out got sick on boil. After tea, everyone knows exit dump. I got rid of young children caught behind unknown by us had not out. I couldn't believe it. I dont think too many people in a stunts who does could believe it either and because I was so inexperience or naive, I went out the actual cover region. I went down on my knees and assaulted. Gripe has not requested of it being just somebody Douglas could
I believe there is also some squabbling within the team. I think you must have been pretty disillusioned by cricket in your future in it when you got home when I went to a matter for my father was an interest investors could get anymore. I told him if that is best in this regard. I dont need to be a part of it, because we had a lot of squabbling, a lotta in fighting in that team. So by the time he got home e thought right, I'm going to study and get a proper job and we could have lost one of the greatest fast bonus in history to banking or competing fang carry packer. The australian businessman invited you to pay it well. see we're cricket. How did that change things for you tunes my love totally. I was at university, remember Laurin, nine incentivize in essex gone to Austria, it up for about three and a half months. He had sixtus matches and I earn six hundred
us and this man is no show me a contract, twenty five thousand australian dollars per year, guaranteed for three years, so that blew my mind making will find out what happened next, first, that we gonna hear you next day, its number five today. What view chosen, what's going on by a mob and git was one of the first portas sons. It was a big hit pick it up once in gay and why
Screwing on and Michael holding. Listen might not be surprised to know that you singing along with every red and have quite a fine voice. I must say nor not at all, not at all. My brother had often dusty boys, so mikey your first overseas to ITALY, then came in nineteen, seventy six, and that was the year that the england captain, the south african born tony gregg, made comments which he has subsequently apologized for about making the west didn t quotes grovel. How did what he said affect you in the team, its borders on learning, spurred us tremendously, because for that comment on that particular word to becoming from us south african during the part I era we didn't take kindly to it and went away, came to decrease the far smaller phone at extra yard or two of bees and the other english batman didn't like button within winnie when he was a decrease
but later on in life loreen, and that, if this is what education is about, I got to understand tony gregg was in norway, aris stages use around term and again looking back nineteen syn. Six at the over the last ten much when we meet six hundred ones in earnings and beat them by lutz when hunting was leaving that even the last time on the western style, too short grovel, gregg problem here down on his hands and knees and crawled last few steps off the field beyond nooks and then stood up again to walking site racist, do not behave that way. When a compliment you on the undue statement that you slipped in, that we beat them by lots of its history impact that a little bed in one game in that series. I think you ended up taken fourteen wickets that was assumed lastest to the uninitiated. Can you explain
How formidable diane's willed our own a twin, do we could submit dignan in a test, much tend in aeginetans an I got it in one innings on six in the other, which of course is a record for the west indies and ignored is not something that you do every day. That's your record in itself stands resources threw stones of the record for west indian fast bullets, winning with it huge source of pride for the caribbean, but I know that on that first to you also learned how much it meant the caribbean diaspora you played in early practice match against sorry, but your fans weren't happy that you weren't plain to win yes, when nuth realised that we were not she's in the target. The mood changed immediately, undistorted to jeer on short abuse son. I am brand new to england, so I am purple next, I am wondering why are these people behaving like this, but then gone grinage? The person who said to me clouds gone group
democracy airing on god said we make these guys want us to win every game we play, because the feel good about themselves if they are time coming from where they came from, can win They ve figured if their team could we not the cricket, feel on be respected. They had a better chance of being respected off the cricket veal because they felt they were not respected in this country and thus a fur england, I gotta be it's time for me it making. What are we gonna hear next and why you taken this track to the island, will another day imperative.
What you gonna your next from feel cunning and again is a boat people, not recognising the good fortune that they have phil and and another day in Paradise. So my I want to talk to you about your bowling. Now. I've seen many videos of you, you off or off in the distance, and then he turn on
begin this long graceful run up towards the crease it and you the nickname, whispering death. Why actually dickie, the world famous on bio, give me that name and as a dickie, what what's his whispering, they think is so mikey when I was on pairing. You started so far back. I can hear you coming How to keep on looking behind me to see your actual eroding it. But what about this death and I never killed anyone. He say what you could of I mean it was wrong. Was cricket was a dangerous sport back then,
Did you lose, but the seventies was also an era of minimal protection for battle for dixon nor helmets and even the pods lauren armadillo. My first or tortured us emphasise in six against those quick is known: they're gone, grenades be richard Laurens rule. All of them took clive light. All of them took bath. Toilsome stopped on the front of your pads, because equipment was not good. That led to make sure that when the boy heat, the pandit didn't go straight through unhurt them and his feet in the balkans Finally, when ninety miles per hour- yes, yes, yes it, it was pretty quick club, lloyd on myself, ended up in a hospital in the same light in Sydney he got his on his chin. I got mine in my eye, ah allow that must have been scary. Yes, what we just
that is part of the game. Lorry needle fastball, as you gonna have boys recent past. Your head is up to you to keep your eyes on the ball and get out of the way and the pang says fed people he want so from any with cricket able particularly controversial, and they are kind of us, as the name implies. Yes, is directed at the bottom ones body. The innocent people will tell you all. You shouldn't, have intimidation in cricket uninfluenced boiling, but that is what the bonds that was meant to nor to intimidate to find out. If you have got the strength of courage to stand up here and deal with it, learn I never want to hurt someone. What I wanted to do was intermediate amount of frightened them and
for them to play a shot that there are incapable of playing on getting themselves out. So it is a game of cat and mouse that you're playing with batman and notify you planned with the mines. You're playing the mines are lock your known for the perfect over against jeffrey boycott, told me through its fourteen march nineteen eighty one, barbados, the kensington oval, yes, boycotts is, is the best overboard because it was born to him it. The circumstances were you're right, I run in an ball from the very first ball as fast as I could unlock led wind. We I wanted to go on that entire or what was pretty much on was perfect after defeat in Y got a thing for of the first by was once it is: glove fell, short of joy guy, not golly, and the last one he d awesome, both in a groan and then
tat groaned erupted. It's often referred to as one of the greatest moments in cricket. It's been immortalized in book seats even got poem written about it, but I don't think you think it was your best not really, nor indeed did in old people. Get him general, both things and because it was boycott on because in order crow done the eruption of the crowd on the picture that or teton on people got carried out, with our lot more me personally, I think our boy better, not on different occasions, you were ready for a time and when it came along in nineteen eighty seven, I think how difficult was it to decide to step back from the game the highest level wasn't difficult at all or, and I was ready for retirement two years before I actually retired mike. You will find out about the next chapter ii, stepping into the commentary box after your seventh choice today, what have you gone full and why this is a great son on through my life. I have got to appreciate this more and more.
And its that's. What friends are for very important people in your life, What and damn that's what friends before Dionne warwick stevie wonder Elton John and gladys night, Michael holding your first stint on the radio doing. common tree was, I think, for one day, international, the west indies against pakistan, nineteen, eighty eight, it's very particular skill set. How long did it take you to get the hang of it? It took me quite some time too few
whatever I was very nervous. I was very conscious of what I was seeing on because, irrespective of what people think english is not my first language when you're going up in jamaica was without a lotta patois. Nice pool very slowly initially, because I wanted to make so I pronounced mozilla with, even when I wasn't supposed to bigger nodes insular boots. I voted with took me a long time to be comfortable anden floor a bit more and to stop worrying about making mistakes. Mikey throughout your life you're. The passion I know has been horses and horse racing wended that love affair start that started from my youth. When I was a kid, my brother's godmother, who was or next door neighbour on the horses, and so he used to go down to the rear struck with her in the mornings, quoting grass and taken it, does you're the feed them and that sort of thing- and I got me-
more and more interested in horses, undine definite decision of the horses on the fact that you could go to the stables and put them on that sort of thing I just kept on growing too. I got to the point where, aside on horses, when I saw the play a quick What did you love about it? I just love being alone horses. I logged in tat comrade rate stabilization, lorry meet a lot of Friends in the industries without between us be jockeys, arduous grooms? What about when your horse wings? How does that threaten comparative? Taken? Wicket, not just taken a week it that is a bigger thrilled to me than taken up five for artists. Much one pfeiffer pfeiffer means the uptake via because then innings, which doesn't happen very often. I really did that ten times in my entire career, I tried to destroy my wife, one such she could not understand, but believe me, weeding our reason wing going out and holding onto those regions and leading that horse didn't, we know the enclosure that
give me more pleasure than take enough. I would well you ve got one more. Chance to place before we send you away with you a desert island discs? What's your less choice today, Michael holding this last one and I'm going back to bob marley on again on win back to my youth northern expression in a key. beyond that. We use in jamaica in particular, as a trauma stolen. Whoever it leak is them. Barlow is meaning. Whoever distort hit that person will crale on who over the cap fits there. Will we are it
no sorry willing, but molly and the wheelers and who the cap fit so mikey, I'm gonna send away to a different island? I am giving you the books to take with you, as well as your discs. You'll have the bible on the complete works. If shakespeare, you can also take one of the book of your choice. What will it be? I'm gonna do a book which is about nelson mandela, long walk to freedom. You can also have luxury item. What would you like I'm going to take off football? I can take a cricket, bat or a board, because I have to play with I can play football out by old.
Finally, which one track of the aid that you ve shared with us today. Would you saved from the waves if you are forced to do so, the one that means a lot to me? That's what friends are Our friends are very important in life. Michael holding, thank you very much. For letting us here. You desert island discs funds, a hobby mueller and thanks for helping me for sure I enjoyed it.
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with mikey and while it is a shame that we can't let him have jeffrey boycott tipple lot on his desk island, hopefully he'll be able to content himself by practising is appalling skills by himself. Instead, Sir Jeffrey was actually cast away by very probably back in nineteen seventy one, even before he faced Michael holdings perfect over, and you can also hear other cricketing regions, including in both him enron, con unfriendly flint of as well as the umpire dickie bed in the desert island discs, backup
all on BBC sands next time, I guess we'll be Brenda hale baroness hail of richmond. I do who will join us. Hello, this is jane garvian, with my broadcasting friend feet. Lover come in face of fact, you darling! Thank you. How are you all right? We do a pug us together called fortunately has been surprisingly successful, and it be honesty. You be really quite quite choked with emotion to discover the other people found us. Some of them move quite enjoyed it other people carping. We welcome all comers. We don't care who you are way. You are what you do or what you think. As long as your prepared to
join with us in well. What do we do if we kind of raffle we on burden, we unload. What do we do where self help grief of to that other people quite like to witness, and we don't really mind if you love with us or at us. It just welcome aboard a slightly rickety midlife ship, which occasionally has guests who have far more successful than us, but we try not to let that gets. We'd lovey to join an atmosphere says be a part of it. All you have to do. If you won t subscribe, is problem to be busy, sounds and search for. Fortunately, it could not be more simple than that.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.