Michael Holding, who is often known for lambasting T20 cricket and players who give priority to it, seemingly changed his tune in a recent interview.
Explaining why players from certain countries become ‘T20 freelancers’, the 67-year-old empathised with them by noting the huge gulf in the remuneration they receive from playing T20 leagues compared to when they play for their country.
Michael Holding further explained how players from Australia, England and India usually give priority to their national team, as their respective boards pay them well. However, players from other countries strive to maximise their earnings by playing in various T20 leagues across the globe.
Speaking on the Times of India Sportscast, Michael Holding said in this regard:
“Cricketers who play cricket for a living, it’s their profession, they are going to look to try and maximise their earnings. Cricketers from the poorer countries, most of them will be thinking to themselves – ‘where can I get a T20 contract?’ Because that’s where the money is. The cricketers from the richer countries, they’ll still want to play in these tournaments, but they don’t have to because your countries – , India, England, their cricketers get huge financial returns from their countries and by playing Test match cricket. A contract is like a million pounds; an Australian contract millions of dollars.”
#OnThisDay in 1975, the great Michael Holding made his Test debut.— ICC (@ICC) November 28, 2020
He finished with 391 wickets in 162 internationals at 22.84 👏
In 1976 against England, he picked up 14/149 – the best bowling figures in a Test match for West Indies 🔥 pic.twitter.com/BLS2aVWyWU
Elaborating further on the same, Michael Holding noted that cricketers have short shelf-lives so it is difficult for them to turn down a chance of getting a big pay cheque.
“Then also, they will be thinking to themselves – ‘yes, I’m earning enough money by my contract and start to dedicate a lot of my efforts toward my country’. While those who don’t, who is going to turn down $600,000 for six weeks when your country is paying 150,000 for an entire year? It is a difficult ask to tell someone to turn that down. So you have to look at the entire concept of what is going on in each cricketer, because it’s his living. This is how he makes his living. His career is not long lasting,” said Holding.
“I only commentate on cricket” – Michael Holding on why he hasn’t taken up a commentary stint in the IPL
"Michael Holding had one of the smoothest run-ups, one of the smoothest actions you will see ever in the history of the game."— ICC (@ICC) June 10, 2021
📽️ Celebrating the West Indies legend on #ICCHallOfFame. pic.twitter.com/WvAj9GkGoH
It is well known that Michael Holding isn’t a big fan of T20 cricket, the shortest format of the game.
In an interview with the Indian Express, he was asked why cricket lovers haven’t seen him commentate in the IPL yet, to which the former fast bowler came up with a blunt reply, saying:
“I only commentate on cricket.”
As expected, his comments didn’t go down well with fans on social media, and many slammed him for taking a dig at the Indian T20 tournament.
Michael Holding is a delusional man, and bitter. Maybe for him, Cricket means Windies cricketers going on a strike because the Board kept asking them to play without a contract. Maybe players getting paid on time doesn't constitute his idea of Cricket. https://t.co/J6QOu1mebo— अंकित 'ममता' त्यागी 🚩🇮🇳 (@sh_atyagi) June 28, 2021