Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Whispering Death" Michael Holding's Bowling

Those who have seen Michael Holding bowl will surely acknowledge that he is the greatest fast bowler of all time. So when I came across this article in The Economist and saw the action of "whispering death (as he was called)" I could remember the days of the West Indies tour of India in the seventies, when television also made its appearance in India. Not forgetting to mention the fact that I travelled around a kilometre from home to watch it kneeling, skinning my tender knees in the process. The torture was worth it!

When I saw Michael Holding bowling to the Indian side comprising short people like Gavaskar and Vishwanath I was filled with dread. Will they be injured? Will they be decapitated? Would they survive the ignominy of having their stumps flung away like leaves in a storm? So smooth was Michael Holding's action that it is said umpires couldn't hear him approach, he would whistle past like a breath of air and release the ball at a speed of 90 miles per hour. The batsman would founder, fumble, curse, or worse, get out.

The Economist article says about the match at Kengington Oval in Barabados where Geoffrey Boycott faced Michael Holding as the "greatest over ever bowled," because Boycott (England's best batsman ever!) couldn't play a single ball in the four deliveries and in the fifth his stumps were a rotten mess.

Just wondering where "whispering death" disappeared. I have not seen him since: in interviews, as commentator, whatever that cricketers do after they retire. May be "whispering death" is honing skills of other "whisperers of death" in the sunny Caribbean.

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