‘Whispering Death’s’ birthday


Legendary West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding celebrates his 61st birthday on Tuesday.

No bowler in history has run up with quite the lithe, rhythmic grace of Michael Holding – hence his nickname, ‘Whispering Death’.

Holding’s 60 Tests came against only four countries – England, Australia, India and New Zealand – but he was the sort of classy practitioner who could produce anywhere: 11 of his 13 five-fors came overseas, including two on an Oval featherbed in 1976, when he tore England apart with a magnificent performance (8-92 and 6-57).

And there was that over to Geoff Boycott in Barbados in 1980-81, when Holding softened him up with the first five balls and sent the off stump flying with the sixth. InWisden Cricket Monthly, Boycott’s team-mate Chris Old was described as “having the look of a man who had seen a monster”. Holding also whacked six Test fifties, four of them off England.