Former West Indies pacer Michael Holding stated that while he, just as most of his compatriots, was elated by West Indies’ win over England in the second Test at Headingley, he hopes it is not just a one-off. “The hope is it’s something the West Indies could build on but who knows?” said Holding, “People say they’ve turned a corner but they’ve turned 40 corners. It’s not the first time we have seen a performance that we didn’t expect but it hasn’t progressed.”
West Indies are touring England for a three-match Test series. While they were thrashed in the first match at Edgbaston, they won the second match at Headingley and thus head into the third at Lord’s with a chance at winning the series. “I’m dying to see what happens. It should be interesting and I’m hoping that what happened in the last match was not a blip,” said Holding.
Shai Hope and Kragg Brathwaite turned it around in the second innings and took West Indies from the jaws of defeat to a position of strength. While Brathwaite was dismissed, Hope soldiered on and got a century. He had also got a century in the first innings and is thus the first ever to scored two centuries in a single Test at Headingley. “I had no inkling that they were going to turn it around,” said Holding, “I was getting ready for some more embarrassment. Hope surprised me. I knew very little about him and before that match he was averaging 16. But I was pleasantly surprised, not just the way he batted but the way he looked at the crease. He could be a good player. But it’s too early to talk about building a side around him. Let’s not get carried away.
Holding, alongwith Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose and Malcolm Marshall was part of what is regarded as one of the most of the blistering bowling attacks in the history of the game. Allied with the batting of Viv Richards, Gordan Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, Holding was part of the West Indies that won matches all over the world and are still considered the greatest team ever to play the game. It is a far cry from what the team is now, struggling to win matches home and away. “The problem is that these days everything is about what qualifications you have, what certificate you have,” said Holding, “Curtley Ambrose, a great fast bowler, nobody can tell me he doesn’t know about fast bowling but yet he was removed as the West Indies fast bowling coach because he didn’t have the certificate. To be a coach you have to do it by the manual. Even if Sir Garfield Sobers turned up today he wouldn’t get the job without the right certificates.”