Legendary pace bowler and West Indian great Michael Holding’s new book released on Thursday. Titled Why We Kneel, How We Rise, the book is published by Simon & Schuster UK and unravels the racist abuse the fearsome bowler received.
The book comes following an emotional speech on racism Michael Holding delivered during a discussion before a cricket match last year days after George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American was killed in police custody in Minneapolis. The brutal murder of Floyd was captured on video that went viral and instigated countrywide protest. The Black Lives Matter movement, which Holding discusses in his new book, grew into a global awakening, resulting in sports celebrities pledging solidarity with Floyd and other African victims of racism.
Speaking about Why We Kneel, How We Rise with popular British television show Good Morning Britain, Holding said that after his monologue during the discussion in the pre-match show, he did not want to discuss it with anyone, even though he was contacted by NBC and other news agencies requesting his comments. He further said that though he was disturbed by the booing he received initially from the crowd, he was happy that the cheering was overpowering the booing.
“As I have told people, you will always have racism. You will always have people who don’t understand. All that matters is trying to get the masses, the majority to understand and the majority to realize that things are wrong and to make changes. It’s like crime. You will never get rid of crime. But the less crime you have in a society the better off you are.”
About the Author
Michael Holding is one of the great West Indian heritage of pace bowlers, widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Holding was called “whispering death” for his stealth action and killer pace during his playing days that gave nightmares to the best batsmen of his era. Holding was among the “fearsome foursome”, a group of four quick bowlers that also included Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, and Joel Garner – considered to be the deadliest pace attacks of all time. Michael Holding ended his career as one of the leading wicket-takers for the West Indies. Post-retirement, he has played the role of commentator and analyst and is among the best cricketing minds alive.
One of the instances of racism that Holding and the West Indian team faced was during their 1976 tour of England under the captaincy of the great Clive Lloyd. During an interview before the match, the English captain, Tony Greig, said that he intended to make the West Indians grovel. That coming from a South African (Greig had South African origins) white man against the black West Indians was a shocker to the cricketing world but turned out to be a big mistake for Greig.
Before the start of the match, the West Indian captain, Lloyd simply said to his team, “I need not say anything more, our man on the television has just said it for us.” And the Greig couldn’t regret more! The West Indian pacers, all of them – Holding, Roberts, Croft, and Garner, the six-foot-eight giant – unleashed an attack of scorching pace bowling that was never experienced by the English batsmen. Many of them were injured, and to their dismay, it was all within the rules of the game. The West Indian triumph on that tour remains one of the greatest stories in the history of professional sports.
Noman Shaikh is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Bombay Reads. He grew up in Mumbai, a city he loves more than any other, and currently works as a content consultant. His expertise lies in creating high-quality academic and marketing content in the form of blogs, articles, op-eds, etc. Noman has worked with reputed brands, including Economic Times (through Spiral Media), Coinbase (through MattsenKumar), AdEngage, Della Group, GBIM Technologies, VAP Group, etc. For his published portfolio, click here. Contact Noman on noman@bombayreads for engagement.