Saturday 19 September, 2020

Holding: It's unfortunate that Bravo, Hetmyer and Paul opt out of tour

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has described as "unfortunate" the decisions of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul to decline invitations to tour England.

Johnny Grave, CWI's chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo that Bravo, Hetmyer, and Paul all expressed fears about how going to the UK could adversely affect their families.

Speaking on his Youtube programme Mikey – Holding nothing back with host Asif Khan, the 66-year-old Jamaican,  said the players' talents would be missed as West Indies seek to defend the Wisden Trophy.

"The West Indies board, before they were even confirming the tour, had told everyone and the entire public that they would not be forcing anyone to go on this tour," Holding said. "If any player decided they weren't absolutely sure about going on tour, they weren't confident of proceedings they could opt-out. And these three guys have opted out.

"I think it's unfortunate as far as West Indies cricket is concerned. I'm not going to tell anyone that they should be going to England because Covid-19 is around, someone may get sick or even worse. But at the same time, I think it's unfortunate for the West Indies team because these guys have quite a bit of talent, and they'll be missed."

(From left) Darren Bravo, Keemo Paul and Shimron Hetmyer.

CWI on Wednesday confirmed that the three players turned down the chance to travel to England for the postponed three-test series that will be played in bio-secure environments amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, CWI stated that it “will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection.”

West Indies players must travel a month before the first test in Southampton starting July 8 in order to quarantine and begin training.

The other tests will be played in Manchester starting July 16 and July 24.

Batsmen Bravo and Hetmyer were members of the West Indies team that beat England 2-1 at home in 2018-19. And Holding was looking forward to seeing both in England.

"I'm sorry that Bravo in particular isn't going because Bravo, I think, needs to resuscitate his career," Holding said. "He started off so brilliantly, everybody thought he was going to be another great West Indian batsman. He hasn't really fulfilled that. I think the more cricket he can play now, especially for the West Indies, the better chance he has of getting back on track and showing everyone the great player that he could be.

"Hetmyer, again, I think he's a very, very talented player. I think people have heard me talk about him in the past. Again, I'm sorry that he's not going so that he can get more opportunities to express himself. But I ain't blaming them for not going."

Holding referred to by the chilling moniker‘Whispering Death’ during his playing days due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease is one of the most respected voices in world cricket and has been working with Sky Sports for the past 21 years. 

West Indies squad to tour England: Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach

Reserve players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.


July 8-12:  1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton
July 16-20: 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
July 24-28: 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester


Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: