16th January 2014
WInding Back – video views of West Indian cricket
Back on November 19th Roland Butcher interviewed former international umpire John Holder after we’d all appeared on an edition of Mason & Guests (hence John’s references to comments ‘that evening’ by Andy Roberts, a fellow guest).
They discussed: the current state of West Indies cricket; the standard of cricket in the Caribbean; the impact of the Future Tours Programme; the importance of English County Cricket as a learning experience; the USA’s potential involvement in the upcoming Caribbean Super50 tournament (their place has since been taken by Combined Campuses & Colleges); his career as an international umpire; neutral umpires; the Decision Review System; ‘expert’ TV commentators; match-fixing; suspect actions; his removal from the TCCB’s Test Match umpires panel; and Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement.
Since recording this interview, John emailed me the following further comments on how negative Bob Willis is, and how he seems to delight in being harshly critical:
Bob Willis seems to rejoice in rubbishing umpires who make mistakes. One of his fellow Sky commentators told me that he rejoices in being known as a hatchet man, someone who takes pleasure in being critical.
A few years ago on a TV show, he was doing an assessment of team selection for England, going through names one by one. When he got to a then young seam bowler whose name I cannot recall, he dismissed him as not being worthy of selection because he bowled too many no balls and was therefore unprofessional.
My jaw dropped in amazement because Willis himself bowled lots of no balls. I myself have no balled him repeattedly in a county match for Warwickshire. His front foot was constantly close to overstepping the popping crease. There are far too many commentators who forget the mistakes they made as players or become experts on umpiring after reviewing three or four TV replays.
You can watch John Holder’s chat with Roland Butcher here.