- When I was a kid I had heard vaguely of the name Michael Holding. I don't remember Holding or his bowling action that vividly. All I remember was that he bowled fast, very fast, and all Indian batsmen were mortally afraid of him. Well, all but Gavaskar, but then, Kolkata was quite anti-Gavaskar in the early and mid-1980s. Anyone who could intimidate my heroes had to be someone special.
- His over to Boycott at Barbados 1981 has gone down in cricket history, and is widely acknowledged as the best over ever bowled. The first one hit him on the glove, the second beat him outside off stump, the third rapped him on his right thigh; he somehow avoided getting bowled in the fourth and fifth balls, and the last one, too quick for him, rattled his stumps.
- He was responsible for possibly the most famous line ever uttered by a cricket commentator. As he was bowling to Peter Willey, Brian Johnston famously uttered The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey...
- On a dry flat track at The Oval in 1976 he took 8/92 and 6/57 to bowl out England twice. The pitch was bone dry, the seamers had no assistance, but Holding ran through the English line-up with sheer pace in his armour.
- He once threw so hard from long leg that the ball hit the batsman's end's stumps and hit the wicket on the other end to run out Allan Knott by a distance; the confused umpires didn't give him out for whatever reason.
- 216 of his 910 test runs have come in sixes. That's 24%. Afridi has 18%, Jayasuriya 5%, Sehwag 7% and Gilchrist 11%.
- While commentating, he famously replied when asked what he thought of slower deliveries: why bowl slow when you caan bowl faaast?
- To top everything, once, during a Jayasuriya sixfest, Tony Greig was going berserk over the lusty hits. The steely forearms unleashed yet another punch over the ropes. Greig, tired by now, left it to Mike. With the crowd roaring, everyone shouting, yells and shrieks all around, everyone waited for Holding's voice to respond. He did, serenely, in that reassuring baritone: Onaather six. Yes, that was all. ALL. A perfect victory of apparently expressionless silence over hyperactive shreiks.
BANNER CREDITS: RITUPARNA CHATTERJEE
A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
PHOTO CREDITS: ANIESHA BRAHMA
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.