A producer from Sky Sports has denied that Michael Holding has retired from commentary, after reports began to circulate that the beloved Jamaican had put down his mic for the last time.
Initial reports of Holding’s exit from the commentary box came via the unusual source of Desert Island Discs, with host Lauren Laverne appearing to confirm the news.
“You’ve said that this is your last year in the commentary box, and I know so many people will miss your beautiful voice,” she said. “You’ve also been a very straight talking commentator though, you’re not afraid to speak the truth about what’s going on in the game. How is that received at home, I wonder?”
Holding did not confirm or deny the claim in his reply.
Last year, Holding discussed his future as a commentator. “I am not too sure how much further than 2020 I will be going with commentary,” he said. “I cannot see myself going much further down the road at my age. I am 66 years old now, I am not 36, 46 or 56. I told [ Sky] that I could not commit to more than a year at a time. If this year gets totally destroyed, I might have to think about 2021 because I can’t just walk away from Sky, a company that has done so much good for me.”
The episode of Desert Island Discs was published on the morning of Sunday, September 12, and on Wednesday, September 15, outlets including BBC and ESPNcricinfo began reporting that Holding had retired. However, Sky Sports producer Bryan Henderson, their director of cricket, replied to the latter on Twitter simply stating, “It’s not true”.
After taking 249 wickets in 60 Tests for West Indies, Holding has gone on to become one of the most well respected and treasured voices in the game. He was at the heart of the BAFTA award-winning segment on the Black Lives Matter movement which kicked off Sky Sports’ coverage of the 2020 international summer, with Holding and Sky Sports both winning Royal Television Society Awards for the special. Holding was also named Best Pundit in 2020 at the SJA Awards.
It’s not true
— Bryan Henderson (@commboxkid) September 15, 2021
Holding, 67, has since gone on to pen a critically acclaimed bestseller, Why We Kneel, How We Rise, on the history of racism told through the prism in sport.
Holding has been approached for comment.