ICC wants commentators to be 'fair' after Holding saga


West Indies fast-bowling legend Michael Holding was at the centre of a censorship row after it emerged he had been warned by the ICC's broadcast partners not to criticise umpiring at the World Cup. It all started when Holding criticised the umpires during the West Indies' match against Australia that was held on June 6. "This has been an atrocious bit of umpiring by both". They won two of their three games while one match (against New Zealand) was washed out.

It came after Chris Gayle was given two reprieves and was given out a third time, all in the space of nine balls. During the course of the match, Chris Gayle was declared out in a delivery that was supposed to be a free-hit.

West Indies skipper Jason Holder was also at the receiving end of an umpiring blunder after being adjudged lbw off Adam Zampa but replays suggested the ball had pitched outside leg stump. They are being intimidated - that means they are weak.' Bevan's email, which was leaked to the Times of India, began: "This is to remind you of the importance of maintaining the highest of standards and to uphold the game's best values and spirit in all that we do while covering the tournament".

He added in the mail, "ICC TV's duty is to reflect the values and not to cast doubt or negative judgment on anything associated with the tournament in our coverage".

"Inherently in live television, there are occasions when on-field decisions cause reason for discussion or debate but as ICC TV host broadcasters, our [Sunset & Vine] duty is not to judge or highlight mistakes", Bevan continued.

"We have only requested them to be fair in their comment".

Bevan added: "It's critical for us that we should never amplify umpires' mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents nor show the umpires in bad light".

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"It's a strong reminder to everybody involved to uphold the strongest of standards in our coverage".

But Holding wrote a strong reply to the ICC, the Times of India reported.

"If those umpires yesterday were Federation Internationale de Football Association officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home".

What on other days will be only a minor annoyance to an average Englishman, is turning into a major nuisance this ICC World Cup.

Holding certainly is right in expressing his express opinions over the poor standard of umpiring in as big (the biggest in fact) a tournament as the World Cup.

"Shadab is the key man in this side and I think they will look to bring him back in against India". But even the English rain was not enough to deter them from whetting their satirical chops and using them against the helpless ICC, which is now left with little option but to fearless the barbs.