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‘Be fair’ says ICC

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Governing body will not censor Holding for criticising match officials on air.

Chris Gayle poses for a photograph with school children during a training session at the Rose Bowl.

The ICC wants commentators at the World Cup to be fair in their observations and has denied censoring West Indies great Michael Holding for criticising match officials on air last week.

The Caribbean great was aghast at the string of umpiring errors during the West Indies-Australia match at Trent Bridge and termed the standard of officiating “atrocious”. According to a Times of India report, Holding’s outburst prompted a letter from ICC’s production partner asking the 65-year-old to tone down his criticism on air.

The report said Holding, a former pace great and an equally respected TV pundit, has replied to that mail saying he did not intend to “go down that road”.

“We have no intention of censoring anyone,” a source in the ICC, who declined to be named, told reporters.

“We have only requested them to be fair in their comment. We want different views, that’s why we have former players in our commentary panel.”

The issue has since been sorted out and Holding will continue commentating, the source added.

In the match at Trent Bridge, Windies opener Chris Gayle (pictured) received two reprieves on review after being given out on both occasions.

He was unlucky to be dismissed leg before wicket to a Mitchell Starc delivery which should have been a free-hit, but the umpires missed the front-foot no ball. Later in the match, West Indies skipper Jason Holder successfully reviewed two leg-before decisions and got both overturned.

Holder later said it was “ironic” to be at the receiving end of the umpiring howlers.

“I guess honest mistakes from the umpires, I don’t want to get into the officiating part, but it’s just ironic,” the all-rounder said after his team’s defeat.

“I don’t even know what to say about it, but it is a funny situation where all of them went against us, and then we had to review them, but I guess that’s part of the game again.”

Former West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner has said the current side stand a decent chance of winning the World Cup – 40 years since he helped them last lift the trophy with a record five-wicket haul in the final.

Holder’s Windies side have had a mixed start to their campaign, crushing Pakistan in their opening match before losing to Australia and then seeing their game with the Proteas abandoned.

They face hosts and pre-tournament favourites England in Southampton today.

“If we play the kind of cricket that we are expected to play, which is consistent cricket, we will get to the final,” the 2.03m Garner, nicknamed Big Bird in his playing days, said. “And then there’s nothing stopping us from winning the final. But you cannot depend on one or two players to get you there.

“I’m a West Indian, so of course I want to see them win. But it could be any of the top teams. When it gets to the semi-finals – that’s when the dog-fight will really begin.”

“Jason Holder has worked hard and he’s turning out to be a good leader,” Garner added. “I’d be delighted to see him lift the trophy because it’s been a long time since we won the World Cup.” However, Garner was reluctant to give his forecast for today’s game. “I’m not even going to predict that one. I just hope we get 100 overs in and see some good cricket,” he said.

Four World Cup matches have had to be scrapped so far due to rain.

Garner’s 5/38 in the 1979 World Cup final against England remains the best-ever bowling performance in the last game of the tournament.

Reuters