Michael Holding: I would be embarrassed to concede 40 runs in 10 overs

West Indies legend Michael Holding, a member of the 1979 World Cup-winning team, feels the one-day game has changed drastically over the years.

Holding got rid of the England openers Mike Brearley and Geoffrey Boycott, returning figures of two for 16 from his eight overs in the 1979 World Cup final.   -  GETTY IMAGES

“You’re asking some detailed questions about a tournament that took place almost 40 years ago," Michael Holding says as he reminisces about the 1979 World Cup where the West Indies bowled England out for 194 in 51 overs to retain the title.

Holding got rid of the England openers Mike Brearley and Geoffrey Boycott, returning figures of two for 16 from his eight overs. "Looking back, it is amazing to see how the one-day game has changed over the years. When I played, I would be embarrassed to go for over 40 runs in my 10 overs. Now it's a good return," Holding says.

READ| 1979 World Cup final: When King brought England down

Chasing 287 to win, Brearley and Boycott added 129 for the first wicket before Holding had the England skipper caught. Boycott followed suit soon after. However, the duo consumed 235 balls between them striking 64 and 57, respectively, as the chase trundled along at a sedate pace.

"By the time Brearley and Boycott were dismissed, it was too late for England to recover anyway. Those days with no field restrictions and the attitude to batting, the total set was going to be beyond achieving with their slow start," the West Indies great recollects.

It is said that fast bowlers hunt in pairs. But Holding was part of a fearsome quartet of pacers — along with Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, and Joel Garner — that made batsmen shiver in their shoes. Explaining the on-field at the time, Holding says, "Those days of One-Day Internationals, we basically started off with almost a Test match field placing in regards to the slip cordon, but then relaxed the field placings to restrict scoring and frustrate batsmen into making mistakes."

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The 1979 final day is also remembered for the collective assault by Viv Richards, who scored a century, and Collis King, whose quickfire 86 powered West Indies to an eventually winning total of 286 for nine. "I wouldn't say they took it to a different level, but it seemed that way because of the early loss of wickets," Holding points out, but "Collis King's innings was truly brilliant and got a little bit overlooked because of Viv's century."

Holding disagrees with the premise that today's bowlers bat better than their previous counterparts. "Joel Garner has a first-class century and I have six Test fifties along with at least one ODI half century. In our team, the bowlers were hardly required to bat but could if required," he says.

"I suspect in the modern game, batting will become even more foreign to fast bowlers with the amount of 20 over games being played where they can basically leave the ground after they've done their bowling."

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