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When it comes to the subject of racism and Black Lives Matter, Michael Holding has talked the talk. Now he is walking the walk.
It is in complete contrast with his outstanding cricket career in which he spent years taking wickets and terrifying batsmen before then talking about the game in his stylishly recognisable way as a commentator.
And he is quick to remind that he still is a cricket commentator first and foremost when we discuss the latest brilliant chapter of his life – a book that expands on the subject of Black Lives Matter which he spoke so movingly about last year on Sky Sports.
“I am a cricket commentator, not an activist,” says Holding. “I am happy to talk about this issue in the right forums and discuss it with anyone.
Former bowler Holding says he remains a cricket commentator first
(Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)
“But my job is to talk about cricket. I never expected that moment to get as much attention as it has. I was given the space to talk and I was ready. I’m glad it struck a chord.”
A lot of people sat up and noticed what he had to say, from the likes of Thierry Henry to Michael Johnson thanks to the clear and succinct way he described the problem. And the result is the book “Why we kneel, how we rise” which is out today.
Holding adds: “The main thing I said then, and I will say it again. It is about education and people need to educate themselves to understand what it is we are dealing with.
“There are a lot of people with a platform who are talking about education, but what education are they talking about?”
England stopped taking the knee and are wearing anti-discrimination t-shirts instead
(Image: Getty Images)
Well, Holding has certainly backed up his words with deeds, because his book is a 280 page education for anyone, black, white and everything in between to learn from.
In it, Holding has researched a history that goes beyond the status quo, for example revealing that the first man to discover the North Pole was black.
He adds: “When you discover things and you can reveal them, then you know it is going to be educational for your own race, for white people, for everybody.
“Too many brilliant people have been airbrushed out of history. I want to educate people so that we can all understand and come together.”
Holding's new book is out today
There are contributions from the great and the good of the sporting world, each of whom have had their own struggles with racism when neither their money, nor fame could help them avoid the same treatment as any other black person.
It is a harrowing read at times, but this is what education is about. Learning about the darkness as well as the light and from there comes understanding.
This book is a starting point and the ECB could do a lot worse than issuing a copy to each and every player and staff member, and having them read it cover to cover. They will not fail to learn something useful.
“Why we Kneel, How we Rise,” by Michael Holding, published by Simon and Schuster is out today.