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When Holding sent the stumps flying, with his right foot

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Last updated on 13 Feb 2023 | 02:58 AM
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When Holding sent the stumps flying, with his right foot

On February 13, 1980, the former West Indies paceman lost his cool after umpire John Hastie turned down a caught-behind appeal

The mighty West Indies were almost unbeatable in the 70s and early 80s, and arrived in New Zealand in 1980 after defeating Australia in Australia for the first time. New Zealand weren’t a great side back then and hadn’t won a Test series at home despite having already played the format for nearly 50 years.

West Indies were rightly touted as the red-hot favourites and everyone expected Clive Lloyd and his men to whitewash New Zealand. West Indies were without Sir Viv Richards but still had enough firepower to take down any opponent. However, what transpired during the course of the series left everyone stunned.

There were some dodgy decisions made throughout the three-match series. It come to a stage where West Indies wanted umpire Fred Goodall out and even threatened to return back home while the second Test was going on. 

And, all this drama started on February 13 when Michael Holding kicked the stumps in frustration after a decision of caught behind was turned down by Goodall in the fourth innings of the first Test. Let’s first talk about what happened in the first three innings.

Sir Richard Hadlee was at his best in the first innings and claimed 5/34 to dismantle West Indies for just 140 in 69.5 overs. Four of his five dismissals were lbw and West Indies were not pleased with at least a couple of them as they felt Goodall just wanted to raise his index finger the moment West Indies batters got stuck on the pads. 

West Indies didn’t have enough runs but their pace attack could terrorise any batting unit. However, New Zealand’s top-three batters - John Wright (21), Bruce Edgar (65) and skipper Geoff Howarth (33) - put up quite a fight and the hosts were 108/1 at one stage. That’s when a collapse happened and New Zealand were reduced to 168/7.

It looked like West Indies would pull the game back in their favour but Hadlee (63-ball 51) and Lance Cairns (18-ball 30) put on quite a show during their eighth-wicket partnership. They added 64 runs in no time and gave New Zealand a lead of 109 runs. 

In the second innings, Desmond Haynes slammed 105 but West Indies were still bowled out for 212, setting New Zealand a target of just 104. Hadlee took six more and finished with 11 wickets. New Zealand could smell the victory but West Indies were never going to give it to them on the platter. 

The likes of Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner wreaked havoc, with the former dismissing openers Wright and Edgar early in the innings. Holding then delivered another good bumper to John Parker and it looked like the batter had gloved it to the wicketkeeper Deryck Murray. Holding was confident and kept appealing but umpire John Hastie turned it down.

That’s when Holding lost his cool and approached towards the wickets at the striker’s end and sent them flying with his right foot. Goodall, who was standing at square leg, fixed the stumps and told Lloyd to have a word with Holding but was called “you guys are nothing but cheats” by a slip fielder Lawrence Rowe.

“The ball didn't brush the glove - it tore the glove off. Deryck Murray took it in front of first slip. Parker was on his way to the pavilion when he was given not out,” former West Indies paceman Croft told ESPNcricinfo.

Talking about the incident, Goodall said: "After Holding kicked down the stumps, I asked Clive Lloyd to control his players. As I was doing so, Lawrence Rowe at second slip said to me: 'You're nothing but a pack of cheats.'"

West Indies still managed to reduce New Zealand to 73/8 but Cairns played a crucial knock of 19 before Gary Troup and Stephen Boock got them over the line with just one wicket to spare. And, things got only worse in the next Test.

This time it was Howarth who gloved one to the wicketkeeper in the second Test and umpire Goodall didn’t raise his finger, leaving West Indies players furious. West Indies didn’t want to come out after the tea break and wanted to remove Goodall from the field. They came out after 12 minutes but started leaking boundaries and dropping catches intentionally. 

They wanted to leave the country the very next day but were asked by the board to finish the series. The last two Tests ended in a draw and New Zealand went on to win the series 1-0. However, this series will always be remembered for all those “farce” incidents more than New Zealand’s historic win.

“It wasn't cricket. That series was a farce. Secondly, yes, obviously, when things like that happen, you say to yourself, ‘That was sad.’ That was not something you want to see repeated on a cricket field and certainly not something that you would encourage people to do,” said Holding. 

“It is just something that happened, and it was a reaction to something that was taking place during that series. We are all human beings, people will react adversely to adverse events. But, as I keep on saying to people - we go through life, people make mistakes. The important thing to do is to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them.”

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