Holding raises controversial two-tier system following defeat

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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LONDON, England (CMC) — West Indies great Michael Holding has reignited the discussion of a two-tier system in world cricket, in the wake of the Caribbean side's devastating innings defeat to England at Edgbaston.

The Windies were rolled over twice in two days for 168 and 137 in their first and second innings, respectively, losing 19 wickets on Saturday to collapse inside three days in the first Test.

“That has been in my mind since this Test series started — and I've been talking about it for years,” said Holding, a long-serving broadcaster on the Sky Sports cricket commentary team. “What is the point of having a team outclassing another team like this?

“I played Test cricket for 12 years. I never played a Test match against Sri Lanka because at that time Sri Lanka just weren't good enough to play against the West Indies.

“What is the point of having a contest like this? It's not good for cricket.”

Last year, the International Cricket Council shelved a proposal for the two-tier system which would have seen the top seven teams in the world form the top division and the five lower-placed sides pushed into a second tier.

West Indies, currently ranked eighth in Tests, would campaign in the second tier along with the likes of minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

The idea is likely to be revisited in 2019.

West Indies' continued decline, however, has kept the discussion alive, and Saturday's humbling innings and 209-run loss has put the issue back front and centre.

Holder, a legendary member of the fearsome Windies pace quartet of the 1970s and 80s, said the current team lacked the quality to properly compete with England but needed to get their selection right for the next Test starting in five days.

“We heard a lot of talk, of course, from Captain [Jason Holder] and coach [Stuart Law] along the lines of 'don't write off the West Indies, we have a chance'. That is bravado,” the Jamaican maintained.

“What they need to do is sit down and think to themselves, 'How can we actually do something on the field? What have we got?'”

He added: “They are not a great team — everybody knows that, but you've still got to make the right moves. If you lose doing the right thing, then fine — but you can't start of doing the right thing by making wrong selections.”

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