John Holder: ‘I rocked the boat and got punished for doing my job properly’

The former Test umpire believes he was dropped after raising concerns about alleged ball-tampering by the England team

“I learned that if you rocked the boat you got punished. The black boy embarrassing English cricket, getting uppity. You’ve got to be put in your place, so they removed me from the Test panel. But they didn’t put me in my place, I wasn’t going begging to be reinstated. I kept my head up.”

John Holder doesn’t really like speaking out. As he says: “It’s not my style.” Or at least, it hasn’t been – until now. As the most senior black match official in the history of English cricket his words carry a unique status. All the more so because they’re expressed with the easy clarity of a man who feels free to speak his mind.

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