Guest Info

John Wakefield Holder is a former first-class cricketer and Test Umpire. He was a right-arm, medium-pace bowler for the Hampshire County Cricket Club, taking 55 wickets at 23.27 runs in the 1970 season. He had performed a hat trick against Kent in 1972. His career average as a bowler would be 139 first-class wickets at 24.56. 

He succeeded in becoming a first-class umpire and was appointed by the International Cricket Council to be one of the five worldwide regional umpires’ performance managers. He is also the co-author of the book- You Are the Umpire and is credited with Don Oslear with the idea of a ‘bowl-out’ to decide on a draw after the Tilcon Trophy had been lost in the rain.

In 2000, Holder was a consultant for the film “The Laws of Cricket, 2000 Code,” filmed in Barbados. The movie included an interview with Holder and the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers under the direction of the renowned British filmmaker Marcus Dillistone.

Following an illustrious career of 27 years as a first-class umpire, Holder retired after the 2009 season.

About the Show

Cricket, often regarded as a gentleman’s sport with deep ties to the notion of “Britishness,” has historically showcased fair play and camaraderie on the field, symbolising unity across the Commonwealth and beyond. However, recent events have raised concerns about the sport’s true values and portrayal of Britishness.

In an episode of the Global Indian Podcast, Chief Explorer Rajan Nazran engages in a revealing conversation with John Holder to explore the reality behind cricket’s image as a gentleman’s sport.

Sadly, racism has undeniably influenced the growth and opportunities of individuals in cricket, particularly Asians and Africans, who face discrimination and limited chances to join the highest umpire panels. This hypocrisy is deeply disheartening, as the spirit of cricket, believed to be something special, has been overshadowed by these issues, swept under the rug to maintain a pristine image.

The ECB, the governing body of English cricket, has faced allegations of racism and neglect, raising questions about the organisation’s commitment to diversity and equality. The incident involving Azeem Rafiq, a cricketer who bravely called out racism within the sport, has brought this issue into sharper focus.

Even John Holder, a victim of racial slurs, experienced demotion after speaking out against ball tampering by an England captain. The lack of appropriate action against those perpetrating racism and malpractices indicates a concerning level of support from the ECB, which encourages the continuation of such abusive behaviour.

Regrettably, there have been instances of unqualified individuals being included in the umpire panel solely because of their race, further undermining the integrity of the sport.

This podcast is an eye-opening account for those who believe cricket is a colourblind industry. It sheds light on the uncomfortable reality that cricket, like other sports in the UK, has deep-rooted issues that demand immediate attention and rectification.

As a society, we must work collectively to ensure that cricket lives up to its values and truly represents a fair and inclusive sporting community. Only then can we uphold the spirit of cricket and stand against all forms of discrimination and prejudice.

Produced by Global Indian Series for the Global Indian Network.
Script by Rajan Nazran
original idea: Rajan Nazran

Introduction music: (Music credit:

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