Close’s toughness ‘legendary’: Holding


Michael Holding has described Brian Close, who died on Sunday, as one of the “toughest people in the game”. Holding was one of the West Indies bowlers who peppered Close in his final series in 1976, when the Yorkshireman was recalled by England at the age of 45.

Close stood up to Holding, Andy Roberts and Wayne Daniel, often taking the ball on the body and all without a helmet. The Old Trafford Test, Close’s last, left him covered in bruises but the lasting result was a close friendship with Holding.

“His toughness was legendary,” Holding said. “The mere fact that England thought that Brian Close at the age of 45 was the right man to be coming back to face the West Indies in 1976, with their four-pronged pace attack, just shows what they thought of him.

“But even before that time, everyone knew of his toughness. There were famous pictures of him with all those bruises on his body when he batted against Wes Hall, when he just stood there and took the blows.