West Indies fast-bowling legend Michael Holding was at the centre of a censorship row after it emerged he had been warned by the ICC's broadcast partners not to criticise umpiring at the World Cup.
Holding was among several commentators to receive an email from Huw Bevan, the head of cricket at production company Sunset & Vine, urging them not to 'amplify mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents'.
The email arrived the day after Holding had described the umpiring during the game between Australia and West Indies as 'atrocious', prompting him to ask whether he was needed the following day for the England-Bangladesh game in Cardiff
The situation was resolved after a further email reassured commentators they would not be censored.
understands Bevan's warning did not go down well with the ICC, who are privately distancing themselves from the idea that they would ever gag members of their global commentary team.
The controversy erupted after umpire Chris Gaffaney failed to spot a big no-ball from Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc to West Indies batsman Chris Gayle at Trent Bridge last week. The following delivery should have been a free hit, but instead Gayle, who had already been wrongly given out twice by Gaffaney, was trapped lbw.
Up in the commentary box, Holding said: 'I am sorry, but the umpiring in this game has been atrocious. They are being intimidated - that means they are weak.'
Bevan's email, which was leaked to the Times of India, began: 'This is to remind you of the importance of maintaining the highest of standards and to uphold the game's best values and spirit in all that we do while covering the tournament.
'Our duty at ICC TV is to reflect these values and not to cast doubt or negative judgement on anything associated with the tournament in our coverage.'
Referring to the no-ball incident, Bevan wrote: 'For the avoidance of doubt, this is exactly the kind of thing that we need to avoid putting to air.
'Before the event we went to great pains to explain to you all as senior production and commentary personnel of the need to avoid this kind of thing.
'It's critical for us that we should never amplify umpires' mistakes by giving airtime to those incidents nor show the umpires in a bad light.
'We should also be very careful not to look to create controversy around an event or match at any time.'
Holding issued a firm reply, telling Bevan: 'I have been doing commentary now for approaching three decades, and I see where commentators are being more and more compromised by controlling organisations to the point of censorship and I do not intend to go down that road.
'We are allowed to analyse players' strengths and weaknesses, pick apart players' techniques and faults yet when an umpire makes a cockup he is supposed to be protected?'
Contacted last night by Sportsmail
, Holding said he did not intend the email exchange to go public, and had no further comment on the matter.