On April 7, 2018, Kieron Pollard turned up for the Mumbai Indians for the 2018 season opener. A fresh season marked fresh hopes. Toward the conclusion of the contest, in the game spearheaded by the unrelenting blade of Dwayne Bravo, Pollard was seen moving towards the Chennai Super King’s dugout, perhaps about to embrace his country-man Bravo.
Kieron Pollard’s 400th T20 appearance
A few minutes later, Bravo in his interaction with the media shared a staggering feat about his fellow Trinidadian. “Pollard has become the first cricketer to play 400 T20s”. Until a few seconds ago, the figure of 400 so colossally resonated with Brian Lara’s hallmark achievement.
But out here in Wankhede’s rip-roaring evening breeze, Pollard with his jersey sporting 400 was the sight everyone was beholding. Perhaps it was the only real exception that made Mumbai Indians show a grin; if only a solitary one. As T20 fans you wondered 400 T20 appearances? That’s an insane number for a man who’d hardly reached his peak.
But back home in the Caribbean, Kieron Pollard’s statistical grizzly might have irked West Indian fans a great deal: “Imagine how many of those T20 appearances could’ve been forged for national duties?”
Is Pollard a victim of changing tides in the Caribbean & world cricket?
But perhaps that’s the life of a modern-day cricketer who bases his journey on a tightrope walk- national priorities on the one hand and freelancing duties on the other. Back in the late 1990s, the only times you heard of West Indian cohorts rebelling against the board were the likes led by Lara and co. They’d return upon a series or two of having their differences resolved. There was this faith that things will get to normal rekindled by a waning supply for cricketers in the Caribbean. Moreover, T20s hadn’t emerged.
Although there were signs of a cacophony that might plague the next generation cricketers. And much to the dismay of the current generation- Sammy, Pollard, Narine, Russell- the big names have risen with their meteoric talents at a time where even social media is giving voice to popular public sentiment, rising rabble in favour of ‘dismantling the Caribbean cricket board’ altogether.
The scenes are both emphatic and troubling.
Here’s the euphoria. Kieron Pollard with his beastly frame and ripped muscles, phenomenal agility and big striking promise is the kind of figure you need to grind an opposition into dust in modern cricket. There’s not the slightest of an anomaly in Pollard’s fitness, for being a man of his mighty frame. The sights of jumping around in lush green or dulled outfields devoid of grass offer familiar compliment to the prowess of smashing sixes everywhere from a Jo’burg, Mohali, Wankhede, Lahore and Jamaica. Nearly 2500 runs and in excess of 150 sixes have been registered for the IPL.
Here’s the trouble. How come a promising cricketer who dreamt of representing West Indies in Tests become a T20 poster boy?
The last 50-over world cup that Pollard was a part of was 2011. You’re gutted to note the big fella wasn’t a part of the ICC World T20, 2016 either. He might have to his credit the trailblazing feat of having hurled sixes for nearly 14 T20 leagues around the world but last featured in a national T20 about a year ago.
There’s further grimace when you note that despite the Trinidadian (making it clear in media) aborting rumours on his availability for West Indies said “I am available for T20 and ODI duties” wasn’t overlooked by the selectors.
Should IPL form be a stimulant for national selection, why was Pollard ignored but Russell picked?
At a time where IPL form determines national selections and even leads to heartbreaks, you are confused and coaxed into pondering was Russell picked for the Windies’ Charity T20 (vs World XI) on IPL form?
And if so, then why would a Pollard be ignored- 56 wickets, 12 fifties, nearly 2500 IPL runs and his compatriot be picked despite having missed 12 months of cricket on alleged doping violations?
You don’t love Pollard for his technique to evade cyclones, rather for thudding quick, mighty runs
The constantly changing fabric of the sport proclaims the rise of T20s. Familiar struggles ensue elsewhere in world cricket. A Maxwell isn’t always part of Australian national unit. Pant isn’t yet to debut for India akin to Sanju Samson. And in the Caribbean, the game is dancing to the tunes of selectors who, despite public’s widespread criticism of misgovernance have put together a young, confident unit- Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell.
Even Ramdin has recently forged a comeback. Will there be hope for Pollard?
It’s this bittersweet symphony has largely gone on to represent Kieron Pollard’s cricketing stint
The West Indies don’t seem to be suffering from the malaise of a dearth of talent anymore; rather have the problem of plenty.
While you have an astonishing strike rate of a 150 in T20 leagues (around the world), there’s the underwhelming feeling surrounding the number of T20s he’s played for Windies- just 56.
You can still expect him to lift his sides’ fortunes possessing the familiar flair for destruction.
At 31, he’s far from being an old-guard. But despite being a beacon of T20s and for essaying muscular savagery, the world deserves to know- what future does Pollard hold?