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Kieron Pollard: the player whose stature grew with the rise of T20s

Kieron Pollard playing for © Getty Images
Kieron Pollard playing for his different sides © Getty Images

Born on May 12, 1987, Kieron Pollard is today one of the most sought after players in T20 leagues. Abhijit Banare recaps the career of the big-hitter.

The phrase ‘two sides of the same coin’ could be used quite aptly in the case of Kieron Pollard and T20s. Not many would disagree that Pollard and the rise of T20 leagues go hand-in-hand. The shortest format of the game has given a new identity to many players, and Pollard’s career has been redefined by it. At 27, he is one of the highest paid players in T20 leagues thanks to his big-hitting skills.

Debut: Born and brought up in tough circumstances, Pollard, like many other young Trinidadians looked up to Brian Lara. He grew through the ranks from the Under-19 level. His first big performance was against Guyana Under-19 where he scored 74 batting at No 8. After a few more impressive performances, especially against Pakistan U-19, Pollard made it to the West Indies 2006 U-19 World Cup squad. His did well in the Stanford 20/20 as well, with a 38-ball 83 against Nevis. He made an impressive First-Class debut in January 2007, scoring 126. He was later drafted into the 2007 World Cup squad, and made his One-Day International (ODI) debut against South Africa.  His T20I debut came more than a year later in June 2008 against Australia.

Style of play: It is his all-round skills which have made Pollard more valuable than just his explosive batting. He is an ideal bowler to bring in to break partnerships or save the overs of the strike bowler by getting some out of him. Despite a huge build and long legs, Pollard isn’t doesn’t bowl with a lot of pace. At 120-125 kph, he is a bowler who batsmen target to hit out of the park, and that often gets him wickets.

When it comes to his batting, his brute strength is enough to cover up for lack of timing. Pollard’s height makes it easy to reach for the deliveries. As a result he can smack even the good length balls out of the park with complete ease. The fuller balls rarely fail to cross the boundaries. However, short balls have been an issue. Even with his height, bowlers have tested him with short stuff. Over the years, he has toned down his aggression, and can now play a mature innings as well.

IPL: Pollard’s popularity soared after he started playing for Mumbai Indians since 2010. But the demand started after he hammered New South Wales in the inaugural Champions League T20 in 2009, with an 18-ball 54. Pollard did play a few more cameos in the tournament. Pollard was in demand in the 2010 IPL player auction, where Mumbai bagged him for a whopping $ 750,000. He was one of the four players retained by Mumbai for the following season. He was even retained ahead of the 2014 auctions. At the time of writing, Pollard has scored 1,262 runs in 70 matches for Mumbai and has picked up 52 wickets besides.

Career so far: Pollard has already played 225 T20s which shows his demand in T20 leagues around the world. And as one would expect, most of the landmark moments so far have come from the shortest format. The World T20 win in 2012 adds to his sparkling T20 career. He does have three ODI centuries to his name, but Pollard needs to throw up some long innings to make him an equally effective player in the 50-over format. An average of close to 25 after 85 ODIs doesn’t indicate the value that Pollard brings to the side. He has said that he aims to play Tests for the Windies soon. A consistent run in the ODIs would certainly keep him in contention with the side undergoing some changes.

Teams played for: West Indies, Somerset, Mumbai Indians, South Australia, Dhaka Gladiators, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados Tridents.

Career statistics as of May 12, 2014

For West Indies

M

R

Ave.

50s

100s

Hs

W

ODIs

85

1869

24.92

6

3

119

44

T20Is

37

569

22.76

2

0

63*

17

In all T20s

M

R

Ave.

50s

100s

Hs

W

225

4369

30.55

22

0

89*

165

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

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