Nicolas Pooran says MS Dhoni, Brian Lara are his idols
Nicolas Pooran scored 143 runs for West Indies against Australia in the Under-19 World Cup © Getty Images (File Photo)
Nicolas Pooran’s spectacular innings of 143 for West Indies against Australia in the ICC Under-19 World Cup quarter-final was the stuff of dreams. Nishad Pai Vaidya caught up with Pooran after the remarkable effort.
Although Australia beat West Indies in the quarter-final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014, Nicolas Pooran was the talk of the town. He walked in at seven for three in the fourth over and saw his side slip to 70 for eight. However, he bludgeoned 143 off 160 balls to take West Indies to 208. The very fact that he scored 143 runs from a total of 208 reflects the power of his innings and he was the appropriate choice for the Man of the Match award.
Pooran has played a few games for the Trinidad and Tobago side and came into the Under-19 World Cup with that experience. In an exclusive chat with CricketCountry, Pooran talks about his innings and the inspiration he gets from the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the West Indian legend Brian Lara.
CricketCountry (CC): When you went in after three early wickets, how difficult was it to bat?
Nicolas Pooran (NP): It was a case of playing yourself in and making use of the bad balls. Having a look at the pitch and then at the end, putting the pressure. At 70 for eight, it was a tough task to bat with Jerome Jones. We had a partnership of 136 runs. It was a bit difficult knowing that I had to take most of the strike. It is the best innings I have ever played and I think this is my highest score.
CC: What was the task like taking on the Australian bowlers? Once they took three early, they would have been confident…
NP: Yes. Whenever they get on top, they try to stay on top. We must give credit to their bowlers as they bowled really well. They didn’t give too many bad balls. They tried to stay on top of us.
CC: Even though wickets were falling, you maintained a good strike-rate. Was that conscious or it happened naturally?
NP: It just happened naturally. I spoke to the coaches and it was a matter of bat, bat and bat, face some balls, take time, get a start and I just carried on with my innings.
CC: You did put the bad balls away and smashed a few sixes. At any stage, did you feel you had to temper it so that you bat through the 50 overs?
NP: At times, I got bogged down. But, when I tried to hit a six, I wasn’t in two minds. I had to hit it for six.
CC: How good was the support from the other end from Jerome Jones?
NP: Usually Jerome is an aggressive player. He likes to feel the ball onto bat. It was a case where he had to spend time and give me most of the strike.
CC: You’ve been with the Trinidad and Tobago side. How much did that help you for this Under-19 World Cup?
NP: It was a great experience to be at the Champions League T20 2013 with Trinidad and Tobago. It was good for me to come with that experience and be a senior player for the West Indies Under-19 team. I just had to go out there and fulfill my expectations.
CC: You’re also a wicketkeeper. How difficult is it maintaining the balance between two disciplines?
NP: Mostly I look after my batting. But, wicket-keeping is also something I keep working on.
CC: Your father was here but flew back yesterday. He missed this brilliant innings…
NP: Yes, I wish he had been here. It is unfortunate. But, I guess he is home and has seen it.
CC: Which players you look up to and what would you like to take from them?
NP: I look up to Brian Lara and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. From Lara, the scores he made and the class and from Dhoni, how he finishes an innings and his mental toughness.
CC: How much you think this will help change you as a player?
NP: I hope this innings takes me forward. I just hope I go from strength to strength.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)