World Cup 2019: Nicholas Pooran wants to carve his own identity

Chasing a mammoth total, Nicholas Pooran got West Indies strikingly close to the finishing line, before being dismissed by Angelo Mathews.

Nicholas Pooran celebrates after reaching his century.   -  AFP

Brian Charles Lara is his favourite cricketer. But Nicholas Pooran doesn’t want to emulate him. Rather, the 23-year-old wants to carve his own identity and lord over the bowlers.

“I have that talent and skill. I know that…” the 23-year-old said confidently, a while after hammering a solid knock of 118 against Sri Lanka on Monday.

Chasing a mammoth total, the youngster got West Indies strikingly close to the finishing line, before being dismissed by Angelo Mathews.

“It is unfortunate at the end of the day. I felt I had to capitalise in that over but it didn’t happen,” he said.

“We were so close to win the game and we just find ourselves some situation to lose our game… I was thinking of winning. The focus today was just on winning the game and it’s just so disappointing…” the visibly heartbroken youngster said.

It was not easy to take on the Sri Lankan bowling attack - spearheaded by Lasith Malinga. But, Pooran walked in, took a bit of time to settle in and then banked on his natural game to revive West Indies’ chase.

The Jason Holder-led side was reeling at 84 for four and it was Pooran, who helped the team reach the 300-run mark - something that looked impossible until the 25th over.

He joined hands with Fabian Allen and made sure that a long and steady partnership was forged.

“I knew once myself and Fabian was batting, we were in control,” Pooran said.

"Actually the bowlers didn’t know where to bowl and it got easy. Unfortunately then Fabian got run-out and I felt a bit responsible for that, but we were in total control of the game and it just slipped,” the young gun, who played his ninth ODI, said.

Before hammering a ton, Pooran’s scores weren’t that impressive. With just one 50-plus knock, he had piled up 195 runs in six innings - something not quite significant. But he let his willow do the talking against a rather strong Sri Lankan bowling attack.

“I had to control myself, build partnerships, which was the most important thing. I tried to go as deep as possible. I felt like I worked a lot harder for my runs in other games, I was getting good starts but just today I carried it on…” the youngster explained.

Coming into the tournament, West Indies was considered an underdog, but things changed as the tournament progressed.

“It just wasn’t a successful tournament for us but every good sportsman knows, you fail more than you win…” he said, quickly adding: “Each day, I want to get better and better…”

With still enough cricket left this year, Pooran hopes to put behind the World Cup disappointments and focus on the future.

That’s how cricket and life tell you - you’ve always got to keep the scoreboard ticking!