Kieron Pollard started his T20I career in 2008 under Dwayne Bravo. There have been sweeping changes in West Indies Cricket in the past 14 years; players have come and gone, some of them decided to stick to franchise cricket only, but Pollard struck a balance. He put his nation first despite the big money distractions in franchise cricket.
As West Indies takes on India in the second T20I at the Eden Gardens on Friday, all eyes will be on the big man who will have the tricks up his sleeve to make his 100th game an occasion to remember.
If one goes by Pollard's T20I statistics, the lack of a hundred may raise eyebrows given his long stint in international cricket. But he doesn't play for personal records. Being a middle-order batter is not easy in the shortest format as there are a handful of deliveries to score off. He has been an impact player by scoring those crucial 30s and picking up important wickets. His bowling suits T20 cricket. He keeps it stump-to-stump, and the constant change of pace makes it difficult for the batters to think aerially.
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Pollard has only six T20I fifties. The first came in 2012 against Australia at Gros Islet. He had smashed a 26-ball 54 not out, but an inexperienced West Indies bowling lineup couldn't defend the 150 runs on board. Later that year, he scored a 29-ball 63 not out against New Zealand at Lauderhill to lift his side to 209 for the loss of two wickets. It involved an unbeaten 108-run stand with Chris Gayle. This time, West Indies ended up winning the game.
There was a seven-year gap between the second and the third fifty, but Pollard was slowly raising his stakes by appearing in a bag full of games in different franchises across the globe. The last three fifties have come in recent years as captain of the side.
Pollard has 42 wickets in 99 outings. Unfortunately, rain played spoilsport in the game against Ireland in Basseterre in 2020, where his career-best figures of 4/25 went unnoticed.
At present, Pollard's job is to retrieve the lost glory of West Indies Cricket in the shortest format. The two-time champion side faltered in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and the onus is on the big man to guide his nation to triumph in this year's edition in Australia.
The series win against England at home gave him the confidence, and now it is all about being consistent. "We can try to be as consistent as possible from the batting perspective. We have to make most of the limited opportunities. We have to improve in all facets of the game.
"The guys are quite confident. It is all about the execution. You have to be precise in what you do. I keep telling the guys that we have to be as accurate as possible to get it right," said Pollard during the T20I series against India.
Pollard also shares the record of smashing six sixes in an over with Yuvraj Singh and Herschelle Gibbs. He achieved the feat against Sri Lanka in Antigua last year. He won the World T20 with West Indies in 2012 and five IPL titles with Mumbai Indians.
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