Kieron Pollard: ‘Blame game’ between WICB and players must go away

The hard-hitting West Indian feels “a dialogue needs to take place between both parties.”

Kieron Pollard... “[The national selectors] are going about their business and I'm trying to see if I can go about mine as well.”   -  Getty Images

As West Indies wrestles for a spot in the 2019 World Cup, Kieron Pollard, one of its leading limited-overs specialists, is plying his trade for the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

In 2016, the hard-hitting Trinidadian was dropped from the West Indies team; an ODI fixture against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi being his last outing in national colours. Two years later, Pollard remains forthright about his snub. "The last discussion I had with the national selectors was on January 7 which was basically about availability and selection. As it stands right now, they're going about their business and I'm trying to see if I can go about mine as well," Pollard told Sportstar.

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The 30-year-old all-rounder may not be present in Zimbabwe for the qualifiers but is "watching the team closely and I hope they qualify for the 2019 World Cup."

Dialogue needed

West Indies' struggles in all three formats have been well documented, with pay disputes, a stand-off between players and the selectors and a lacklustre run in Tests resulting in a steady decline of its once fabled fortunes. And Pollard feels "a dialogue needs to take place between both parties."

"You don't want to sit and play the blame game, you don't want to blame the board or the players. You have to come together as a group for the best interest of the brand which is cricket," he noted.

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Pollard, who has never played Test cricket before, says, "At this moment, white ball cricket is where my heart is. It is what I enjoy the most. I haven't played first-class cricket for a number of years. There are a lot of people around the world who try to tell me that I haven't played Test cricket and whatever but I just want to let them know that I'm happy with my decision of playing T20s.

‘Content with life’

"Those who want to play Tests and have had the opportunity, congrats to them. I'm content with how my life is going at present."

Multan Sultans, making its PSL debut in 2018, may not have qualified for the knockouts but Pollard remains upbeat about his team's showing. "My experience with Multan has been good. Although we tapered off a little towards the end, the team's done a great job despite being a new franchise. We've given ourselves a certain identity this season. That said, I wish we had done one better," he said.

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  • Q. What was the motivation behind buying a PSL franchise?
  • A. Cricket is by far the most loved and watched sport in the sub-continent, we have grown up watching it. We have been observing the Pakistan Super League since its inception for the past two years and once we got the opportunity to be a part of the biggest cricketing event in Pakistan, we were excited to take it up.
  • Considering international cricket hasn't returned to Pakistan in full swing, how big a role do you think Multan Sultans and the PSL will play in restoring parity?
  • Multan Sultans brings an added novelty factor to the existing PSL game. The team line-up exists of domestic and international players equally, giving fans all over the world a chance to see that not only is Pakistan a great destination for holding such tournaments but also considering the number of eyeballs makes it an excellent strategic opportunity for investment.
  • Is the franchise developing any talent search camps to unearth players from remote areas of Pakistan?
  • Talent search camps are in the pipeline in the region of Multan, it’s the region Multan Sultans represents and therefore our search will start there. PSL has already unearthed a few domestic cricket gems but we’re very positive that Pakistan has much more to offer in terms of talent. We are going to launch a talent development program in the southern Punjab region in April which is right after PSL, and we can positively say that with the kind of talent Pakistan has, we are bound to find a lot of hidden gems.