Teams Played For
West Indies, Stanford Superstars, Mumbai Indians, Somerset, South Australia, Adelaide Strikers, Dhaka Gladiators, Barbados Tridents, Cape Cobras, Sylhet Super Stars, Karachi Kings, Bloem City Blazers, Dhaka Dynamites, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Toronto Nationals, St Lucia Zouks, Kerala Knights, Peshawar Zalmi, Trinbago Knight Riders, Deccan Gladiators, Deccan Gladiators
Keiron Pollard, one of the key faces in the rise of T20 franchise cricket is also the current captain of the West Indies white-ball teams. Pollard was a literal unknown until 2009 although he did make his ODI debut in the 2007 World Cup which is hosted by the Caribbean Islands.
It was the 2009 Champions League T20 that made Pollard famous as he struck a stellar 18-ball 54 against New South Wales to grab victory from the jaws of a certain defeat. Soon, a lucrative IPL contract worth $750,000 came his way with Mumbai Indians winning a literal bidding war to avail his services. For most cricketers, their story would revolve around their work in International cricket. For Pollard, it is different as he is one of the legends of the franchise game.
After all, Pollard turned down a central contract from WICB so that he could be free to play franchise cricket. And so he did to play in the Big Bash League, Friends Life T20 tournament in England apart from playing for Mumbai Indians in 2010. In his first IPL season, Pollard didn’t have the greatest of tournaments with the bat but he did fairly well to pick 15 wickets. The next couple of seasons also saw Pollard contributing very less with the bat but the IPL saw his best exploits with the willow in hand. The big-hitter made 420 runs at a strike-rate of nearly 150 to help Mumbai lift their maiden title.
The Trinidadian’s influence in MI’s best moments easily reflects his impact on the franchise. Even when the side went onto win the IPL in 2017 and 2019, Pollard had great campaigns in the bat. It was only in 2019 that Pollard didn’t make up the numbers but he still managed to come up with a few crucial knocks with none more being important than the 41-run knock in the IPL final against CSK. With the ball, Pollard might not be the quickest going around but he is certainly a clever operator who has come up with the goods on several occasions. There is a common perception that Pollard is one of the wisest cricketers going around due to the way he picks his match-ups, be it batting or bowling.
Pollard’s involvement in helping Mumbai win six titles (Two Champions League titles) until 2019 has already made him a legend at the franchise but he has achieved a lot throughout the world. Including the six titles mentioned above, Pollard has won as many as 14 T20 League/Tournament titles after taking into account the CPL triumph with Trinbago Knight Riders in 2020.
At the international level, Pollard could be mentioned as a cricketer who has not lived up to his potential so far. Pollard averages only 26 in ODIs and 23.39 in T20Is to date. In terms of his career highlights, the three ODI centuries would certainly spring to mind. After opening his three-figures account against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in 2011, Pollard brought up his second hundred a few months later against Australia at a venue that is now termed as the ‘Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium’ in St Lucia. His third hundred also came against Australia with this one being scored at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia. Pollard also played a small part in the West Indies’ WT20 triumph in 2012 through a quick-fire 38-run knock against Australia in the semi-final.
One wonders whether Pollard could have achieved much more at the international stage too if he had a consistent run in the team. His first major absence from the ODI side came post-West Indies’ interrupted tour of India in 2014. The West Indies’ players pulled out of the tour mid-way due to a payment-related dispute with the board. Eventually, Pollard missed out on the 2015 World Cup too as he only made an ODI comeback in a Tri-series in 2016 which also involved Australia and New Zealand.
However, he was soon out of the team post series against Pakistan in the same year. The next comeback was only meant to be in late 2019 as the newly-appointed captain of the West Indies’ ODI and T20I teams in a series against Afghanistan. This change came about as the WICB looked at some improvements post a disappointing 2019 World Cup campaign for which Pollard was only named as a reserve player.
His captaincy credentials have never been questioned as he had already helped Barbados Tridents lift the CPL under his leadership in 2014. At 33 years of age, Pollard’s experience also made the decision only easier for the West Indies’ selectors. Even though he expressed his desire to play Test cricket earlier, it seems unlikely that it will eventual. However, Pollard struck possibly one of the best purple patches of his career in the back-end of 2020 during the CPL and also the IPL. It remains to be seen as to how long it will continue and what the future holds for the current West Indies’ limited-overs skipper.