Pollard - You have to crawl first
MUMBAI, INDIA - Kieron Pollard is capable of hitting bigger sixes than countryman Chris Gayle. Off the pitch though he typifies Caribbean exuberance, always ready for some fun.
Shoppers at the High Street Phoenix mall got a pleasant surprise when they came across the gentle West Indian giant who was there as part of a promotional activity organised by Adidas, who also sponsor his IPL team the Mumbai Indians.
Shawn D'Souza caught up with the stylish all-rounder for a candid chat. Excerpts:
You are perhaps one of the most feared T20 batsmen. Do you think Mumbai Indians (MI) should push you up the order?
I bat wherever the team needs me to bat as the team comes first. It’s not about me but what is best for the team. I am happy, as long as I get enough balls to score my runs.
Despite your height, you dive around on the field like a flyweight…how do you rate the standard of fielding among the Indian players?
Fielding here has been fantastic during the IPL. Players realise that fielding is extremely important, perhaps the most critical aspect in T20 cricket. The more runs you save, the less runs you have to make. But India has a fantastic fielding side. Look at Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja. As far as moving on the field is concerned, these guys are in a different league altogether.
The Windies players have been performing exceptionally well in the IPL, with Chris Gayle piling on the runs, Darren Sammy getting into the act and you, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Smith and the rest doing well. Yet as a national team, your record in Tests and One Day Internationals (ODIs) of late hasn’t been great…why is this?
Yes it’s true we were not doing well at all. But, for everything you have to take baby steps. Before you walk you have to crawl. In the shortest format, we are doing well. In fact we are now the world champions! Maybe we can take that form into ODI and then hopefully in to test cricket as well. Everything takes time. Ask me this question in a year’s time and I’ll see if I can answer this differently then.
When you hit a ball, it stays hit. What is the secret behind your ability to hit some of the biggest sixes so effortlessly?
I think it’s all about timing, watching the ball and then having a good swing at it. It’s a risky situation I put myself into, when I try to hit a six every over. I know I run the risk of mis-hitting and getting out. But that is the nature of T20 cricket and you need to back yourself to go out there and perform.
Cricket is no longer a seasonal game, but we are sure you do get breaks. How do you chill out when not playing?
Well I mostly spend time with my family. And I sleep a lot, even though that sounds boring. And yes I am a West Indian, so after each game a few drinks is par for the course. Basically I just chill out and defocus when not playing because the pressure on the cricket field is so high. You need time to relax and unwind.
You turn out for MI at the IPL, for the Trinidad & Tobago side as well as for the Dhaka Gladiators in the Bangladesh Premier League. How has playing for clubs across the world helped you?
Even as a regular international player, we experience different conditions wherever we go. So playing in a foreign country for a sustained period of time, does help in acclimatising to conditions when one comes back to play Tests or ODIS. It helps to keep excelling in the game.
All MI players are sporting a new jersey this year that promises to keep you two degrees cooler. Is it helping? Or you still need your pint of beer at the break?
Yes, the jersey really does help beat the scorching heat. So it’s a great innovation. But I would probably get myself a beer too.