Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Thrill of the big hit


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Seeing the ball disappear out of the ground!
That’s the motivation behind Kieron Pollard’s six-hitting in Twenty20 cricket and One-Day Internationals.
In an interview at Kensington Oval yesterday before today’s series-deciding second Digicel Twenty20 International, the strapping six-footer with the physique of a fast bowler, reveals that he actually used to bowl a few quick deliveries coming through the ranks in Under-12 and Under-13 cricket in his native Trinidad and Tobago.
“I used to bowl a little fast something but batting has taken over. I like to see the ball fly out of the Park and I have been working on that. I have worked harder on my batting than actually my bowling,” admitted Pollard, who has struck 68 sixes in 56 ODIs and another 13 in 21 T20 Internationals.
But in 138 T20 matches all over the globe, the 24-year-old Pollard has cleared the boundary a whopping 185 times.
His first scoring shot in first-class cricket as a 19-year-old was a six and he added five more sixes in a knock of 126 on his first-class debut. And he posted another century in only his third first-class match.
But he considers himself an all-rounder of some sorts, especially in T20 cricket where he has taken 115 wickets at an average of 22.35.
“If I can get some consistency and add a few yards [of pace], it will do well for me but with the time and the amount of cricket we play, is hard to get that time in order to do so. If I get the opportunity, I will do my bit but at the end, the medium pace comes in handy sometimes on sort of wickets,” he said.
“I consider myself an all-rounder but sometimes everything doesn’t go well for you. I’ve been enjoying my batting at the moment but whenever the team needs me to bowl, I try to do my best,” he added.
Asked once again about playing Test cricket, Pollard, who is one of the world’s most sought after cricketers for the T20 format, where he has secured many lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League and Australian Big Bash, as well as in England, South Africa and Bangladesh, said he is taking things in stride.
“When I started playing, my dream was always to play Test cricket. I haven’t played as yet but it is something that is there on the agenda as well but I always say, you play what is in front of you and I’m now playing T20 cricket and 50-over cricket,” said Pollard, who now averages 37 with three centuries in 22 matches in the first-class arena.
Despite scoring two One-Day International centuries in the space of five innings, and logging his first half-century for the West Indies in T20 Internationals, Pollard concedes that he is still learning the art of batting.
“I won’t say that I’m fully matured. There is always room for improvement. I still got a lot to learn as well. But playing around the world has helped me a lot, getting to adapt to different conditions, different bowlers and to different international players because when I first started playing, I needed to get attuned to them,” he said.
“When I go to practice, be it in Australia, India or England, I don’t practise T20 cricket. I work on my technique and what is required at that point in time and it has helped me a lot,” he noted
“It is something that I’ve put into my game and I’m just trying to work out what is the best formula to go out there now and win games for the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago or whichever team, I turn out for,” he added.
In spite of enjoying a measure of success in the ongoing Digicel home series, Pollard has the utmost respect for his Australian opponents with key batsmen Ricky Ponting, and his successor as captain Michael Clarke only arriving for the three-match Test series.
“Any Australian attack, you come up against, is a challenging one. This is the same attack that just won a triangular series in Australia so it has to be the best that is coming out of Australia,” he noted.
“So it just a matter of us going out there and playing whatever presents itself. They have some world class players in their bowling line-up. Any Australian team that steps on the park, has world class players and you have to respect the opposition,” he said.
“It takes one ball to get you out and I go with the flow and play each ball on its merit. That’s (strength of the opponents) is not for me to judge. What I have to judge is my performances and the performance of the West Indies team and we naturally go out there to perform,” Pollard maintained.
“At the end of the day, there are individuals and human beings and each and every one has their own talents. I can’t sit here and judge and say if they are world class or not. They are good players and they are playing for Australia and I think they are good enough to be in the Australian team,” Pollard said.


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