The injury to Dwayne Bravo that kept him out of the 2019 edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League and saw Kieron Pollard replace him as captain of the Trinbago Knight Riders may have been fortuitous.

Pollard had big shoes to fill, as Bravo had led the TKR to back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.

The big West Indies captain, the most experienced T20 player in the history of the format, lost to eventual champions Barbados Tridents in the second qualifier for the competition’s final in 2019.

Still, he has retained his position as skipper in the team and has the blessing of his predecessor.

CEO of the TKR, Venky Mysore, revealed recently that Bravo, though very successful as captain of the team, had, for a long time, wanted to pass the baton, but he had delayed the action.

"The champion DJ Bravo has been coming to me year after year and asking me to give someone else the captaincy because he wants to just concentrate on playing and enjoying the game,” said Mysore.

Bravo, who recently came out of international retirement, has also played under Pollard for the West Indies and has lauded his approach to captaincy.

“I always told him not until I am ready and that time has come and he is very happy to play under Pollard,” said Mysore.

The TKR will open the CPL season against last year’s beaten finalists, the Guyana Amazon Warriors on August 18.

“Pollard was kind enough to accept the position to lead the team at the tournament. He said if we wanted him to do it he will and we said that we will be delighted to have him as captain again,” said Mysore.

An aggressive batsman, with a penchant to clear the boundary with ease, he relies on hitting the ball out of the park. He is a little susceptible against spinners and often gets out to them, unable to pick which way it is going.

A dibbly-dobbly medium-pacer, he often rolls his fingers over the ball and bowls his leg cutters on a consistent basis. As a fielder, Pollard is one of the best in the world and has taken some unbelievable catches. An all-round fielder who can field at any position, he uses his long reach to good effect.

Pollard is also the second batsman to score more than 10,000 T20 runs, and the first to play more than 500 games in the format.

His experience and ability to analyze the game, in addition to his aggression made him the perfect candidate for West Indies white-ball captain. Pollard has led a West Indies resurgence in the formats.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Kieron Adrian Pollard

Born: May 12, 1987 (33), Tacarigua, Trinidad

Major teams: West Indies, Adelaide Strikers, Australian Cricketers Association All-Stars, Barbados Tridents, Bravo XI, Cape Cobras, Deccan Gladiators, Dhaka Dynamites, Dhaka Gladiators, Karachi Kings, Kerala Kings, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Mumbai Indians, PCA Masters XI, Peshawar Zalmi, Pollard XI, RR Sarwan's XI, SC Joseph's XI, Somerset, South Australia, St Lucia Stars, Stanford Superstars, Toronto Nationals, Trinbago Knight Riders, Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago XI, West Indies Under-19s, WICB President's Celebrity XI

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

 

T20I Career - West Indies (Batting)

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

73    60    12    1123         68    23.39         849 132.27         0      4      73         66    36    0

T20 Career – Batting

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

501 450 126         10000      104         30.86       6641         150.57     1         49    647 652         288 0

 

T20I Career- West Indies (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

73    48    654 919         35    4/25         4/25        26.25         8.43 18.6 1         0      0

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

501 322 4974         6798        279         4/15        4/15         24.36       8.20         17.8 6      0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Made 1123 T20I runs in 73 matches at 23.40
  • Has taken 35 T20I wickets at 26.26
  • First cricketer to play in 500 T20 matches
  • 2nd most runs in T20 matches (10,000)
  • One of 2 players to reach 10,000+ T20 runs

 On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  

Mental exhaustion or not enough effort on the field?

  England beat the West Indies by 269 runs and took the series 2-1 to reclaim the Wisden Trophy forever. Windies captain Jason Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said, “It’s been challenging, it’s been really challenging, mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.”

Though I agree it is difficult to play any sport during a pandemic and acknowledge the upheaval, surrounding social injustice issues, taking place, to simply attribute the Windies poor result to these issues is unacceptable. I agree the current climate is different than what anyone has ever experienced before but the Windies loss was brought about by a lack of team effort on the field.

Holder went on to say, “It could be this way for a little while, so we’ve got to find ways to make it work. Hopefully, things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure.”

 Each match was played behind closed doors with players unable to feed off the crowd’s energy.  While I agree that the conditions in which they played were not ideal, as professional athletes they knew the job at hand was to retain the Wisden trophy and play smart cricket. 

The Windies made a great start to their tour with a win, at the Rose Bowl, but England found form in Manchester. The shortcomings of the Windies batsmen in English conditions were exposed numerous times. They conceded first-innings leads of 182 in the second test and 172 in the series decider. The most discouraging factor was the batsmen's inability to capitalize on the numerous starts that they got as a few of the batsmen did make half-centuries. The key difference between both squads was when England got opportunities, they went big, for example, Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley.

England’s bowlers were fresh and eager throughout and that ensured their dominance of the series. A key factor in England’s success was the class of bowlers that were available to choose from as well as the effective rotation of those bowlers. It was useful that none of England’s bowlers bowled in more than two matches – not even Ben Stokes and Dom Bess, who played every game but were not required to bowl.  In the case of the Windies, our bowlers were overworked and two of our key bowlers most notably, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder, were struggling with niggles.

Though the mental strain of being away from their families and playing the game during the pandemic may have affected the Windies players’ performance, I don’t believe is it the main reason they lost the series.

 

Arsenal has aced the recipe for FA Cup success

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hoping the FA Cup victory on Saturday will convince captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to stay at the club after they beat Chelsea 2-1. The Gunners captain scored twice to seal the win, taking his team to a 14th FA Cup success. Aubameyang has less than a year left on his contract and his future at the club has been a topic of discussion.

On Saturday, when Aubameyang dropped the trophy before raising it above his head, Arteta joked, “He needs more experience with trophies, we can get him more used to that.” Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard also commended Aubameyang on his match-winning performance. The North Londoners have now landed a spot in UEFA’s second-tier competition next season. 

This triumph has rectified some of the problems Arsenal had this season, especially after finishing 8th in the Premier League.

 

 The TKR captaincy fits Polly

Kieron Pollard will continue to lead the Trinbago Knight Riders for CPL 2020. Last year, Pollard replaced Dwayne Bravo as captain after he was ruled out with a finger injury.  The decision was a beneficial one and a team with a fit Bravo and Pollard can yield success.

Bravo, who led the team to three CPL titles previously, expressed to the owner that he would rather focus on his game, while Pollard leads the team. I think it is a perfect fit for the team as Pollard and Bravo are great friends and a healthy Bravo with Pollard at the helm puts TKR in a position to win another CPL title.

Pollard has scored 1759 runs in 70 matches, at a strike rate of 148.56. He is the 6th highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament. With the ball, Bravo is the leading wicket-taker with 97 scalps in 69 games. Together both players can use their individual achievements and personalities to get the best of the unit as they seek a 4th CPL title.

Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo are among 10 players retained by the Trinbago Knight Riders for the 2020 CPL season.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes his contemporary, white ball skipper, Kieron Pollard is right for the job but needs time to get his team going.

According to Sammy, Pollard always wants to win and that is the mindset that is needed from the leader of a team if it is to be successful.

“I think what Pollard will bring is that attacking mindset,” said Sammy.

“I think his mindset is always geared towards winning and I think that’s what a leader’s mindset should be,” he said.

However, the mindset alone will not be enough to give the West Indies the edge they need to successfully defend their T20 World Cup set for November.

“He needs time. They need time to learn as a playing group,” said Sammy.

According to the only skipper to lead a team to two T20 World Cup titles, he benefitted from that time ahead of the team’s first World Cup title win.

“I am only talking from experience, from captaining in 2010. By the time 2012 came I knew so many of those guys, what situations to use them in and from constant dialogue, how I would go and who I would want to execute for me in different situations,” said Sammy.

While he is aware that his playing days with the West Indies are over, Sammy, who said he had a vision of being part of a successful T20 World Cup title defence, still wants to contribute to Pollard’s rise.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has admitted that losing the captaincy of the region’s One Day International team has not been easy for him.

Holder was replaced as captain of the ODI team last September by Kieron Pollard but was retained as a player. According to the former skipper, the transition from that leadership role has been tough.

"To be quite honest, it has been tough transitioning back just as a player," Holder said on TalkSPORT recently.

According to the former skipper, first he had to contend with getting back into the team.

"In hindsight, it has been tough trying to understand how to get back in as just a player," he said.

The switch from Holder to Pollard had caught the former by surprise, learning of it during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League, a tournament he went on to win as captain of the Barbados Tridents.

"Yeah, it was an interesting time for me. I had found out earlier in the tournament that we have moved as one-day international captain. For me, it was just trying to win it [the CPL]," he said.

Just prior to the switch and since, Holder has not proven very effective in the ODI version of the game, but says this is not a bother for him because he is acutely aware of his own ability.

Many had suggested that Holder’s place in the team was in question and he would not be in it were he not captain.

To date, Holder has taken 136 wickets in 111 innings at an average of 36.38, but in his last eight innings with the ball, he has not been able to get near those figures.

In 10 innings prior to losing the captaincy, Holder had seven wickets at an average of 69.85, while in the eight he has played since, he has picked up six at an average of 66.16.

"Performances obviously haven't been there as I would've probably liked, but I'm not too disheartened," Holder said. "I don't beat myself up. I don't get too worried because I know my ability. I know what I can produce. I just know that an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner."

According to the Test skipper, he may have been suffering from a bit of burnout, having played 62 matches in 2019.

"I felt I needed the break after the India series [in December] particularly, just to refresh," Holder said.

"I had played every single series in the entire year, I played county cricket as well, and my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge. Obviously, I needed some time to go and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player and try to work out again how just to be a player as opposed to being the captain."

West Indies ODI and T20 captain Kieron Pollard rates his quick-fire 38 against Australia in semi-finals of the 2012 ICC World Cup as one of the best and most important performances of his career.

West Indies Limited overs captain Kieron Pollard is asking his players to, not just stay safe during the most worrying times in recent history with the massive spread of COVID-19, but is also telling them to be ready for when normalcy returns.

According to Pollard, while the spread of COVID-19 has brought sport around the world to a halt, there is an opportunity for West Indies players to improve.

“I think it is a good time for introspection, a good time for reflection, a good time to look at where you are as an individual, in your career and what you want to achieve going forward,” said the skipper, a man not known to mince words.

The West Indies have been sporadically producing good results under Pollard’s watch, but the big all-rounder has craved consistency, something he says will come with a better mental approach.

That approach, thanks to COVID-19, can be honed during this time off.

“[…] you have to take the time to do that and also to keep yourself in physical shape and mentally as well because when the bell rings and you hear ‘ok everything is back to normal and we need to go on tour,’ there might not be enough time to prepare so you, yourself as an individual have to be prepared mentally in order for you to try to perform at your best,” he said.

According to Pollard his public statements won’t count as new to the players.

“[…] guys have been notified as to where they need to be and the onus is on individuals to try and meet those requirements,” said Pollard.

There are so many things to love about cricket.  But most of us will freely admit that very few things are as satisfying as watching the ball scream well clear of the boundary ropes, perhaps to parts unknown. Unless, of course, you are watching your favourite bowler, or it was your team that desperately needed the ball to stay in the ground. 

Standing obdurately at the crease to deliver these telling blows are often some of cricket's Supermen, bulky, sinewy they come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains constant, once they get going, nothing gets in their way. 

Today we pay tribute to 10 of the game’s biggest hitters but with a twist. Our hitting greats have been put into two teams of five. Who could you count on to get the runs you need? Your guess is as good as ours.  Below are the picks for 10 of the heaviest hitters.