The Big Man’s farewell to international cricket | Sunday Observer

The Big Man’s farewell to international cricket

8 May, 2022

Right from the outset, West Indies was full of power hitting cricketers. Sir Garfield Sobers, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Vivian Richards, Ricardo Powel, all are power hitters.

In recent times, there are two West Indian names as power hitters that we cannot remove from our minds whatsoever. They are Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard. It is not merely a pleasure to see them bat, but their very presence on the ground is also very entertaining to watch. Sadly, while Gayle has already retired from Test and One Day Internationals, Kieron Pollard, on April 20, announced his retirement from all versions of international cricket aside from franchise cricket.

Kieron Adrian Pollard was born on May 12, 1987 in Tacarigua, Trinidad, and he will turn 35 in four more days. After making his debut in the 2007 World Cup, he scored 2,706 runs in 123 ODIs at an average of 26.01 with three centuries and 13 half-centuries - his strike rate is 94.41.

Pollard’s T20I debut came in 2008 against Australia. Since then, in a total of 101 T20I appearances, he accumulated 1,569 runs while striking at 135.14 with six fifties including a high score of 75 not out. In bowling, he claimed 55 ODI wickets and 42 T20I wickets. Yet, he never played a Test match for West Indies – he is the one who played the second-most men’s international games (224) without playing a Test after David Miller.

He was also part of the West Indies team, which won the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup in 2012 after defeating Sri Lanka in the finals. Pollard recently led the West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2021 and to a T20I series win over England at home. His last international series was against India in February this year but Windies was clean swept in both the T20Is and ODI series.

Pollard’s statement

Regarding his retirement, Pollard wrote on his Instagram account:

“Hi all, after careful deliberation, I have today decided to retire from international cricket. It was a dream of mine to represent the West Indies team from the time I was a boy of 10 years and I am proud to have represented West Indies cricket for over 15 years in both the T20I and ODI forms of the game.

“Wearing those maroon colours and playing alongside such greats has been a privilege that I never took lightly, giving my heart and soul in every facet of the game – whether bowling, batting or fielding.

“As with many sports, there are highs and lows, but throughout it all I have always felt the unwavering support and love of the fans of West Indies cricket who understand the importance of this great sport to the people of the Caribbean.

“As I move on and make room for those who will carry the game forward in West Indian colours, know that I will always be supporting in whatever way I can.

“It is with profound gratitude for living my dream that I now raise my bat in salute to all that is West Indies cricket.”

In that post Pollard went on to call captaining West Indies “the highest honour bestowed” on him and that he led with “passion, openness, courage, and everything I could ever possibly give both on and off the field without ever compromising my principles and integrity.”

Fellow player’s worrying

Though Pollard bids farewell in a somewhat light hearted way, the real reasons behind the decision are only known by Pollard and the selectors. In fact, most West Indian and some of the world cricketers seemed to be shocked by his sudden announcement. For instance, Chris Gayle, his West Indies teammate, was pleasantly surprised by it. “Can’t believe you retired before me @KieronPollard55,” he tweeted.

Lasith Malinga, one of Pollard’s former Mumbai Indians teammates, tweeted: “There was more international cricket left in him, but we should respect his decision. Thanks for the entertainment, big man.”

Cricket West Indies reaction

His absence at this point of time might have triggered a great trouble for Cricket West Indies (CWI) as they are ready to compete at 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, and the ODI World Cup next year in India. Definitely, they will now have to pick a new captain in both formats.

His fingerprint

Yet, Kieron Pollard is not a name one can easily delete. In his records, he is the third batsman after Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh to hit 6 sixes in an over in T20I cricket. It was against Akila Dhananjaya during the Sri Lanka tour of the West Indies in 2021. Overall, he led West Indies in 61 matches in the two formats, of which they won 25 and lost 31. Pollard is the only West Indies cricketer to have played 100 T20Is, and he struck the second-most sixes (234) for them in international cricket, after Chris Gayle’s 552.

Pollard is a right hand batsman while bowling in right arm medium. His specialty is his ability to change the game within a short period. According to Indian cricket commentator Sanje Manjrekar, Pollard is someone who could tap a ball for six. This is why he has been the most demanding franchise player around the world.

He has been a permanent member of Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL since 2010, and in their maiden IPL title in 2013, he was the key figure where he scored an unbeaten 32-ball 60. He has also led Barbados Tridents to the CPL title in 2014, they finished runners-up in 2015. And he was among a few players who accumulated 1000 runs, 50 wickets and 50 catches.

So far he has played 13 IPL tournaments, and scored 3385 runs from 187 IPL matches at an average of 29.18. There, he claimed 16 fifties including highest score 87 runs. His overall strike rate in them is 148.60, and he hit 218 fours and 222 sixes. In this regard, Kieron Pollard is a name which remains for a long long time in cricket history.