Kieron Pollard
source: official Twitter Windies cricket @windiescricket


One of the most captivating yet perplexing quotes from the Second World War came in the form of words scribbled in the personal journal of revered German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

“What will History say in passing its verdict on me,” wondered the finest military warrior from Germany.

If you were to place the quote in cricketing lexicon, then you’d find that it’s perhaps not all too difficult to pass verdict on some.

We’ve already hailed-and rightly so- Tendulkar as the God of cricket. Sir Bradman is hailed as the ultimate Don cricket ever had. Lara was and still will be, the ‘Prince’ and Warne the ‘wizard’ of spin.

Before we could anoint one, Gayle chose his own verdict on self and hence, the legend Universe Boss.

But what would you say on Kieron Pollard- someone who even before he became an international regular was asked- “Do you want to be remembered as a legend or as a mercenary?”

Eleven years ago, Pollard had declined a West Indian contract. Today he leads the team in white-ball formats.

And in a decade since that stunning question, Kieron Pollard has gone onto represent no fewer than 23 T20 franchises, traveled across multiple continents, hit over 200 sixes in the IPL, been a part of a World Cup-winning squad (2012), become as much a West Indian as he’s transitioned into a Mumbai Indian, mentored young West Indians, seen the likes of Sarwan, Sammy, Samuels, Badree fade away, led a new bright crop comprising Lewis, Hope, Thomas, Joseph, evaded a white-wash at the hands of India in both T20s and ODIs in his first tour as captain, beaten a bowling-heavy Afghanistan in his maiden assignment as white-ball captain, and become the only cricketer in flesh and blood to have starred in 500 T20 contests.

The beauty of cricket, perhaps it may make sense to say, lies in its imperfections.

The little that we fail to do, the voids we don’t quite fill.

Just as how Brian Lara, among the greats, blasted everyone but India. Like how Sachin, arguably the greatest ever, hit a Test triple.

And maybe how a Dravid failed to lift a World Cup. Like how Waugh never conquered India, his final frontier.

In Kieron Pollard’s case, the achievements measure big akin to those mighty muscles but there are some voids he’s just not been able to fill, entertaining a globe-trotting cricket-obsessed audience for well over a decade.

Like for instance you’ll never pass a smile at his aggregate of ODI runs, average or centuries scored.

What’s there to appreciate about 2,500 runs from well over 100 games averaging 26?

That’s the void.

And there’s plenty of it if you see how the first half of his ODI career panned out.

Here’s evidence.


From 2008 to 2013, Pollard played 84 (of 116) ODIs and scored 1859 of his 2564 career runs. His batting average was 22. During this time he hit only 6 fifties and 3 centuries. And his average strike rate was 87.

But look what he’s achieved from 2014 onwards until the last year missing out in no fewer than 3 calendar years for West Indies.


What happened next?

From 2014 to 2020– wherein he didn’t feature in 2015, 2017 and 2018- he played 28 matches, which meant 19 innings and scored 627 runs. His average was 33. During this time, he hit 4 fifties and his average strike rate was 105.5.

That’s sheer impact

What’s commendable and perhaps not given its due is that while he was young, with far quicker reflexes (aged 21-26) Kieron Pollard didn’t really burst out.

But from 27 onwards until 33, he’s made serious improvements.

Make no mistake for during all this time he’d been flying across the world playing non-stop cricket.

What makes our game alluring are the little spells of magic that evade our eye.

How’s that?

In 2020 –and we hardly noted- with the world in lockdown and sport subsiding, while his West Indies took a brave call to play Tests in England, 33-year-old Polly was busy achieving some T20 landmarks.

He scored faster in T20 games than any batsman alive. His strike rate indicated he was that T-Rex out to destroy everyone: 199.

Even Gayle and AB would raise a toast and Russell would break into a wide smile.

Moreover, he averaged 50 in a format where most struggle to hit one. 11 of his 23 innings saw him remain unbeaten.

But how many cared and celebrated it with the same vigor with which we endlessly argue over whose cover drive is better- Kohli’s or Babar’s?

Pollard is clearly not your man to bat throughout an ODI inning, unless something mindlessly drastic like making him an opener happens.

Pollard won’t get the better of Zampa or Rashid and may fall prey to Hasaranga’s googlies.

He won’t have an answer to handle Jimmy Anderson on a balmy Old Trafford turf with cracks.

But Pollard will destroy you with the power a lion uses to remove a lizard from its path.

A month and a half ago, the Sri Lankans saw live demonstration of butchery as Dhananjaya was subjected to six back-to-back sixes in a T20.

At a time where achieving such a momentous milestone would’ve made any youngster jump up and down, Pollard was a figure of poise. All quiet despite massive carnage.

It’s not that he’s not shown what he’s capable of at the highest stage in world cricket. To this day, we remember Gayle’s 2012 T20 world cup heroics in the semis contest where Windies thrashed the Aussies.

But would Windies have reached 205 if Pollard won’t have blasted Watson, Starc, Cummins, and Doherty in his 15-ball-38?

To hit at a wild strike rate in a club game is fine, but to do it in a T20 World Cup semi-final is astronomical achievement.

At the Premadasa, October 5, 2012, Pollard’s s/r was 253.

Over the years, we’ve seen how the ball disappears if it’s in his slot. There were early indications of the mastery at big hitting when back in 2011, 4th ODI at North Sound, Antigua, the first game his Windies won after being spanked for three in a row, Pollard hit a 70 off 72 versus India.

The result? Windies registered a 103-run victory.

That’s true impact.

Kieron Pollard
sketch prepared by S. Rajnikanth for HoldingWilley

Truly of the kinds the Delhi-crowd was treated to a few days ago when he blasted CSK all over Kotla in a whirlwind 87, batting without a care for the northern run-rate.

But what we haven’t seen is Pollard piling up hundreds. How on earth a batsman who fires sixes at free will, one looking at whom you shudder in fear especially during a free-hit has failed to take his career average to 30 is beyond imaginable.

Just like the distraught West Indian fan finding half a decade back that Pollard was dropped from the World Cup squad traveling to Australia.

And that’s the void or the imperfection associated with a great entertainer of the game- however you desire putting it.

But then you win some, you lose some.

To his credit and fortune, Pollard, despite representing West Indies in the highest-possible capacity has proven the theme wrong that one can’t do both- play nationals as well as turn into a T20 mercenary.

To his misfortune, he missed out on 1095 days of playing legit international cricket for his West Indies (2015, 2017, 2018).

As with every cricketer destined for big feats, there are failures and foibles. But how painful might have been missing out on the 2019 squad for the ODI World Cup- we would never know.

We do know Russell, also an all-rounder returned even before halfway stage. So how valuable might have Pollard been then?

Imagine what Pollard might have done alongside Brathwaite in that game against the Kiwis?

But also swim in the surreal pleasure of imagining when Pollard would have retired though hopefully not before smoking 300 more sixes, what might he title his autobiography?

“Carnage and destruction?”

Surely we can call him anything but must we not forget Pollard’s been a fun character. Someone who put a tape on his mouth when in an apparent act to get Gayle worked up in an IPL game the umpire opposed his antics.

Someone who funnily tried to trick Dhoni that he was ready to throw to the keeper’s end when he was deliberately delaying the throw in a 2014 ODI only for Mahi to steal another single.

And more importantly someone who with three to four years of hard-fought cricket left in him holds the power to inspire a younger bunch of cricketers who would love to prove Sir Curtly Ambrose wrong that one can always try to re-achieve the glory days.

Hope, Pooran, Mayers, Bonner, Alzarri, Shanon are you listening guys? Pollard will always be willing to help.


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