BENGALURU: The abysmal form of Mumbai Indians all-rounder Kieron Pollard is one of the talking points of the Indian Premier League 2022.
The 34-year-old has managed to eke out only 144 runs in 11 innings at a poor average of 14.4. Known as an explosive batsman, even his strike-rate in the tournament has been merely 107.45.
Pollard was raised by a single mother in a poor household where sometimes the family, which included his two sisters, couldn’t manage two square meals a day.
A young Pollard unrelentingly bashed away in college grounds to hone his cricketing skills amid rampant deprivation. From there, he rose to become one of the most loved cricketers of the T20 generation.
‘Journey with Mumbai Indians’
After going unsold in 2009, Pollard was picked up by Mumbai in 2010 for USD 7,50,000 and since then he has been one of the most impactful players for the franchise. He has snatched victories from the jaws of defeat many a time for his team by stepping up at critical junctures. For IPL 2022, Mumbai retained him for Rs 6 crore. He was among the four players to be retained by the franchise.
But in this season, he has failed to deliver as a finisher whether Mumbai was batting first and looking to score runs rapidly during death overs or when they were chasing a target.
Moreover, the manner in which he has been dismissed and his overall body language has also come under fire. The customary exuberance which he exuded on the field is conspicuous by its absence. His bowling has been even worse than his performance with the bat. In many encounters, he didn’t even bowl a single over. Overall, he has picked only 4 scalps as yet.
His body language gives the signs of a puzzled mind and fatigue. In the middle of the IPL, he shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from international cricket. This came as a shock as the World T20 is scheduled to take place this year and the West Indies were counting on him to put up a good show.
Notwithstanding his performance in the IPL 2022, Pollard has performed amazingly well for Mumbai in the last 12 years. His knack of pulling off astounding victories from hopeless situations has been one of the biggest reasons for Mumbai’s success in the history of the IPL.
Mumbai have defeated Chennai three times in the final of the IPL – 2013, 2015 and 2019. And on all three occasions, it was Pollard who rose to the occasion and unfurled brisk, brilliant innings.
In the final of IPL 2013, the Trinidad and Tobago-born cricketer blasted 60 off 32 balls to help his side reach 148/9 in 20 overs. In the end, Mumbai won the match by 23 runs.
In 2015, Pollard cracked breezy 36 off 18 balls in death overs and steered Mumbai past 200 and they eventually won the match and the tournament. He once again shone in the 2019 IPL final by making a crucial 41 off 25 balls in a low-scoring match. In the end, Mumbai prevailed by 1 run in a humdinger.
Overall, Pollard has scored 3412 runs in the IPL at an average of 28.67 and a stupendous strike-of 147.32. The all-rounder has also snapped up 69 wickets.
Not just the IPL, in the last 10 years, Pollard has been one of the influential cricketers of the T20 format and has wreaked havoc in a string of leagues across the globe. It’ll be interesting to see whether he will bounce back and further cement his stature or will walk into the sunset.