Mumbai Indians v Guyana, CLT20 2010, Durban September 16, 2010

Pollard's calm amid the violence

Nonchalance and brute power go hand-in-hand in Kieron Pollard's approach to batting

We freeze sportsmen into a solitary frame that perfectly captures their art and personality. Imran Khan was the leap. Kapil Dev was his pre-release load-up. Viv Richards was the swagger. Sunil Gavaskar was his leave outside off. Brian Lara was the whiplash square-drive. You get the idea.

If a sculptor had to chisel Kieron Pollard, he might have him finishing a hit over long-on, eyes watching the ball and the bat hanging over his shoulder. It's easy to pick that image. It would miss the essence of Pollard, however. It's the moment immediately after he completes that shot that best defines him. He drops his left hand holding the bat beside him and just stands there. Almost still. There is no expression on the face. The eyes are looking into the distance. It's that calmness that captures his nonchalance. The non-striker, who had reached half-way down the pitch stops as he learns from Pollard's reaction that it's a six.

"As soon as you hit, you sometimes get the feeling that it's going to be a six," Pollard said later. Adam Gilchrist has put it better: "You are the first person in the ground to know that it's going to be a six." It's the big-hitter's intimate private moment. It's a knowledge that gives him a high. It's an art that requires some amount of thought. "You see the ball and try to connect as much as possible. You practice a lot. You pick your areas and try to hit there," Pollard said.

Pollard's preferred areas are known to Guyana. "He likes to hit straight and to the on side towards long-on," Sarwan said. Guyana had met and stopped Pollard in the Twenty20 semi-final in the competition that knocked out Trinidad and Tobago out of the Champions league. Back then, Sarwan said his bowlers executed the plan perfectly. "You don't bowl straight to him, you bowl wider at him and make him try fetch it. Today, my bowlers bowled too full and too close to him." And he walloped them. Pollard later said the semi-final loss was in the back of his mind and it was nice to give it back to Guyana.

Guyana did bowl a lot of tripe today. Too full and too straight, as their captain said. Time and again, Pollard cleared the front foot and swung through the line. One six flew over 128 metres, the longest in the competition. Many disappeared over long-on. One, in particular, stood out. It was a full delivery and Pollard just wristed it softly. Or so it seemed. The ball was thrown back from the long-on stand.

Pollard just bullied the kids from Guyana today. In Mumbai's previous game, against South Australia, he hit one shot that screamed of quality. Shaun Tait had released an express delivery- short and climbing nastily. Pollard smashed it with slaughterhouse finality and the ball flew over midwicket and out of the ground. It was a brutal moment packed with adrenaline, courage and imperiousness. It was Pollard.

However, until he repeats this kind of violence against international attacks, and consistently, there will remain a question mark against him. Until then, his critics like Michael Holding who said "Pollard is not a cricketer" will not be satisfied. And rightly so. But before he does that, we can all enjoy his muscled hits and the nonchalance that accompanies it. Pollard reduces batting to its most basic form: See the ball and give it a whack. It's how the kids try to play. Pollard gives us the same joy; he takes us back to our childhood.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 18, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    It seems really sad that regardless of what pollard does, some of u guys would always hate on him. you talk about w.i. unity, but constantly hate on T&T players, a notable proponent of hatred against T&T is Metman, who seems to have some sort of personal life changing experiences involving a trini, really man, get over it already. The others who constantly speak to pollards failures for w.i seem to forget that the W.i teams' use of pollard is very poor, and that he has improved a lot from say, 3 years ago. The other point speaks to those of u who have an issue with t20, accusing it of not being cricket. please give your fellow cricket fans a break, test cricket was once a never ending game, it came down to 6 days, now its 5. odi cricket wasn't even in the equation, that format too was denounced at first. Give T20 a break, it's still evolving, everything starts somewhere.

  • Trevor on September 18, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    if that was the case arytons a four would yield more runs than a six . dont get me wrong i agree the measuring of distance is ridiculous but we have to admit the better shot is the one that brings the most runs.

  • George on September 18, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    You T20 fans are so confused that soon, if not already you will be watching baseball thinking that it is cricket. Example, you already refer to the pavillion as a dugout, what nonsense! you measure the distance of a six, purely Baseball behaviour, you talk about bludgeoning the ball, what a gross word to be used in cricket terms. Cricket was designed by the English folks to be an elegant sport NOT a game of crazies lashing and dashing and bludgeoning their way to millions. The most elegant shots in cricket are the cover drives, square drives, on/off drive and the late cut , all with the ball running along the turf.NOT that nonsense of hitting 63 metres sixes, you can always see that crap in baseball.

    But then again, for you to enjoy real cricket, you have to be one who enjoys the subtle things in life NOT one that tries to run at 100 miles an hour in everything they do.

  • Michael on September 17, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    @Mohamedamin !Very well said !All the Trinis are now coming out of the woodwork like ants,like Pollard has just destroyed an Intl attack.Remember,one of your writers recently said that Guyana is not up to Intl standards.@Trini 42,someone needs to tell you that CATCHES come under the heading of CRICKET,not only batting and bowling,also because Pollard scored some runs for MI ,would that make TT the best T20 team in the WI? That type of logic is called SOUR GRAPE LOGIC.Some of you Trinis need to grow up and stop living in your World of fantasy,thinking that your team is the best in the west.Some of you really need to be put on a diet of breast milk and whole wheat biscuits.TT qualified last year,and could not even make it to the final this year,maybe Guyana was the BEST TEAM LAST YEAR!

  • shahab on September 17, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    boys succeed at domestic games..pollard is merely a boy wit tons of potential,he'll be a man if he can replicate those performances for WI..good luck to him..WI need a destroyer.......trinis,plz accept the fact that your team didnt make it becuz they were'nt good enough to do so this time round.REST D GUYANESE TEAM, n support them even though they aint performing well,cuz we're all west indians..

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    Pollard in Trini terms is a good "vooper"!! Michael Holding is correct. Pollard is not a cricketer. Pollard learned his trade in "wind ball" or tennis ball cricket. Swing hard and when you connect it's well hit. But for the purposes of Twenty20, he is perfect. It's all about entertainment. The big hitters win!! I'm surprised that not many more wind ball voopers are playing T20.

  • Muthuvel on September 17, 2010, 20:10 GMT

    The wild thing Tait -150 k bouncer slightly off of its intended skull target -Pollard,the big brute and his blade - 125 meters out of the pitch. I have watched CL t20.

  • Alistair on September 17, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    Well Trini42 if I'm not mistaken its Guyana who's in the Champions League Twenty20.You should be ashamed to mention that seasoned professionals like Trinidad had dropped 5 catches.Trinidad deserve to be where they are.Maybe you should share some of those sour grapes with Pollard as all his talk it looks like MI is sharing the same faith as Guyana.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Come on! He is still not in league of Imran, Kapil, Gavaskar and Viv...Don't make such outrageous statements!

  • Ravi on September 17, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    Few made for each others:

    Sachin - One Days Gavaskar - Tests Pollard - T20s

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