The former South African fast bowler Shaun Pollock has signed a two-year contract with the Mumbai Indians to work as the team's mentor-cum-advisor and aid the support staff along with coach Lalchand Rajput.
Pollock's return to the Mukesh Ambani-owned franchise was under a cloud after he said last year that he would no longer be playing competitive cricket. But he revealed that the Mumbai Indians management offered a flexible job that he could accept.
"I still love the game and the pioneering aspect of a new team and a new concept is a challenge I'll enjoy. My role has evolved into that of an advisor and mentor after the management approached me with a flexible offer," Pollock told Daily News & Analysis.
During the first season of the IPL, Pollock had told the captain Sachin Tendulkar that he might not return next year but the seniors, including Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya, convinced him to continue playing at the time. Pollock was believed to be kept in the loop by the highest officials of the management this time around.
He said he was looking forward to passing on to the Mumbai team what he learnt as a cricketer though he would not consider himself as a coach. "I don't see myself as a coach," he said. "I just believe over the years I've experienced so many different approaches and methods in getting the best out of players and I think my role with the Mumbai Indians is an opportunity to pass on my skills and knowledge."
Last year, he led the franchise during the first half of the tournament after Tendulkar was injured and Harbhajan Singh was banned. He scored 147 runs in eight innings at a strike-rate of 132.43 and took 11 wickets in 13 matches at an economy-rate of 6.54.
Though Mumbai failed to qualify for the semi-finals in the inaugural edition, Pollock was optimistic about their chances in the second season. "Obviously we're aiming to win the tournament," he said. "We can improve on last year's performance and hopefully we can get the best out of our players. I believe the Mumbai Indians have the raw ingredients to be a highly successful franchise."
Pollock was happy with the new recruits, particularly the South African batsman JP Duminy. "It's a very exciting mix of youth and experience," he said. "There are legends in the team - and we know what to expect from them - and on the other hand we have guys with huge potential. I think we've got a great balance to the team. JP is having a phenomenal run and playing with confidence and hopefully he will serve the team for many years to come."