To be able to go out and show my talent is what means a lot to me as a cricketer: Kieron PollardGaneshbabu Venkat |
Ahead of the CPL, Cricket Web caught up with West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard during the two T20’s against New Zealand.
CW: Polly, how does the knee feel? And how does it feel to be back to playing competitive cricket after an injury lay-off?
KP: Knee feels well. It was a not a long lay-off anyway and It’s one of many come-backs. I have been in this situation before, but this is the first time I’m coming back from injury for West Indies. It’s just a matter of going out there and being out there in the cricket field that is most important for me. Being on the cricket field and to be able to go out and show my talent is what means a lot to me as a cricketer.
CW: Do you think your batting has evolved over the years?
KP: Yes, of course. I have learnt a lot by playing across various leagues in the world. I have a better understanding of the game now than seven years ago. Even in T20 cricket I have learnt that I have to analyze the situation and try to bat situations and not try to go out and blast the ball every time from the start. There are moments where I have to settle down for a while before I can do that. I think I have understood my role in various teams now and it’s just a matter of executing them on the field.
CW: You are the epitome of the new age T20 freelancer. Do you think you will eventually have a chance to showcase your talent in Test matches?
KP: When I started out, I wanted to see myself play all three formats of the game and I still think I can. From the time I started I always wanted to play all formats for WI, but T20 came along when I started to make my mark in international cricket and that is what is in front of me today. I have never turned down an opportunity to play first-class cricket if I’m selected. My aim is to play and give my best for what I’m selected for. If I’m not selected for Tests, I cannot show what I can offer.
CW: How important is fielding to you as a cricketer?
KP: It’s very important in today’s cricket. If we can save 10-15 runs every game that is the number of runs we don’t have to score as a batting team. With the Mumbai Indians, I had the opportunity to work with Jonty Rhodes, who I admired so much. He taught us how important fielding was and we learnt how important it is that every run matters. It’s something I take pride in and I always try to give more than my best when it comes to fielding.
CW: How do you take those superhuman catches? What is the thought process behind those especially given you have to make it quickly?
KP: You really don’t think too much in those situations (laughs). It’s a split second decision, whatever happens, happens. Whatever the mind tells you to do, you do and your body follows. If it sticks, it sticks and for me it has worked on more than one occasion and I’m happy for that.
CW: Your thoughts on leadership and captaincy.
KP: I got the opportunity to lead the WI in a couple of ODI games last year, I was the Barbados Tridents captain, and yes I enjoyed it. It was a good learning experience. However I’m happy to lend a hand to any captain in whatever capacity at this point of time. I’m just willing to give my best for West Indian cricket and hopefully whatever I offer as a player or as a captain can contribute to West Indian wins.
CW: How do you handle criticism?
KP: Look, at the end of the day everybody has their own opinion. I have my own opinion, they have their own opinion. For me, it’s a matter of just listening and taking what is needed and what is not. Once you are out in the international scene, people are seeing you play and you are going to be criticized no matter what. So it’s about you, how you go about your life and how you take it and go forward. People who do not have a choice but to make an opinion you can’t help it and it makes no sense taking those opinions. If there is constructive criticism and it helps you fall back on, helps you advance what you do that is great. Other than that everyone will talk and you just have to learn to take it or leave it. (Laughs).
CW: How does it feel to be in the spotlight all the time, especially the constant focus from the media – how do you handle those situations?
KP: (Laughs). People want to see you talk; want to see you do things. Everyone wants to make a story. For me it’s a normal day, I try to be polite, I take it in my stride and move on. At the end of the day I’m a human being too and I just don’t worry about being in the limelight that much. Being from the Caribbean I’m relaxed and to me it’s all about playing cricket and what I do on the field matters more than anything else.
CW: How much do you think about cricket when you are not playing the game?
KP: Sometimes it’s better to take your mind off of cricket when you are not playing. But then again you are a cricketer, so you can’t help, but to follow what is going on in another series, what is the score? Who is scoring? But I try to keep a balance between on and off-days. I do like to spend time with family and friends and yes sometimes I do take my mind off of cricket completely and it helps.
CW: Your thoughts on the CPL. How does it compare with IPL?
KP: Sure. It starts in less than a week’s time and I’m looking forward to playing with the Barbados Tridents and making them go one step further this year. I think it would be unfair to judge IPL and CPL at this moment. CPL has been here for just one year and it was a great success and what it has done for the Caribbean is, make people come out , take notice and support cricket once again in the region. I would at least give the CPL a couple more years before comparing it with any other league.