Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Pollard dismisses WI selection criticism

Published:Wednesday | October 13, 2021 | 12:09 AM
Pollard
Pollard

DUBAI (CMC):

West Indies Twenty20 captain Kieron Pollard was philosophical about the criticism levelled at the composition of the squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, starting on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.

The selection of the squad has come under fire from the man in the street all the way up to political leaders around the Caribbean with the form, fitness and suitability of several senior players drawing condemnation.

“One thing I realise in life, and I have come to understand is that no matter what you do, you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t, so even if you pick John Browne, Jim Doe or Tim, we will have criticism whatever you do,” he said during an online media conference yesterday.

“We do well, we still get it, so for us, we’re focusing on the task at hand, and this is the group of guys that we have, and this is the group of guys we have selected to go and try to defend the World Cup, so it is what it is.”

WORLD CUP

Pollard also brushed aside concerns about the form of the batsmen in the team, many of whom have been playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE on the same pitches that will be used for the World Cup.

“Those who did not take part in the IPL would have had some time off and some guys would have come (from the Caribbean) and had time to reflect during quarantine and looking forward to a big World Cup tournament,” he said.

“If we look too much into the past, I think that is where we get ourselves sometimes in trouble, so let’s deal with the present. The guys that have confidence, we will roll with them, and the guys that don’t, we will try to get them into that zone during our practice sessions, we have got warm-up games and the big one, the World Cup.

“I am not too concerned because I know when it comes to international cricket and the international stage, we all have individual pride, and we all want to show what we have to offer.”

Pollard will be taking part in his first World Cup – either One-day or T20 Internationals – for the first time in seven years.

He missed the last two ODI World Cups in 2015 and 2019 because of non-selection and the 2016 T20 World Cup with injury.

STRUGGLING

Pollard said he has been struggling with moving from one biosecure bubble to the next and threw his support behind the decision of veteran batsman Chris Gayle to take a break from the IPL ahead of the World Cup.

“I’m guessing that recharge was just like those iPhones, when the battery is low, and you want to get some energy into you,” he said with a chuckle. “In all seriousness, this bubble life is very, very difficult at times.

“Guys have moved straight from playing the home series, into CPL (Caribbean Premier League), then into IPL and into a World Cup. Sometimes you need a break as a cricketer and as an individual and I don’t think enough attention is being placed on mental health for sportsmen and us cricketers at this time with all this bubble [life].”

West Indies open the T20 World Cup against England on October 23 in Dubai in a rematch of the 2016 final.

They have been drawn in Group 1 and will also play group matches against recent opponents South Africa and Australia, as well as two teams that advance from qualifying matches in the first week of the tournament.