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Pollard retires from West Indies cricket; Skerritt: ‘We respect his decision’

West Indies limited overs captain Kieron Pollard announced his retirement from international cricket today, via social media, in a move that appeared to have blindsided Cricket West Indies (CWI).

The 34-year-old allrounder is at present plying his trade in India where he represents the Mumbai Indians in the lucrative IPL T20 competition. His retirement message was delivered via Instagram in the form of a five-minute video which was posted on his personal page as well as on the official page of his management company, Insignia Sports International.

Photo: Former West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.
(via CWI Media)

After careful deliberation, I’ve today decided to retire from international cricket,” said Pollard. “As is the case of many young persons, it was a dream of mine to represent the West Indies team from the time I was a boy of 10 years, and I’m proud to have represented West Indies cricket for over 15 years in both the T20I and ODI forms of the game.”

CWI did not immediately respond to Pollard’s announcement, which suggested that it was not a coordinated move between the two parties. However, roughly an hour later, the regional cricket body released a brief statement from president Ricky Skerritt.

“On behalf of everyone at CWI, I would like to express our thanks to Kieron Pollard for his outstanding service to the West Indies ODI and T20I teams over the past 15 years,” stated Skerritt. “We respect his decision to retire from international cricket and are especially grateful for the high quality of leadership and commitment he invested in both West Indies teams since his appointment as our white ball captain in September 2019. 

“We wish him continued success in his career.”

Photo: Mumbai Indians batsman Kieron Pollard.
(Copyright IPL)

Pollard was expected to lead West Indies to the Netherlands next month for three One-day Internationals (ODIs) while the Maroon Men travel to Australia this October for the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

His vice-captain and Trinidad and Tobago compatriot Nicholas Pooran is now expected to lead the team on both assignments.

Pollard replaced Jason Holder as West Indies’ white-ball captain in 2019 and, in 61 matches across both formats, steered them to 25 wins and 31 defeats. 

Considered one of the top international players of the T20 era, ‘Polly’ was initially hailed for bringing intensity and astute judgement to the post. However, his star waned when West Indies failed to advance to the knockout round of last year’s T20 World Cup and managed only a solitary win—by three runs over Bangladesh—in their five fixtures.

An embarrassing home ODI series loss to Ireland heaped further pressure on Pollard although reprieve came when West Indies defeated England 3-2 in the subsequent T20I series in the Caribbean.

Photo: West Indies captain Kieron Pollard celebrates during their T20I triumph over England in the Caribbean.
(via CWI Media)

At the start of the post-match press conference, Pollard sang a few lines from Jamaican dancehall star Sizzla’s ‘Solid as a Rock’: ‘They can’t keep a good man down/Always keep a smile when they want me to frown…’

Next up, though, was a tour of India in which West Indies were swept 3-0 in both the ODI and T20 formats. Those would prove to be Pollard’s last outings as captain and as an international player.

In his farewell address, Pollard described captaining West Indies as ‘the highest honour bestowed’ on him and said he led with ‘passion, openness, courage, and everything I could ever possibly give, both on and off the field, without ever compromising my principles and integrity’.

“I can still vividly remember making my international debut in 2007 under the leadership of my childhood hero, Brian Lara,” said Pollard. “Wearing those maroon colours and playing alongside such greats has been a privilege that I never took lightly, giving my heart and soul in every facet of the game—whether bowling, batting or fielding.”

Photo: Former West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.
(via CWI Media)

Pollard was part of the West Indies side that won the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2012. However, in 2014, following a dispute with the then David Cameron-led West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which saw the Maroon Men abandon a tour to India, he was cut from the team, along with the then captain Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo.

It took two years before Pollard eventually rejoined the West Indies.

At present, Pollard is the only West Indies cricketer to have played 100 T20Is and he has also has the honour of having struck the second-highest number of sixes (234) in international cricket, Chris Gayle’s 552 topping the list.

Last year, Pollard became only the third batsman in international cricket to hit six sixes in one over,  destroying Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya on 3 March 2021 at the Coolidge Ground in Antigua. Only South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs and India’s Yuvraj Singh had managed the feat before at the international level—both in 2007.

Between 2007 and 2022, Pollard played 123 ODIs, scoring 2,706 runs at an average of 26.01 with three centuries, and claimed 55 wickets with his medium pace deliveries. 

Photo: Former West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard prepares to dispatch a delivery.
(via CWI Media)

In 101 T20Is, he scored 1,569 runs, striking at 135.14 with a highest score of 75 not out. 

Pollard never played a Test match for the West Indies. Only David Miller, who has played 224 matches for South Africa and is still active in the IPL, has featured in more international matches without playing Test cricket.

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6 comments

  1. I was surprised like everyone else that Polly retired from International cricket. I must confess I am not an avid follower of cricket in any form but a casual observer. Being from Trinidad and Tobago, and growing up as a boy there, of course I played cricket as a boy, even getting ball, bats, pads and stumps from my mom for passing Common Entrance or Eleven plus, as it was commonly known back then.
    I moved to America when I was 16, in 1975, to join two of my brothers, my mom and my sister. Moving to America, with cricket not being widely available in Brooklyn at that time, which has changed now, I stopped playing cricket and would only follow it from afar and without much intensity.
    But I say all this to say that, even with a lukewarm attitude to cricket, I still managed to hear of Polly and what he did for the T20 game, both in Trinidad and the Caribbean and in India’s IPL.
    God speed, Polly. My first reaction was that you are going out on top, kind of quitting while you are ahead. But when I read the ‘Wired868’ story on Polly’s retirement, I soon realized that he had quite a few losses lately, which seem to have prompted this surprising retirement.
    I would love to read more because as a curious, lukewarm fan from afar, I would love to learn more of what’s going on in the cricket and other worlds that Wired868 explores.
    Good luck, Polly, in your future endeavours.
    Francis “Frank” Hislop

    • Lasana Liburd

      Well, here’s a glance at the stats column.
      As white ball captain, Jason Holder won 24 of 89 games, which is a win percentage of 28%.
      Kieron Pollard won 25 of 61 matches as captain with a 41% win rate.
      As much as Pollard has been criticised, I’d like to think he leaves the team in a better state than he found it.

    • Earl Best

      Frankly speaking, (See what I did there?) I am disappointed in my Editor.
      I would have expected him to point out to you that you should not really have been surprised.
      Always ahead of the pack where cricket is concerned, Wired868 warned readers more than a month ago–on February 12 to be exact–not to be surprised if there was imminent action on the Pollard captaincy front.
      Here is the link: https://wired868.com/2022/02/12/best-niggling-doubts-about-pollards-future-as-captain-is-he-considering-calling-it-a-day/
      But you know me well enough, Frank, to know that I am not averse to blowing my own trumpet if my Editor won’t do it for me…

      • I am happy with your prompt response. I am also bemused, amused and smiling at some of your past wit on how the major media in the country butcher language for sport. And I did read your Earl Best Feb. 12 piece raising the alert of a possible Polly retirement from international cricket.
        Kudos to you for telling us the future. Everyone would be asking you for the winning lottery numbers.
        Thanks for your forecast that was spot-on. Your wit and care and regard for the English language are the best(pun) I know..
        Well, my fellow-traveler, I am taking my leave and Frankly (pun), I enjoyed my stay..
        A fan from afar
        Frank Hislop

  2. Comprehensive house cleaning is absolutely necessary before the rise of Hetmyer, Carty and the other young players will be utilized to lift West Indies cricket out of the doldrums.
    It is long overdue for CWI to abandon the continuance of the tradition of negative behaviors and policies currently exhibited by Haynes, selectors, Simmons, coaches and ground staffs. Both personalities and policies need to be eradicated and replaced before West Indies cricket will emerge from the bottomless pit of the cricketing world.
    CWI need to try Chanderpaul, Walsh and Ambrose at the helm of men’s cricket. Ground staffs need to make every wicket in the Caribbean favorable to fast bowlers. West Indies need outstanding match-winning batsmen like Fredericks, Kallicharran, Lloyd and Richards in their first six and at least two extremely fast and outstanding fast bowlers and great close-to-the-wicket catching to regularly win Test matches.

  3. Thank you, sir, for your service/contribution you’ve made to West Indies cricket. West Indies cricket now has the opportunity to chart a new course.
    Let’s hope they seize it with both hands.