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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.