“[…] Last month, the 27-year-old Nicholas Pooran made what turned out to be a smart decision. He made himself unavailable for the One Day International series against India, and opted to play in the first American Major League Cricket final in Dallas. His stunning 137 not out off 55 balls won it for Mumbai Indians New York.
“It was a decision that paid cricketing dividends and could have considerable financial return…”
The following guest column on West Indies cricket superstar Nicholas Pooran was submitted to Wired868 by Orin Gordon, a media and business consultant who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Let’s put aside for a moment the talk about the parties and candidates in the local government elections. There’s a ton of reporting and commentary on that elsewhere.
Take a moment to appreciate Nicholas Pooran, the man from Couva whose popularity cuts across the political divide and who is one of the best in the world at what he does.
Let’s also enjoy something that doesn’t happen often—a West Indies cricket series win against India, a side of bottomless depth, and wealth in every sense of the word.
With Jamaica’s Brandon King leading the charge on Sunday, the Caribbean team won the final match in Lauderhill, Florida, to take the T20 series 3-2. Pooran was the player of the series with 176 runs.
If pollsters were to sample the Trinidad and Tobago public, Pooran would garner approval ratings on par with Cuban referendum numbers. With the Caribbean Premier League set to start tomorrow—and with the Trinbago Knight Riders playing their first match on Saturday in St Lucia—we’ll get more opportunities to see a cricketer at the peak of his powers.
Pooran has long been regarded as an immensely talented T20 cricketer; but in the past six months or so he has taken his game to a new level and is one of the best two or three batters in the genre.
Up close, he’s a tad taller and more lean/muscular than he appears on TV. In the ground, he’ll treat you to some of the sweetest timing of a cricket ball that you’ll see. TV doesn’t do it justice.
The sound of the ball leaving his bat on its way out of the park is like the sharp crack of a pistol.
The game has plenty of talented strokeplayers: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Babar Azam, Steve Smith, Quinton de Kock, to name some. But it’s the seemingly effortless sweet timing of Pooran and Moeen Ali that’s most pleasing on the eye.
Last month, the 27-year-old made what turned out to be a smart decision. He made himself unavailable for the One Day International series against India, and opted to play in the first American Major League Cricket final in Dallas.
His stunning 137 not out off 55 balls won it for Mumbai Indians New York. It was a decision that paid cricketing dividends and could have considerable financial return.
The cricketing return was that Pooran kept his powder dry by avoiding the ODIs. The West Indies’ aberrant win in Barbados in a series they lost 2-1 couldn’t conceal how bad they were in the 50-over games. Pooran came into the T20 series fresh and without any ODI baggage.
The financial return is that he set out his stall with the expansion of T20 cricket into the US. It has the backing of two of the world’s richest companies, Microsoft and Google—both headed by CEOs born in India, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai respectively.
Microsoft is second (behind Apple) on the listings of NASDAQ, the second most active stock exchange by market cap after the New York’s Stock Exchange. Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google is sixth, just ahead of Meta, owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
T20 in the US is poised for an injection of serious money. The plan is that the large Indian immigrant community would lead the growth of the form of cricket that’s most palatable to American tastes.
Pooran couldn’t have picked a better time to audition in front of Nita Ambani, whose family owns the Mumbai Indians, its New York sister franchise and who had a very visible presence at the final. The Ambanis own Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company by market cap.
Fellow Trini Kieron Pollard was injured for that game, and Pooran captained the side.
Skipping the ODIs wasn’t in the best interests of WI. They needed his talents to help to reduce the gulf between the sides; but money talks loudly in the short game and Nicky P is one of its hottest commodities.
The issues animating yesterday’s LGE vote are consequential. One independent senator told me that these elections could be a bellwether for the general in 2025. But as passions are transferred to the CPL, many yellow and red supporters will find common cause in TKR; common cause that politics don’t allow them to.
Once when doing master of ceremonies duty at a post-budget event for the Chaguanas Chamber of Commerce, I told the gathering that I want to do a pulse check of the room. They sat up, listening expectantly for what I was about to say.
I am, I told them, a Guyana Amazon Warriors supporter. Cue good-natured heckling. I could see some close Trini friends joining in the catcalls.
Good, ice-breaker fun aside, the Amazon Warriors is the team that many TRK fans love to hate. They mock the Warriors for going to finals five times and never winning the title. The chicken curry jokes that stopped being funny flow non-stop.
The first home game that TKR fans get to see, at Queen’s Park Oval on 5 September, is against the Warriors. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
For those of us who support the green, Pooran is the one that got away. GAW lost Sunil Narine and Brandon King who both went back to their home-based franchises—but Nicky P feels like the biggest one of them all.