Kieron Pollard, at his best, is an unfettered force of nature. He bowls with aggression, bats like a maniac and leaps like a tiger, snuffing out anything within striking distance. Pollard is reminiscent of Andrew Flintoff, as the latter’s aggression, never-say-die attitude and the way he laps up the crowd’s acclaim reflect in the West Indian’s persona.
Pollard was billed as a ‘T20 terminator’ and it reflected in the Mumbai Indians’ fierce bidding to snare him in the IPL-III auction. The franchise bagged him and they are just one step away from winning their maiden IPL trophy.
What an outing it has been for the all-rounder. He hasn’t played a big innings, but has contributed with match-winning knocks. He has been an impact player in every aspect of the game.
Pollard is the fourth highest run-scorer for his team (246 from 13 matches) with a highest score of 45 not out and is the third highest wicket-taker with 14 scalps from as many games. His best figures of 3 for 17 came against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the semifinal on Wednesday.
Like Flintoff, Pollard bowls a nagging length, makes the ball to rear up to the batsman’s ribs and deftly slips in the slower ones that mostly catch them unawares.
Against the RCB on Wednesday, he swung into action with an athletic dive to run Rahul Dravid out. He followed it up with a skilful bowling performance to get rid of Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey, respectively. And if one noted the nature of the three dismissals, it was the slower delivery that did the trick each time.
But just like he cuts down the pace, he turns on the heat whenever he walks in to bat. Pollard is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball and his 13-ball 33 on Wednesday was an exhibition of strength and courage.
Time and again, his cameos down the order have lifted the Mumbai Indians and Sachin Tendulkar was right when he said after the win in Jaipur, "He (Pollard) is a sensible cricketer and I am hopeful they (the foreign recruits) will fire in the semis for us."
Like Flintoff, Pollard fears little of the consequences and Tendulkar will bank on the all-rounder to replicate his fearsome state on Sunday.