The day Kieron Pollard celebrated Diwali with a blitzkrieg 18-ball 54 for Trinidad & Tobago, against New South Wales Blues, in the inaugural Champions League in October last year, it was clear that the big hitter would be chased by every franchise before IPL III.
And ever since the Trinidadian was bought for an undisclosed record price by the Mumbai Indians at the auction in February, Pollard has been the talk of the town.
But a fortnight after his arrival, Mumbaikars are waiting to see his power hitting. Twice he has given a glimpse of his raw power but on both occasions — against Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab — he failed to carry on.
Does that mean Pollard, who is just 22, is getting bogged down by the tag of the most expensive player at the third IPL auction?
“Not at all,” responds Dwayne Bravo, Pollard's senior in all of his major teams — T & T, Mumbai Indians and the West Indies. “He has not kicked off yet. We all know how dangerous he can be. But we have to understand that whenever he has gotten in to bat, there's not much that he can do.”
Bravo, who played an instrumental role in convincing the Mumbai Indians to rope in Pollard, has a point. After all, in four of the six matches that Pollard has played, the dangerous batsman has taken guard in the last five overs.
But TA Sekar, Mumbai Indians' Director of Cricket, justifies the strategy to hold Pollard back for the end. “That's where he has been batting for the West Indies and T&T. He played a crucial knock against the Chennai, which made us chase the total easily,” Sekar said.