Statisticians and scorers may soon be forced to insert an additional column in scoresheets. Until now, ‘how many’ is what people have been interested in knowing when it comes to sixes, but ‘how long’ seems to be becoming equally interesting, what with Kieron Pollard sending the ball further and further.
A few days back, against South Australia, Pollard sent a sharply rising Shaun Tait delivery sailing over the stadium to a distance of 120 metres. Pushing the envelope, he smashed it eight metres farther to a mind-boggling 128 metres en route his sizzling 72 off just 30 balls, studded with nine sixes and a lone boundary, against hapless Guyana on Thursday.
The frequency at which the monster hits came too, left everyone gasping for breath – roughly every third ball he faced went for a six.
No wonder, Sachin Tendulkar was left thanking his stars for having the West Indian playing for him, not against him. “I am glad he’s playing for us. It was an amazing show of batting skill. I have never seen bowlers being mauled in that fashion," he said. And Tendulkar wasn’t the only one to be left stunned by that ferocious power hitting. South Australia Redbacks, for whom Pollard plays in the KFC T20, were thanking their stars for having escaped the full fury of his lethal blade the other day. “He’s got amazing power. He has played some blinders for us as well back home, but he seems to be hitting it farther and farther with every game,” said Redbacks opener Daniel Harris.
The affable opener recounts how Pollard made coaches back in Australia fear for their lives. “The coaches would tremble when he would ask for throw downs from 10 to 15 yards. He hits it back so hard that even we feared for their safety.”
While everyone else has one thing or the other to say about his power hitting, the man himself puts it down to humdrum ‘practice’. “I practice normally. The idea is to see the ball and make as much contact as possible. It is just all about figuring your strong area and hitting towards it. Basically, I try to get behind the ball and hit,” murmured Pollard.
But did his coaches never tried to instill in him the ‘virtue’ of hitting along the field, rather than hitting in the air all the time, even if he clears the field nine out of tem times. “Well, I still have problems (on that count) with the coaches, but I am not going to change myself,” he chuckles.
That’s perhaps just what every cricket fan would want.