Winning the World T20 without Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine proved how strong West Indies are as a team. Had Pollard not pulled out, the world would have never witnessed Carlos Brathwaite, his replacement, smoking those four consecutive sixes at Eden Gardens.
Coming from a long layoff — of around six months — both the West Indians have a thing or two to prove as they turn out for different teams this IPL.
Pollard and Narine had pulled out of the West Indies squad for the World T20 citing different reasons — Pollard was not satisfied with his rehabilitative work while Narine had to correct his bowling action that had come under the scanner several times.
Pollard’s first stint with Mumbai this season was less than pretty. Rajat Bhatia’s pace had trapped him on the backfoot even before he could hit a boundary. He didn’t get to bowl.
But if the Mumbai Indians, without match-winners like Lasith Malinga, want to improve, Pollard will have to play a stellar role.
Raring to go
“He is raring to go. He had a similar injury on his left knee. This time it’s on the right one. It’s tough when you come back from injury. He has just joined the team a week before but he’s looking good,” said Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, who clearly is looking to give Pollard more time.
“You can’t judge him after one game. He needs to be judged after the first half. But he is putting a lot of effort in training. He wants to go out and express himself. A player like him can’t be written off after just one game,” he said.
Narine might find the comeback tougher after going through a slew of correction exercises before a personal blow in the form of his father’s demise. Banned from bowling the off-spinner last year, Narine could only muster seven wickets in eight matches. It was also the first time he had an economy of over seven. KKR, however, are backing him to come good.
“I think it was just a confidence thing with Narine. I remember taking some balls from him (last year) and his action was perfect. We all know he can do it without the restriction, he can do it legitimately,” said Brad Hogg, who could probably be replaced by Narine if he plays on Wednesday.
“Let me tell you. I was struggling to pick him from the other end when he was bowling the doosra and I thought it was going the other way. He’s a class act, he’s got the skill. He was sorely missed through that World Twenty20. It’s great to have him back,” said Hogg.