Mumbai Indians batsman Kieron Pollard in action against Chennai Super Kings during their IPL 6 match in Chennai. Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times
Having got an opportunity to bat early on after Mumbai Indians lost four quick wickets against Chennai Super Kings, the West Indies explosive batsman Kieron Pollard proved his mettle but he refuted claims of making a statement.
Time and again Mumbai Indians have faced criticism for not promoting Pollard higher than the No.6, which leaves the hard-hitting batsman with very little time to make an impact.
But in MI's Pepsi Indian Premier League tie last night against CSK, the Caribbean T20 specialist showed what he could do if given the opportunity to plan and pace his innings.
Asked the need of him to bat in the top order, Pollard said: "I can feel that some times. I do not know about the other players but I have a job to do as well as a player.
"Management staff pick the team for situations. As a team player I have to back myself to the situations thrown at me. I take the opportunity as it comes. If you do not grab the chance you do not back yourself. It was just a matter of taking to the situation and taking the opportunity," he said after MI beat CSK by nine runs.
After MI lost their top four batsmen, including Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, Pollard was at the crease as early as in the ninth over. He took the rare opportunity to prove his worth as a match-winner with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 57 off 38 balls.
Even as other batsmen found it difficult to bat on the Chennai wicket, Pollard said it was a good track.
"I made myself good to bat at that situation. The situation was demanding that I should stay on and bat, which I tried to do. To me the wicket was good and there was dew factor but it tended to slow down at times.
"You have to bowl in right areas. Obviously, I had some work to do in finishing up the overs. To me it is a good wicket," he explained.
Pollard also took a sensational catch under pressure when CSK skipper MS Dhoni was almost running away with the match.
With 12 runs to win from the last over, Dhoni hit Munaf Patel powerfully but ended up caught by an air-borne Pollard at the boundary ropes. That stunning catch sealed the fate of Chennai.
"Obviously there has to be players in important positions. There could be strategies in bowling wider ones and the batsmen tend to go for bigger boundaries. Some guys cannot face up to intervene the ball nearing the ropes," said Pollard.
On whose idea was it to send him at deep midwicket, the West Indian replied: "It was not an idea. It was felt in the earlier times in the match. It was Smith to go there but then I thought let me go there."
Asked if Lasith Malinga's presence in the team would have made the job easier for Mumbai, Pollard said although the Sri Lankan was missed, Mitchell Johnson bowled well.
"Obviously he is a good bowler. He has also missed in couple of times. But Mitchell bowled pretty well. Whatever we do, we do as a team. When he comes back, he is surely going to help us in the team. But, at this point in time, Mitchell had done a very good job."