Mumbai Indians are known as one of the most exciting franchises in the Indian Premier League. Five-time champions, they had Sachin Tendulkar as their captain at the start of the IPL. Apart from that, Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya and India spinner Harbhajan Singh are some of the strong names who have played for the team.
However, in 2010, MI bought the 22-year-old West Indian on the recommendation of Dwayne Bravo. That purchase was one of the turning points of the franchise. Over the next 12 years, Kieron Pollard became one of the league’s hottest properties, playing an influential role in all of the team’s championship wins.
Although Pollard announced his retirement from Mumbai Indians last year, he is currently with their brother franchise MI Emirates in the ‘World International League T20’ campaign.
He leads the franchise, taking them to the playoffs in the inaugural edition. Not only that; Pollard has amassed 394 runs in ten matches so far at a whopping strike rate of 192.2.
The former West Indies white-ball captain spoke about his rich legacy with the Mumbai Indians franchise. When asked how he looked back on his time with MI, Pollard recalled the moment he entered the dressing room as a 22-year-old while speaking to ‘Hindustan Times.’
“I look back in awe. I was 22-year-old, came in at MI dressing room in 2010. There were legends, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tendulkar, Zaheer, Bravo, JP Duminy, Harbhajan Singh. I was just one of young guys in this dressing room, just wanted to learn, be there, sit, listen to the experience that is passed on. Subsequently, 13-14 years later, I’m in their shoes now.”
“I’ve been able to be there in same franchise. I just look back in awe. And sometimes, I pinch myself to understand ‘this is what you’ve done’. I appreciate the franchise, they’re like my family. The respect is mutual. (I wear) 55 (his jersey number) with Mumbai Indians and MI Emirates… so how can I not!.”
In his final years with Mumbai Indians, Pollard played an anchor-like role for the franchise. However, in the ILT20, the MI Emirates skipper goes back several years.
‘(I could do that) with experience. Situation dictates how you play as well. It keeps me in good stead on how to bat in different scenarios. Not only that, when I go to practice sessions, I put myself in different situations as well.”
“So, when you go to the field, you don’t feel unfamiliar. There’s pressure and yes, it’s a practice at the end of the day, but you also understood what you did there to get out of it. The match scenarios are a bit more intense, but that’s where the experience comes in.”
From a leadership point of view, Pollard said, the young people sit back and give what they need without pressuring them.
“As a captain, I try to focus on situations, and try not to put my players in too many pressure situations understanding what they can handle, and again watch their talents flourish. Sometimes you can lead from behind as well by just letting the youngsters enjoy themselves and show their youthful exuberance and gain experience of what is needed. You just take a step back and enjoy what they do.”
Crediting the younger players who put their hands up whenever the situation calls for it, Pollard said,
“I am sure these experiences will help them because they are going to be the future of cricket.”