“Regardless of if I’m representing whichever franchise or West Indies cricket, I want to be consistent” – Nicholas Pooran

Left-hander Nicholas Pooran was the catalyst as Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) finally kick-started their Caribbean Premier League campaign with an emphatic six-wicket victory over beleaguered St Kitts and Nevis Patriots here late on Sunday.

Asked to chase 181 on a batting paradise of a pitch at Warner Park, TKR made light work of the target, getting over the line with 17 balls to spare.

Pooran, dismissed without scoring in his previous innings against St Lucia Kings, top-scored with 61 from 32 balls to earn Man-of-the-Match honours, while captain Kieron Pollard struck a 16-ball unbeaten 37 and Lorcan Tucker, 36 from 31 deliveries.

The 27-year-old middle-order batsman, who scored just under 400 runs in the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) tournament and walked away with the Player of the Series award in the West Indies’ five-match T20I series win over India, would love to see his hard work reap some dividends for TKR in this campaign.

“There has been a lot of chat in the dressing room and it’s good to see that we actually put the talk into action,” said Pooran, during Sunday’s post-game presentation. “I have been working hard for the last couple of years and I am in a good space at the moment. I’m playing with a smile on my face and I just want to be as consistent as I can be.”

Pooran, who relinquished the West Indies white-ball captaincy in November 2022, oozed freedom and confidence on Sunday as he struck five fours and four sixes in his innings and shared in a steadying 73-run partnership with Irish batsman Lorcan Tucker.

Pooran joked that Tucker brought “the luck of the Irish” on his journey to St Kitts, and commended the right-hander for his business-like approach.

“We played with Tucker in the (International League) T20 earlier this year and he’s a really exciting player,” Pooran said. “I’m really happy that he’s gotten the opportunity this year.

“(Tucker) came in and from the first ball he was really positive. It’s really nice that he could contribute, and especially in the middle overs, where we have been faltering.”

Pooran also heaped praise on the evergreen Dwayne Bravo, who marked his 100th CPL match by claiming figures of two for 43 and taking two smart catches as well.

“(Bravo) is approaching 65, but he’s playing like 29,” Pooran said jokingly. “He’s different from every individual in the world. The numbers have shown that, and the way he teaches youngsters about the game is amazing. He’s a legend and he’s really special.”

The 39-year-old Bravo has returned to the TKR setup after leading the Patriots to their maiden CPL title. Now, with Bravo and Pooran teamed up with players such as Akeal Hosein, Sunil Narine and the swashbuckling pair of Andre Russell and skipper Kieron Pollard, TKR have their sights set on their first CPL title since going unbeaten in the 2020 campaign.

“Regardless of if I’m representing whichever franchise or West Indies cricket, (I want to be consistent),” Pooran said. “It would be really nice if I could put on that red, white and black and represent well for TKR this year. The fans have been supporting us throughout, and this year we want to give our fans something special.” Pooran said

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