Former West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, whose performances in the middle of the park are known worldwide, arrived for his first pre-season practice session as the batting coach for Mumbai Indians.
Pollard has always been a leader, and players often go up to him and seek advice, and now, with a full-time role, the young cricketers, who aspire and dream to replicate his success, are looking forward to spending even more time with him.
At the end of his first session on Tuesday, Kieron Pollard said, “Words really cannot describe the feeling of playing for Mumbai Indians and representing the people of Mumbai. They have done a lot for me as an individual and I guess I have done a lot for them from a player’s perspective, the bond we have I guess it is more than just cricket matches and things like that. For me nothing will change, I will be the same sort of personality and character, around the guys.”
"Don't call me Coach, 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐞 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐲." 🤜🤛
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) March 21, 2023
Pollard announced his retirement from the Indian Premier League (IPL) in November last year and took up the role of batting coach for the side for IPL 2023.
Ever since he signed with MI in 2010, Pollard was been one of the marquee players of the franchise, having won them many games. In 189 matches for the side, Pollard scored 3,412 runs at an average of 28.67, with 16 half-centuries. He has also took 69 wickets for the five-time champions.
But the last season with MI in 2022 was underwhelming for him. In 11 matches, he could score only 144 runs at an average of 14.40, with the highest score of 25. He hit these runs at a poor strike rate of 107.46. Also, he took only four wickets for his side in the tournament.
All the young cricketers spoke about the impact of Pollard’s presence within the team.
Tilak Verma, excited to see Pollard as the batting coach, said “Last year I was sharing the dressing room with him and this year I am very excited like he is now our batting coach.”
Dewald Brewis, who played a lot of games with Pollard last season said, ” As I walked into the nets today, I saw Polly behind me, actually my first year when I was here the first net session I had I batted with him so that was quite cool.”
Ramandeep Singh, Mumbai Indians all-rounder, who is in his second season with Mumbai Indians, said “Whenever I was in trouble he was always there to guide me and he would like a big brother come to me with ideas that you can go with this plan.”
Kumar Kartikeya, while sharing his experience with Pollard said, “Last year was my first year with Mumbai Indians. In spite of being such a big player, he never hesitated to have a conversation with me. This year his role has changed but however, our relationship remains the same.”
Hrithik Shokeen said, “I used to bowl to him a lot during the nets, I was really missing him, I am going to tease him a little and call him ‘Coach’ sometimes.”
Mumbai Indians will play their first match of the Indian Premier League against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 2, 2023. They will be playing their first home game on April 8 at Wankhede Stadium against Chennai Super Kings.
MI had finished at the bottom of the table last year, with a total of four wins and ten losses in fourteen matches. They could gather a total of eight points and failed to qualify for the playoffs.