Thursday 17 June 2010

Kieron Pollard does what he wants [part ii]

Kieron Pollard's decision to play T20 for Somerset rather than go on a West Indies A Tour split opinion. Last night's game against Essex at Taunton proved why he was right in the space of an over.

Chasing 177, Pollard went in with Somerset 99-1 after 10 and cruising. Danish Kaneria, by any standards a world-class bowler, came on. Pollard swatted his first ball for six over long on, and levered the second almost over the pavilion. A dot ball followed before Pollard played the most extraordinary shot, a nonchalant lift of his arms that sent the ball out of the ground and into the car park.

You can always tell when a player does something special by the reaction of the other players. Behind the sticks, James Foster's expression was classic, quizzical disbelief mixed with bruised ego. Danish came in again - this time it was the flipper, quick and straight. Pollard was utterly defeated by it, his bat not even down by the time his stumps were knocked back.

My hero as a kid was the nonpareil, BA Richards. Many times I combed his book - functionally titled The Barry Richards Story [you should have let me write it, Barry - it would have been called Bad Bas And His Bad-Ass Life] - and always enjoyed the anecdote about him clobbering Richie Benaud and strutting cockily about the crease before Richie undid him with the flipper too. It was a lesson he carried with him for the rest of his career.

Pollard made 21 from eight balls. When he was out, Somerset were 122-2 after 12.5 overs. They should have walked home. They lost. No doubt, in the dressing room, it was pointed out where things went wrong.

This is the true value of a competitive environment. Never mind the format, the ground was full, the TV cameras were there and Pollard was schooled by a proper bowler. I'd bet he'll have learned more in a over about the nature of the game than he might on an entire tour of A team cricket.


Karthik Krishnaswamy said...

Pollard going through a similar experience as Barry Richards doesn't mean he'll take the same things out of it.
And isn't it a teeny bit of a stretch to compare Pollard to Barry Richards, even a young, raw Barry Richards?
I do understand your point though, that T20 for Somerset might be a more competitive environment than 'A' tours.
But an 'A' tour will still teach cricketers things like adapting to unfamiliar conditions, playing long innings/bowling long spells and so forth.
Plus, it asks cricketers if they're hungry enough to stay interested in the game, and keep playing long innings/bowling long spells, when no one's watching.

Mark said...

That same Richards biography taught me that there was once a Saffie quick bowler called Slug Lodwick.

Wonder what his parents were thinking?!

The Old Batsman said...

Still have that book. I'll give it to the Lord's ,useum if they want it. Did you notice that it was ghosted by Martin Tyler? Quite extraordinary.

Ghanshyam, no I take your point entirely, but I do think that those kind of tours suit a particular kind of player, an Ian Bell type, rather than a Pollard, who has the big game mentality.