Tuesday 8 June 2010

Kieron Pollard does what he wants

The West Indies Cricket Board, like most cricket boards and panels, are a collection of late middle-aged men with lots to give alongside their pot bellies and the hair growing from their ears. Like contracts and tours stuff like that.

So imagine their shock and hurt when their offer of a glamorous A-tour [including matches against sexy England Lions and India A] was turned down by 23-year-old multi-millionaire Kieron Pollard.

Kieron's off to play T20 for Somerset for 'substantially' more money than the WICB were paying. 'We wanted to help his cricket develop by offering him an A tour,' sobbed a source to Cricinfo. 'But he didn't want to take it up'.

Hmm. Just why would someone who'd merely spent the last year belting many of the world's best bowlers 100 yards over the boundary in low-pressure situations like the IPL decide not to go on an A-tour for peanuts to 'develop his cricket'?

Boards need to get real. The traditional paths into Test match cricket are changing. England, to their credit, have realised this with Eion Morgan, backing proven temperament and outrageous skill over a decent plodder's average in county cricket. Pollard, whether the WICB like it or not, is a star, and players aren't serfs any more. They have alternatives, as Andy Bull's terrific interview with Andrew Symonds proves.

Now let's hope that the BCCI pick Yuvraj for India A...


Karthik Krishnaswamy said...

Well, I look at it this way. You say that traditional paths to Test selection are changing, but we have, so far, no proof of the success of the Twenty20 path into Test cricket.
Eoin Morgan would need to perform consistently for a decent length of time in a variety of conditions to give this alternate path one success story.
Plus, Pollard's record in ODIs and T20 internationals is pretty poor, and hardly reads like a reason for the West Indies selectors to fast-track him into the Test team.
So while he has every right to turn down the 'A' tour, I can't help but think he's missing a genuine learning opportunity, and also an opportunity to prove his long-format credentials to the West Indies selectors.
The India 'A' team will definitely include some of its ODI and T20 players. I can't imagine any of them turning down that opportunity.
I don't think a couple of IPL and Champions League cameos makes you a 'star'. Rich, definitely.
The issue here, as far as I see it, is about money. The WICB can't match the fee Pollard will get from Somerset, and that's a worry.

Russ said...

Ghanshyam, is it a worry? In what ways? That players outside India, Australia and England will shun international cricket for the domestic game? How terrible.

Maybe, if those three countries were a little less keen to exclude everyone else so they can play completely meaningless one-day series against each other, and a little more serious about running cricket for something other than short-term game, Pollard and others might stick around.

Karthik Krishnaswamy said...

Russ, I agree entirely with you. I'm all for a better balanced FTP, involving every Test side equally.
This would certainly redress, partly, the economic gulf separating the BCCI, CA and ECB from the rest.
And that would definitely give players a fairer choice between T20 leagues and international cricket.
I only disagreed with OB's belief that traditional paths to Test selection are now obsolete. Maybe that's true from an economic point of view (were the current state of affairs to remain in place), but in cricketing terms, certainly not.