T20 World Cup 2021 – Nicholas Pooran

T20 World Cup 2021 – Nicholas Pooran



WI vice-captain says his BPL experience will come in handy against Bangladesh

After West Indies tumbled to 55 all out in their opener against England in Dubai, their head coach Phil Simmons said they just couldn’t wait for the next game to shake it off. West Indies similarly fell in a heap against South Africa despite Evin Lewis’ half-century, and now they are desperate to break out of the funk.
They will have to do so without Obed McCoy, who has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament with injury.
Bangladesh are in the same boat, having lost both their matches in the Super 12s and Mohammad Saifuddin to injury. Nicholas Pooran, the West Indies vice-captain, reckoned that Friday could be their best opportunity to get their first points.

“Yeah, I think Bangladesh after losing two games – they are in the same situation as us as well,” Pooran said. “So, I think it’s going to be a good challenge for us tomorrow. We need to get that victory and playing in Sharjah as well… We know Bangladesh have a lot of spinners as well. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us as well and it’s how bad we actually want it.”

Reflecting on the twin batting collapses, Pooran admitted that West Indies’ batters were “not good enough” in Dubai, but backed them to fare better in Sharjah.

“The mood in the camp is still good,” Pooran said. “The guys are gelling really good; I think we’re really hurt at losing those two games and we have only ourselves to blame. But the mood is still good. We know what we have to do and everyone is up for the challenge.

Jason Holder coming into the team…obviously, he’s a quality player as well. We’re happy to have him and we wish him all the best. With the batting order and the batsmen, we just didn’t rise to the occasion to be honest. If you can accept that you weren’t good in the first two games… I think as batsmen and as a team we’ve already accepted that we didn’t come to the party and we’re looking forward to moving forward and hopefully we can do much better.”
Pooran had been bumped up to No.3 to offset Lendl Simmons’ go-slow on Tuesday. Keeping Pooran at the top could potentially neutralise Bangladesh’s left-arm spinners – he strikes at nearly 171 against left-arm orthodox in T20 cricket – but he held his cards close to his chest.

“For me it’s just about doing what the team wants me to do, to be honest,” he said. “At the moment, the tournament is just for us to put our hands up and perform whatever role the team requires from me.

“It doesn’t really matter to be honest. We back our batsmen 100%. Doesn’t matter if it’s a right-hand or left-hand batsman. We back them to do the job for us – whoever is playing in that XI tomorrow, they’ll have specific roles. We have a wonderful captain and he knows what he’s doing as well. So whatever he says goes and we back him to make some really good decisions for us tomorrow to be successful.”

Pooran felt his familiarity with the Bangladesh players, having played alongside the likes of Liton Das and Afif Hossain for Sylhet Sixers in the 2018-19 BPL, could come in handy on Friday. During that season, Pooran hit 379 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of just under 160. Only Rilee Rossouw, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim had scored more runs than Pooran in that BPL.

“It helps a lot,” Pooran said of the BPL experience. ‘I’ve spent a bit of time in Bangladesh as well, not only me but a lot of the other guys as well. We have good friendships; we make good friendships with the guys. We get to understand them and learn off them as well, especially in different conditions. So going into the game, [we] actually know what these guys do – being a bit familiar with it and I think that helps us a lot as batsmen and as bowlers as well.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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