“It [IPL experience] was good, not just for us but all players involved in the World Cup, who got a feel of what is on offer,” Pollard said at a media event on Saturday. “There will be some stats comparison and trends that may have come out of the IPL. We have to take all that into consideration, take the context of the surfaces, atmosphere, and put them into our game plan.
“For us, most of our guys got a chance to play recently here, so for us it’s about trying to hit the ground running, start off on a positive note, get those first two points and see what happens after that.”
Pollard touched upon why it was important to do the simple things well, and how it was possible to do so without deviating from their tried and tested success formula of hitting big from ball one.
“You’ve seen it all around the world, that is how we go about our cricket,” he said of the power-hitting. “Lot of people, analysts at different times, harp on dot balls, singles, ones and twos. Everything is important, but we still have to play to our strengths. I’m not going to say what that is because then the heading will be ‘West Indies just want to hit sixes’.
“Living in bubbles is difficult. If a guy who enjoys himself in any situation can’t take it, it shows how difficult it can be for some of us. We are backing him to do well”
Kieron Pollard on Chris Gayle
“We need to keep our strengths as strengths and work on our weakness. We have a lot of powerful guys in the line-up, but if the situation warrants, we also have guys who can manoeuvre strike, run between the wickets. We look forward to playing complete games of cricket.”
“For him it was a matter of evolving his game and trying to be the best he can,” Pollard said. “He got a chance with St Lucia Stars. It’s a matter of putting guys in the right positions, and he has delivered for them for the last two years. It goes to show how every time you get a chance, you want to do well. He’s done well for himself.
“The type of cricket he plays fits right into our balance, right in the middle of our power-hitters. We need a guy who can manoeuvre the ball, hit the occasional boundaries, and keep the run rate going. That’s an area we keep constantly working on, and we thought he was the right fit at this time. I look forward to see what he has to offer. He hasn’t played much white-ball cricket, and teams may not have that much data. Or maybe they do, there’s an archive full of runs and wickets. We look forward to reaping rewards of his form from the CPL.”
On the sluggish pitches in the UAE, batting well, power-hitting or otherwise, would be important, but the other 20 overs are equally crucial – Pollard underlined the importance of using spin well and how the IPL experience would be beneficial in terms of knowing how to use them keeping in mind the different boundary dimensions of the three venues.
Pollard’s response followed Virat Kohli’s, when he was asked why the focus has suddenly shifted once again from wristspinners to fingerspinners, while discussing R Ashwin’s return to the fold after a four-year gap. “At one point, wristspinners dominated, but in the recent past, for whatever reasons, don’t know if it is conditions or what, fingerspinners are back in favour,” Pollard observed. “If you want a guy to consistently bowl to a bigger side of the ground, fingerspinners may have more control. We have a couple of them in our armoury and we can hopefully maximise dimensions in whatever spin there is at any given time. Our spinners aren’t the most experienced but sometimes it can work in our favour.”
Pollard looks forward to seeing ‘recharged Gayle’ at T20 WC
“I think he has shown time and again what he brings to any team,” Pollard said of Bravo. “For Chennai to go on and win was a fabulous team effort, and for him personally to continue doing what he does at the back and to close out matches for teams was superb. There’s no pressure on him, we’re all looking to ‘sir’ to all that in this campaign.”
“No words to describe what he has done for us in the T20 World Cups and in T20 cricket around the world,” Pollard said. “The guy with the most sixes, most runs, the fear he instils in bowlers. The main goal is for him to win the World Cup and he is looking forward to that.
“He did what he did in terms of taking a break. He needed it. This is another big tournament for him. I hope everyone understood the nature of what transpired. Living in bubbles is difficult. If a guy who enjoys himself in any situation can’t take it, it shows how difficult it can be for some of us. We are backing him to do well.”
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo