Not difficult to pick ourselves up again – Kieron Pollard

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After Rohit Sharma pulled left-arm fingerspinner Khary Pierre against the turn, the ball seemed destined to soar over the midwicket boundary. Until Evin Lewis’ athletic intervention. Lewis literally plucked out the ball out of thin air with his right hand, but lost his balance and tumbled over the boundary. But, before that, he had the presence of mind to toss the ball back into play. His captain Kieron Pollard was so impressed that he sprinted all the way from the infield to deep midwicket to congratulate Lewis for his outstanding piece of fielding.

Soon after, though, Lewis injured his right knee and was stretchered off the field. He was later sent to the hospital for scans and didn’t bat in West Indies’ chase of 241. Pollard, though, led West Indies’ fight with a 39-ball 68, which included some trademark, towering sixes, while Shimron Hetmyer pitched in with 41 off 24 balls.

West Indies eventually lost by 67 runs, after which headline-hungry reporters questioned Pollard on what went wrong for them at the post-match press conference. While Pollard put the defeat in the decider down to the execution – or the lack of it – he was particularly pleased with how West Indies’ youngsters had dug deep into their reserves and challenged a strong India side at various points during the T20I series.

Pollard was even asked if a revamped West Indies ODI side might find it difficult to pick themselves up after conceding the T20I series. He swatted all of those questions – and doubts – aside and urged the youngsters to learn the lessons from the T20Is and perform better in the ODIs.

“Not difficult [to pick ourselves up]. Again, there is [are] a lot of positives coming out of this series,” Pollard said. “You’re talking about it being difficult and I’m talking about positivity. But, no, it’s a different format altogether and a couple of different guys – six guys I think – coming in who haven’t been here since the start of November, I think. So, they’ve been working hard to get an opportunity to see how the Indian team goes about things and hopefully we can plan and execute it better.

“It’s not going to be difficult at all – we’ve brought the series into a final game here, which I’m sure a lot of you guys didn’t think it wouldn’t happen, if I’m being honest. But, it has happened for us, which means guys are doing the right thing and we’re going to continue our way how we prepare.”

Among the major positives for West Indies has been Kesrick Williams, who has carried his CPL 2019 form into the T20Is against India. On Wednesday evening, even as the rest of the West Indies bowlers travelled for runs, Williams held his own with his deceptive cutters and variations in length.

Williams was the only bowler to pin down Virat Kohli, giving up just nine runs off seven balls to the India captain. All of this, after he had leaked 14 runs off his first three balls. Williams ended with 1 for 37 in his four overs, the most economical figures by a West Indies bowler in the decider.

Pollard, who has also captained Williams at St Lucia in the CPL, was happy with how the seamer hit back after opener KL Rahul had taken him on. Legspinner Hayden Walsh Jr. also did well in patches, returning 0 for 38 in his four overs on a flat track.

“You see his stats in T20 cricket, it’s up there in terms of being able to do well,” Pollard said of Williams. “Again, it’s a positive for us. And him bouncing back after that first game as well and coming and showing his mettle I think that was well done. There’s still room for improvement for him and each and every one of us. But again, yes, that’s a positive he can take out of this series.

“Even young Walshy. He bowled very well in the last couple of games. I think it was a very good track here and a couple of bad balls and you are going to get that. He’s finding his feet now in international cricket. All in all, yes we lost 2-1, but I thought the guys stood up for themselves this series and that was very, very well done in that aspect.”

Pollard also said the IPL auction, which will be held next week, hasn’t been a distraction for West Indies’ stars from the CPL. Walsh Jr., the top wicket-taker in CPL 2019, had echoed Pollard’s comments after playing his part in West Indies’ series-levelling triumph in the second T20I in Thiruvananthapuram.

“To be honest you guys will be thinking more about the IPL more than our guys would have in the dressing room,” Pollard said. “You can’t control whether you are selected or not. I have seen a guy score a hundred against India and not get picked in the IPL either. So, again, one score gets you in and one doesn’t get you in.

“One of the conversations was control what you can control: that is, go out and learn this series and the rest takes care of itself. How many franchises are there, eight? The owners will decide what they want to do at the end of the day.” (ESPNCricinfo)