MUMBAI, India, CMC – Mumbai Indians assistant coach, Robin Singh, has praised Kieron Pollard following his match-wining half-century against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday, and says the West Indies all-rounder’s power-hitting “sends jitters to the opposition.”
The right-handed Pollard blasted an unbeaten 53 from 17 balls – the joint fastest half-century of the IPL this season – as Mumbai chased down 175 at the Wankhede to win by six wickets.
“What is really important that when you have someone like Pollard coming in at the back end and you have Jos Buttler just ahead of him, oppositions are never safe with any sort of score on the board,” Robin said.
“As you saw, it’s just the question of one over in the game which changes the course of the game, people like Pollard actually you need to have in any team.”
Pollard entered the contest at the end of the 13th over with Mumbai requiring 69 for victory, and smashed two fours and six sixes to take the home side over the line with two overs to spare.
His half-century broke a run of low scores. His previous best score was an unbeaten 39 against Royal Challengers Bangalore just over a week ago, amidst scores of 1, 1 not out, 1, 19 and 10.
Robin, who has also worked with Pollard as head coach of the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League, said Pollard had grown as a player in recent seasons.
“His game has matured over the years. In the last season he played similar knocks like this … compared to initially when he came in [to the league],” Robin explained.
“He can take the game right down till the end and he has understood the responsibility, not just as somebody who can just strike the ball, but actually somebody who is critical to the side. More importantly, it is sending jitters to the opposition.”
Pollard picked up an injury during the South African Ram Slam last November and was kept out of competitive cricket for four months.
However, Robin believes the Trinidadian is now back to full fitness.
“I think he is ok. Maybe his injury is just getting over, in a situation where he has come back to play much earlier than what we expected. He has done a lot of rehab [and] we are pretty satisfied, even the trainers are satisfied with his fitness.”