West Indies head coach Stuart Law has defended under-performing all-rounder, Kieron Pollard, contending the player’s value to the Twenty20 could not be assessed purely on the basis of numbers.
Pollard is one of the biggest names in the T20 format but has struggled over the last two years for the Caribbean side, scraping only 124 runs in his last 11 innings at an average of 12.
Pollard has scored only two half-centuries in 58 matches, with the last of those coming six years ago against New Zealand in Florida.
“Pollard brings a lot, both on and off the field. With the youngsters in the squad, it’s someone like Pollard who motivates them in the dressing room,” Law said of the 31-year-old who has scored 14 and six in the ongoing three-match series against India.
“He’s a senior member of the squad, and we all know what he’s capable of when he gets going. Pollard isn’t in the side only because of what he brings inside the ground. He’s one of the biggest motivators of the youngsters, and he’s just a game away from reminding us why he’s such a T20 force.
“Pollard himself would not be pleased with his show on the tour so far, and he’ll be itching to finish the series in a blazing manner.”
West Indies are without their first-choice squad for the series, missing the likes of Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. In response, selectors opted for five debutants and also included several players with minimal experience at the T20 level.
The Caribbean side have been no match for the powerful Indians, losing the first match in Kolkata by five wickets and the second in Lucknow on Sunday by 71 runs.
Law, who will quit as head coach at year-end, called on the more experienced players in the squad to take responsibility.
“The team does have a lot of potential and potential is a horrible word because talk is cheap and actions speak louder, but it’s the experienced guys who need to stick their hands up and do the bulk of the work,” the Australian argued.
“They’re supposed to usher the youngsters in but they’re not quite doing that. It’s a young team, though, and they’re learning on the job. Regardless of being the current T20 champions, we don’t have the same team here and learning on the job against India in India can be mighty tough.”
As expected, the tour has been chastening one for the Windies. They were swept 2-0 in the Test series, lost the ODI series 3-1 and are behind in the T20 series.
Law said Sunday’s finale in Chennai was a matter of pride for the tourists.
“We have got some fantastic T20 players. But, now it’s just about playing for pride,” he said.
“It’s time for them to dig deep and play for pride and give it everything in the last game. If we play anywhere near to our potential, we can beat any team on the day. We need to improve a lot to get to that stage.”