May 24, 2024

New England T20 coach Kieron Pollard: ‘Cricket is a business’

“You have to use your natural strength or genes to move forward.”

“This is part of simplifying how you segment the target,” Pollard explains. “Saying that and actually understanding how to do it are two different things. You can just say yes, you can hit five sixes but how do you hit five sixes? Who do you hit five sixes against? And in the Caribbean, different theories and factors will determine how you do it.”

“The wicket turns, sometimes it’s slow,” Pollard said of the tournament pitches. “You have to use your strength or natural genes to move forward.”

In Trinidad and Tobago in December, Pollard and Butler discussed how to push their partnership in a new direction. For the first time, Pollard will coach Buttler, following his appointment as an advisor for the T20 World Cup.

His appointment corrects what Rob Key described as one of the glaring faults of last year’s dismal ODI World Cup campaign: the lack of any coach with local knowledge. With his knowledge of pitches in the Caribbean, Pollard will reprise the role of Mike Hussey during England’s T20 World Cup win in Australia two years ago. Pollard, 36, has experience of playing with and against most of the Championship’s best players.

“The computer and brain still work.”

“The conversation with Butler was about the best thing for England at the World Cup,” Pollard explains. “And to gain experience and knowledge in the Caribbean conditions for the World Cup.

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“At a transitional stage in my career – I’m still playing and doing a bit of coaching and consulting here and there – it will bode well for me in the future as well. It just came up and it was something that made sense. I’m looking forward to it.”

After watching England’s 3-2 defeat in the T20 series in the Caribbean before Christmas, Pollard gained some ideas on how to improve their form. “The knowledge, the computer, the brain are still working, storing some things that you might need to work on when that time comes.”

One of the greatest challenges facing England is the adaptation between wickets in different countries. The diversity of Caribbean conditions is among the biggest difficulties facing visiting teams. After starting their campaign in Barbados, which suits their taller and faster bowlers, England will, if all goes well, need to get through the semi-finals in either Guyana or Trinidad, where spin reigns supreme.

“That’s what the world tends not to see and understand with us Caribbean cricketers and what we endure in terms of pitches and conditions. “It’s completely different.”

Pollard sees his role in England as “understanding the nature of the Caribbean and how cricket is played here. We will get to know more when we sit down and meet and discuss what is required. At the moment, it is a broad sort of role. Hopefully it will be more about tactics and stuff.” different when that time approaches.

Pollard is already working on developing the features of his training style. He believes players take ownership, and sees the role of the coach in adding some discretionary feedback.

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“Making sure they are in the right frame of mind is very important,” he explains. “The most important thing is human management: letting them realize the potential and talent they have and some things they haven’t exploited.

“Everything has a time and place. And that’s emotionally, and now mentally. Win or lose a game – what do you say next? I think that’s very important in how you get the best out of people and the team.

While Pollard’s contract is restricted exclusively to the T20 World Cup – depending on Indian Premier League commitments, he could join the team for the Pakistan series from May 22 – he is hopeful of working for England again. “If things go well, it will be a feather in the cap. Hopefully they will see the need for someone with my experience to be in the England squad.

“My job, as I’ve always done in playing cricket, is to focus on what I have to do in the present. Whatever happens in the future, good or bad, you bear it, enjoy it and keep moving forward.”

Come June 28, Pollard hopes his trip will take him to Kensington Oval for the T20 World Cup final: the second of his career, to match the match he won for the West Indies in 2012. He remains a “pro” for the West Indies. And passionate about the game in the region.

However, when asked if his ideal final would be between England and the West Indies, Pollard laughed. Then the businessman talks about it. “The dream final will be between England and any other team.”

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Kieron Pollard is an investor and global ambassador for Me + U The new cricket shoe company for cricketers