Category Archives: Cricket

Why Pakistan Women’s cricket And Nain abidi will Never forget august 22?

Nain Abidi

August 22 is quite an eventful date for the world for a unique constellation of independent events occurring on the date shaping it in different ways. As early as 1603, on this very day, man laid the first stones at Amsterdam-bound Zuiderkerk. In 1639, the famous Indian city of Madaras was founded this very date by the-then ruling British East India company using Sliver of land.

In 1770, James Cook’s famous expedition landed on the East coast of Australia and over a century later, circa 1901, the world found to its merriment the formation of the Cadillac motor company on this date.

Then later on this date in 1987 one of Madonna’s greatest singles, “Who’s that Girl” became the number #1 chartbuster hit.

But there was something else too, albeit in the firmament of sport, that made August 22 a unique date, a date that no Pakistani will ever forget.

It was on this date, back in 2012 that Nain Abidi stroked the first-ever ODI century for a Pakistan batswoman.

To strike century and score runs in cricket is equivalent to a doctor succeeding by way of treating patients, saving lives and being recognized for victory in the strife against mortality.

But to be the first to do so beckons celebrations, marking a moment that becomes timeless in the strands of history.

What’s rather fascinating about Nain Abidi- one of the most studious and determined Pakistanis to ever wield the bat in a nation obsessed with Cricket- is that since her dogged ton in ODIs, only one other batter has gone on to register another three-figure score in the format.

The special feat belongs to current Pakistani captain Javeria Khan, who with her 133 unbeaten runs stroked her proud nation to a sweet victory over Sri Lanka.

But that Nain Abidi, well over 1600 runs in 50-over cricket, held the major record for no fewer than half a decade underlines the importance of a feat that since its conception has gone on to inspire countless girls in a land where heroes in cricket have always been men.

Think the great Wasim Akram, the yorker king Waqar Younis, the elegant Saeed Anwar, the brave Javed Miandad, the iconic Hanif Mohammad, and the wild and winning Shoaib Akhtar to quote just a few.

A technically correct batswoman known for playing every delivery to its merit aligning technical virtuosity and patience, Nain Abidi has been a senior figurehead of a team that today sits beautifully on a mélange of wealth of experience and exuberance of youth.

While her 101 unbeaten runs thumped an Ireland powered by the likes of Isobel Joyce, Laura Delany and the modern great Kim Garth, that the maiden ODI ton by a Pakistani batter came of just 129 deliveries meant a certain fluidity about the knock that’s remembered even fondly today.

That’s when it’s been nearly a decade since the match-winning knock neutralised the Irish at their own backyard, in a lush-green Dublin.

But all of that said, what must be said about Nain Abidi- nearly 2,600 runs for Pakistan- is that Karachi’s finest export to the women’s game arrived early in the game in which she’d become a force to reckon with.

In a sport so often obsessed with numbers and big achievements, Nain Abidi duly underlines the value of longevity, without which one cannot walk the distance in sport.

For someone who arrived in the game aged just 21 back in 2006 and since then has gone on to represent one of cricket’s most mercurial outfits for 155 international appearances, Nain Abidi is a giant of the game, albeit an underrated one.

In this stat-obsessed number crunching age where anyone can become a hero on any given day courtesy social media posts, and trolls break hearts and reputations, Nain Abidi has been an athlete who’s conducted herself with a sense of dignity, focused on cricket and not in the theatrics that have become a normality.

That the love for cricket in her case hasn’t subsided one bit whatsoever, despite marriage and moving bases, actually relocating millions of miles afar from Pakistan to the United States is something worthy of respect.

Just is the fact that even after embracing motherhood, parenting a beautiful young boy, Nain Abidi is still involved with the game, now dedicating herself to lift the United States Cricket team.

At a time where the rigors of life especially after the massive change marriage and responsibilities beckon make one fall out of the sport, taking the convenient route of prioritizing family over anything else, Nain Abidi, 12 fifties for Pakistan, is balancing cricket and personal commitments beautifully.

And guess what! In doing so, she’s creating a new template of inspiration for fellow mothers to follow, those who thought juggling tasks with a kid and husband and a family commitment was just not possible.

Women today have gone way beyond merely breaking the glass ceiling; they’re wielding the cricket bat on the 22 yards whilst running after the naughty toddlers in malls and parks whilst putting them to sleep after a long day’s run.

And where it comes to doing both with her quintessential zeal and understated appeal, Nain is doing her bit despite being in the sphere for no fewer than a decade and a half.

May runs and many through fifties and tons come her way and lift her United States cricket team to a new pedestal in the game!

Faf du Plessis – The Vigilante of South African Cricket

In an age where the narrative around Cricket is constantly changing, a sport that once had just two formats to now accommodating even The Hundred, where basing a career in has taken a backseat to milking money from. Where talents play as opponents first only to become teammates the next day thanks to T20 leagues, it’s rare to find consistency. 

Rather, time has come to ask fans and those who dabble with punditry- just how important is consistency in an age where Cricket, apart from being commercialised, is seen filling the vacuum of entertainment?

And if holding the baton for one’s nation still as relevant as finding oneself adapting to whatever cricket’s changing vagaries ask of its devotees- then have we properly examined Faf du Plessis? 

Who is Faf du Plessis?

For a career that was born amid crisis- South Africa on the brink of a great defeat at Adelaide, only to find a young debutant hold his ground in striking a century (110 v Australia)- and continues to flourish amid one- think those 11,000 plus international runs, aged 37, at a time where political control over their cricket is still very much a reality- Faf is no less than a national hero. 

Except the country to which he belongs doesn’t believe in making Gods out of mortals, which is actually even better for all that Faf du Plessis – former captain, rescuer, smooth sailor, frequent run hitter – has done for South Africa. This makes one react with awe given he’s a man of flesh and blood albeit one of a lion-hearted will. 

22 centuries, 56 fifties, a highest individual score of 185 in ODIs, over 1,500 T20I runs, pounding 888 Test runs versus Australia and striking Sri Lanka with 1,100 ODI runs, Francois du Plessis has done more than what he’s gotten in return for a country for whom de Villiers is an icon and Faf is not nearly as great. 

Though in reality, it was Faf who extended the love for the game and blazed a legacy that de Villiers, the genius left behind, with unfettered excellence and boundless enthusiasm. 

Not to mention, an astonishing show of dominance in white-ball cricket where starting 2017-19, having reached the declining years of prowess and reflexes, Faf scored ODI runs at an average of 60, 62, and 67- respectively. 

Post-captaincy

When de Villiers stepped back from the captaincy in December 2016, a period in which South Africa were nearing their decline accentuated by frequent injuries to key names, one man stood up and made himself counted. 

Not the man with silken touch, Hashim Amla and not the force with Steyn-gun of deadly pace either; it was Faf du Plessis. The man under whose leadership South Africa registered a famous Test series win in Australia, 2016, the man under whose captaincy South Africa hammered India in 2018 at home. 

The very man, who after rescuing South Africa, time and again from the unlikeliest of situations, today finds himself having to knock on the doors for selection in the upcoming T20 World Cup squad. 

The conundrum, if any, that surrounds Faf, who’s played 50 T20Is for South Africa, remaining unbeaten in 7, and scoring runs at a strike rate north of 134, is not of capability or availability but of the team’s make up! 

Whether Faf should play a key ICC event reminds one of his importance to the team, a lifelong example of which would lead the Protea fan to revisit a heart-breaking albeit meltingly beautiful semi-final contest (50 over World Cup) of 2015, where he single handedly made 82 of South Africa’s 281 runs. 

In the aftermath of the contest where everyone was in tears, the South African hearts crushed, one man controlled his tears, not because the river ran dry but because the true measure of a man is his poise under pressure and his control amid adversity. 

That was Francois du Plessis! 

Whether Faf is made to play ultimately will rest in hands of those who probably may not consider his selection as being a litmus test where alongside exuberance of youth, what one may need is also experience, that of a soldier unwilling to put the gun down. 

The truth certainly is that whilst his career doesn’t boast of multiple double hundreds nor has seen South Africa lift a prominent ICC crown, Faf has seldom choked under pressure and fought fire to fire when the chips were down. 

Picture 2019 ODI World Cup where no South African went on to hit the three-figure mark save their captain- Faf du Plessis, whose 100, that came at better than a run a ball gave fans something to cheer about when the scenes were listless. 

Not that Faf du Plessis’ 100, which came against a Starc and Hazlewood-powered Australia helped ease the hurt the campaign brought to a team that had seen far better days in the past. 

Though forget not that in an age where Faf too may have gladly retracted and decided to take it easy, playing the safe option as did a few in their times, he continued fighting bowlers and detractors alike with the bat. 

In 2019, when aged no spring chicken at 35, du Plessis hammered 814 runs in the ODI calendar year. 

In some ways, he’s matured like fine wine that gets better with age minus any hang-ups or bitterness toward anyone. Make no mistake though- he’s no monk and been found guilty of ball tampering, a controversial saga that’s hurt the South Africa-Australia contests in the path. 

But whenever the team needed a figurehead to hold it together- Faf held it close to his, against a beating heart displaying- not showing off- those throbbing veins and that burlesque Sparta-like figure. 

What verdict might one pass on the career of a hard-as-nails cricketer who emerged as a tough cookie, stroking a deadly 199 against Sri Lanka just last year to help his team achieve yet another series triumph against an opponent its often toyed with? 

That’s a matter that cricket will be convinced to pass a ruling on and cannot shy away from akin to the soldier who never shied away too in rescuing an often-embattled Proteas, much like a lion, often single-handedly. 

Caught at Point Podcast

For more info on the South African vigilante of cricket, check out Caught at Point’s Podcast where Dev Tyagi and Pranay Rangra discuss his impact on the sport:

Mignon du Preez: A Giant of Women’s Cricket Turns 32

In a game that loves to anoint famous nicknames to its icons, Meg Lanning known as “Superstar,” Sachin revered as the ‘Little Master,’ Shabnim Ismail famous for being “Cape Town Express,” and Brian Lara celebrated as ‘The Prince of Trinidad,” Mignon du Preez of the Proteas women doesn’t really have one.

Not that she would mind being this absolute beacon of simplicity.

Though, what the famous South African batswoman does have is something none around her or in her league have- a branch of South Africa’s famous SuperSport Park stadium being named after her- the Mignon du Preez gates.

Unveiled in mid-March, 2019, Mignon’s name has also been carved on the wall of fame.

Forging a path for good

In an age where cricket is still accommodating and often ‘accepting’ women in the mainstream, Mignon is a trailblazer of sorts, a character in an age favouring shenanigans, a real hero in a time where countless exist on social media landscape in virtual avatars.

Rare are moments where the game rewards itself by extending tribute to characters that have helped shaped its identity. Its stature. Its very being.

And when Cricket South Africa honoured Mignon by naming those gates after her, in truth, one was reminded fervently of a biblical expression in Revelation 21:21, “Those not fit to enter heaven are denied entrance at the gates.”

Though, in cricketing parlance, you could be anyone- a newbie, someone trying to find her feet in the international annals, an experienced ‘have-been,’ or a talent stymied by uncertainty- there’s most definitely a chance that Mignon du Preez would make space for you and there won’t be any denials!

No boundaries

At the conclusion of South Africa’s record-breaking tour to India where for the first time in history, the visitors smashed the hosts in both ODIs and T20Is, Mignon took to social media to post a picture with someone who happened to be an opponent.

Putting her hands on Deepti Sharma’s shoulders, posing with that bright smile that can electrify a city for its innocence and charm, Mignon’s caption read- “Friendship has no boundaries!”

And that’s really what makes South Africa’s most illustrious run-scorer endearing to tens of thousands around the world.

Perhaps with the Aussies and the English you can sense a bit of sternness on occasions, the occasional stare, if not a rebuke.

But what you get from the famous Pretorian is a feeling of earthiness, a down-to-earth-ness that’s hard to find in an age where fans are perhaps crazier to create rivalries between sides than the sides themselves.

Though, make no mistake. In the exact same charismatic batswoman, there exist two characters.

So, what we have here?

There’s the serious grafter of runs, who, specifically from the onset of 2018, vastly improved in the briefest form of the game, which is mostly about switching modes as a batter. This is the person who will combat all adversaries who push the Proteas women to the edge and will stand in between an opponent and the Proteas.

Then, there’s the ever-smiling persona beneath the helmet with twinkling eyes and an affability that’s rare to find. Well, exceptional for a cricketer whose name bears a plethora of achievements.

And in being all of this, forget not what Mignon du Preez has accomplished- over 5,200 international runs, 3 centuries and 23 fifties.

But while the excesses of international cricket pose threats of severity, challenging the physical frame of athletes, imposing the daunting challenge of playing all throughout the year, Mignon, hardly hampered by these demands, has emerged as a parable of longevity.

A school-girl prodigy, she was once a kid who debuted aged 18. For someone who struck a mega double hundred when she had barely entered her teens, greater heights would soon attract the smiling attacker of bowlers.

Where most cricketers dream of donning the captaincy, Mignon did so for both T20 Internationals as well as the ODIs and for well over half a decade.

To this date, she’s played in seven world cups and hasn’t merely contested but scored most runs for a South African cricketer – amassing 1750 T20 international runs at a healthy strike rate of 101 and nearly 3500 ODI runs.

And at that stage of her career where she could simply have become resistant to change, unwilling to adapt to growing demands, Mignon even excelled in the most watched premium T20 franchise-based league- Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League.

What about the future?

In a sport that likens young blood akin to a girl’s love for diamonds, a 30-year-old Mignon du Preez became the second-highest scorer for the Melbourne Stars, smashing 266 from just 14 games. But implicit in du Preez’s desire to excel is her penchant for improvement and taking each game as a new challenge.

It’s worth noting that someone whose T20I strike rate was no more than 95 two and a half years ago, currently sits north of 101.

A lot of it could be credited to a rather impressive outing she had and that too on spinning, testing sub-continental turfs of India, during the 2018 tour.

Starting with a 27-ball-31 in the opening T20, following it up with cameos like an 11-ball-17, du Preez was just beginning to get into the groove.

In the pinnacle of the contest, the 2020 Women’s World T20, her final over six on Katherine Brunt walloped England and sailed South Africa right on top of an opponent it had never previously beaten in any of the world cups.

Mignon’s contribution- an unbeaten 15 off just 11 at the crunch situation of the game!

To this day, one wonders what might have been the run tally that one of the most dependable batters around would’ve gone on to amass had we seen more Test cricket for women, which rather inexplicably misses nearly every team’s yearly calendar.

It didn’t take long for the bright-eyed right-hander to stamp her authority in cricket’s longest format, smashing 102 in the only Test she played around a decade back in time.

That the standard-bearer of excellence for Proteas women is still around, despite a 15-year-long run spells good news for just about everybody.

Mignon’s seen generations change around her, having played with the likes of Cri-Zelda Brits and Sunette Loubser to now being an anchor to the likes of Laura Wolvaardt, Tumi Sekhukhune, and Anneke Bosch.

Yet, what hasn’t changed is her desire to excel and represent what it truly means by the phrase Proteas Fire- the spark of incandescence that burns with bright hope to seek victories for South Africa eternally!

At 32, having witnessed both peaks and lows, the latter perhaps reminding one of the Proteas’ heartbreaks at the 2017 ODI world cup, where they were the semi-finalists and the 2020 T20 world cup, where they lost to Australia, Mignon is gearing to inspire a new generation of talents who desire to stoke the Proteas fire.

Just like the figurehead who sports a warm smile and commitment, but never any trace of arrogance or ire.

Caught at Point Podcast

If you want to hear more opinions on the world of cricket from Dev Tyagi and Pranay Rangra, check out the Caught at Point Podcast:

Ode to a true Australian titan – Steve Smith, a batsman like no other

Cricket expects England to continuously dominate, and the world champions truly came into their own in 2019, having demonstrated a spark of unsullied brilliance ever since 2017. Cricket also expects no less from India, who are world-beaters on their day, with the fact being that their days last longer than the ceaseless miles Usain Bolt can jog off without much sweat.

But from Australia, a bastion of cricketing excellence, the world expects something unreal. Australians are expected to regain the stronghold they particularly enjoyed over the sport back in the heydays of 2000s and throughout the nineties.

It’s not like the one among Cricket’s top three isn’t a strong force today; but it would be lovely to see Australians become the demolishing force they once were, one that instilled a fear in the mind of the opponent.

And when you look at a Pat Cummins, you see a bright future leader who’s just waiting to explore his wings. David Warner, a Test triple centurion is still going strong. There’s Hazlewood, Zampa, Stoinis, and Lyon- a quartet of match-winners.

And then there’s Steve Smith- a batsman like no other, a man who none can ever be.

Why Smith is special

A man who’s conquered inner demons, who has bitten dust and turned dust into gold, which incidentally also happens to be the colour of a jersey he wears with pride, truly aware today of the enormous responsibility it reposes on brave men who walk out there on the cricket pitch with an aim to churn magic.

And above all, Smith is the only candidate from Australia in the titanic tussle towards winning the battle of being the world’s best batsman, to which Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson are worthy competitors and enormous challengers.

No monk or beacon of self-righteousness, Steve Smith, who turns 32 today, has already endured what many might call a rollercoaster ride. He’s churned out records and attracted brickbats at express speed akin to the famous Ferrari roller coaster at Abu Dhabi-bound Ferrari world.

Smith arrives on the world stage

No sooner than he was introduced to the world of cricket did Smith go onto prove his credentials as a talented leg spinner who possessed the guile and loop to endanger the batsman’s stumps. Warne was already history and there was vacuum for an able spinner to inherit the spot.

In those days, circa 2010, Smith would only swing the bat on an occasion or two, never afforded a space in the top or the middle order of a line-up, which was replete with talents like Clarke, Watson, Hussey and Bailey.

Yet the Steve Smith story owes its thrills to the fiery proclivity using which a one-time leg spinner who never had his sights on batting became one of the world’s most dominant batsman, and that too, in the sport’s most arduous format- Test Cricket.

Although, that wasn’t before biting maliciously into some ‘sandpaper!’

Remember 2018? Newslands, Capetown, days after which the usually supremely confident Smith, a bloke with boyish charm and excessive self-confidence lacked every ounce of it when he went behind the mic tearing up like a schoolboy smacked on the face for notoriety?

Smith broke down during the interview where accepted full responsibility for the ball tampering scandal

Being an Australian cricketer is hard enough. You not only have to rise through the ranks, but a well-oiled domestic structure proving it difficult to reach the top annals. But the challenge of breaking in and proving oneself to be a staple resource in Australian cricket becomes an exasperating exercise in the event of one becoming a captain.

So, when Smith was found guilty of ball tampering, being a leader, it was almost curtains down on a glowing career whose byline was enormity of run scoring and boundless potential.

That could’ve been the end, but it wasn’t

In some ways, Smith being around again and going strong is down to the fact that he’s much-loved and regarded as a true modern great of the game. It’s not the world being blindingly kind on a talented bloke who chose an erroneous path.

It’s down to the stunning numbers that Smith has amassed, in a sport where most envy longevity and dream to win the much-coveted Ashes series.

In four of his ten calendar years in Tests, Smith has smoked in excess of 1,000 runs.

And what truly indicates his herculean nature at run-scoring is the fact in seven of the ten years he’s wielded a bat in Test match cricket, he’s scored at an average north of 70.

That’s like a Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 4 games per outing or Sir Lewis Hamilton delivering a pole, win, and fastest lap for consecutively for, at least, half a Formula 1 season.

It’s bizarre meets brilliance. It’s the marriage of fire and ice.

But a number that should truly drive cricket critics who still question Smith’s inclusion in Australia having committed a sacrilege-like error of ball-tampering are his numbers against England and India, two of the strongest bowling attacks.

Of his 7540 Test runs, nearly 4500 have come against the game’s most daunting forces.

Moreover, he averages 72- read that again- 72 against India and 65 versus England.

The man who once hid behind his father’s arm for the world seemed a demon in front of his cricketing catastrophe has come back like a Thor on a battlefield just that his bat is the hammer.

And some of his Ashes outings are evident proof of that. For instance, the Perth double hundred, the revered 239 that saw Smith hold his nerve for over 500 minutes in the middle.

He scored 774 Ashes runs- a high flying effort resembling figures etched on a Boeing carrier- in 2019 Ashes and didn’t even need the full quota of 5 (the usual no.) Tests to do it.

In a ten-year journey, Smith has become the poster boy of Test heroism and dauntless consistency as also the bad boy of cricket whose every forthcoming inning seems an effort of atonement to wipe out the past mistakes.

There’s always something he brings to the crease- whether it’s his rather odd way of letting a delivery by, taking his stance, shuffling, and that trigger movement captivating much like watching someone wearing an umbrella over the head.

But to Australia it truly signals that the team is safe and under cover from harshness of the opponents.

Also, the man who’s fired 38 international centuries would definitely want to get better in the 50-over format where it seems his best is yet to come.

Though, for now, the man who turns 32 but still looks pup-eyed rules with the élan of a man made of steel, built on self-conviction and that voracious appetite at run-scoring that doesn’t look if it’ll be swayed by any more distractions.

Happy bday Steven Smith. 

Kieron Pollard – the long distance runner for West Indies cricket

A little over thirteen years ago, with the West Indies facing South Africa in an important ODI World Cup contest, one particular Protean was in outstanding form. Opening for his side and facing 130 deliveries, he fired 146 of his team’s 356 on his own. AB was on fire!

Resultantly, the West Indies were never really in contention to challenge South Africa’s authority, despite having the class of men like Lara and Chanderpaul. And though, there was a young debutant, aged just 20, someone who could only score 10 with the bat, there was something of a strong presence about him.

Tall and agile, he refused to hold himself back from athletic dives, piloting different positions on the ground moving very much in the fashion of a man who seemed here to stay. He reminded very much about what it meant to have a giant in motion in a cricket field.

Fourteen years later, as Kieron Pollard turns 34, with no fewer than 116 one day internationals under his belt, he’s recognised as more than a handy all rounder in West Indies white-ball cricket.

Leader for club and country

The man who often engages in carnage with the bat, being a total menace to some of the strongest bowlers around, little would many have thought that the man who failed in his maiden appearance for West Indies would go on to smoke 212 sixes in limited overs cricket (outside of T20 internationals) and would become the only walking player on the planet to feature in 500 T20 internationals.

If you were a spectator distraught at seeing the Caribbean side lose the world cup, despite hosting it in 2007, would you even have thought that Pollard would go on to lead the very team one day?

Today, Kieron Pollard has emerged as an irreplaceable figure for the Mumbai Indians in the famous Indian Premier League. He’s a man, who in addition to his heroics with both bat and ball has also led the Trinbago Knight Riders to a unique feat- wherein they won 12 in 12 games (during CPL 2020). This is testimony to the fact that good things come not only to those who wait but also to those who persist.

Not the batsman you’d ideally see bat throughout an inning, neither a bowler whom you’d associate with wicket-crushing yorkers or dynamite bouncers, Kieron Pollard acts well the part for that’s where the glory lies.

Pollard makes the difference

Then whether it means playing second-in-command to the mighty Chris Gayle against the Aussies in a must-win T20 semi final – circa 2012- wherein he fired a 15-ball-38 or taking the Mumbai Indians home courtesy a fireball of an 87, Pollard’s the man on whom you depend today to win you matches.

Not just a proficient all-round cricketer who fires behemoth sixes and sends the white ball into a state of perpetual disappearance, he’s emerged as a fantastic mentor to up-and-coming cricketers in the Caribbean in whose hands rests the responsibility of making West Indies cricket great again.

Take Pooran for example, who considers Kieron Pollard, his compatriot, a mentor. The guidance the elegant leftie received whilst nursing a near-fatal car accident to the smooth road to recovery emphasises the fact that Pollard is quite masterful in translating his cricketing experience into reviving someone’s fledgling career.

Today, you cannot imagine a limited overs Caribbean side without both- the master and the apprentice- can you?

Moreover, with the 2021 T20 World Cup fast approaching, it’s not only the big lashes of Gayle or the slower ones of DJ Bravo or even the wham-bam starts given by Evin Lewis on which the West Indies would depend; they’d look up to Kieron Pollard to blast past attacks and put nearly a decade and a half of his experience into nurturing West Indian hopes.

How Pollard has evolved as a player

What’s changed about Pollard is perhaps the fact that he’s not the brisk starter of an inning as he was once. What hasn’t is that despite the added pressure of leading a side tasked with the responsibility of entertaining a globe-trotting cricketing audience, in addition to countless T20 leagues, Pollard’s still the hungry athlete who desires to get better.

A month and a half back, he became the only modern day West Indian to fire six consecutive sixes against Sri Lanka in a T20 his side eventually won. He was also leading then. Since November 2019, when he was tasked with white-ball captaincy, he’s taken the West Indians to experience some highs they had hitherto lacked.

For instance, not succumbing absolutely to the Indians during their 2019 tour. Under his leadership, the Windies didn’t recede to a whitewash, and moreover, fired 207 in their maiden T20, an effort in which the captain made 37 off just 19, a game after which he’d score 68 of his team’s 173 in the final Wankhede-bound T20I.

He began his leadership role of a newly resurgent West Indian side with a commanding 3-0 hammering served to the Afghans. He was also at the helm of the affairs when Windies finally found a way to beat the Sri Lankans in the T20s in Sri Lanka, 2020.

There’ve been series wins in ODIs against Sri Lanka hosted later in the Caribbean as well as the triumph against the touring Irish.

Pollard, alongside a Gayle, Bravo, Simmons, Hope, Lewis, Holder and Roach appears akin to one among the nuclear arsenal, which on the day of launch can rip into any line-up.

While his opponents will desire nothing more than a low key outing in the mother of all sporting battles up ahead (the T20 world cup), Pollard would be aiming for one thing alone- can he inspire a very able group of youngsters into giving their best?

At 34, he’s not getting younger, but neither is the threat of bowling into his slot or pitching it short becoming a worthwhile idea.