West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard, among the most devastating batsmen lower down the order in IPL 3, is prepared to bat at any number for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the upcoming Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in South Africa.
“Where ever I am asked to go by the technical staff I would do so. I want to perform for my team, thats all,” said Pollard.
In the third edition of the Indian Premier League, the Trinidadian used to come in at number seven or eight for MI and strike deadly late blows to take the match away from the opposition. He scored 213 runs off only 124 balls from 12 matches.
He also hit a staggering 12 sixes and 19 fours (148 runs) that helped him maintain a superb strike rate of 171.77 at the end of the tournament where the Sachin Tendulkar-led MI finished runners-up to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.
Looking ahead to the CLT20, Pollard – who is recovering from an eye injury – said he had a doctor’s appointment later in the day.
“I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I’m confident I would be fit for the Champions League (commencing on September 10). The swelling has gone down a lot,” he said.
The genial giant, set to meet up with his MI teammates in Johannesburg after flying out with fellow-Trinidadian Dwayne Bravo on September 5, was upbeat about his IPL team’s chances in CLT20.
“We have a good team with impressive young batsmen like Shikhar Dhiwan and Saurabh Tiwary. It all will boil down to how well we adapt to the conditions in South Africa, which will be bouncy and seaming, definitely different to Indian wickets.
“We have to play good cricket and respect every opponent,” said the 23-year-old all-rounder who was the costliest player bought ($750,000) at last year’s players’ auction.
Pollard, who bowls off breaks, did not think the lay-off due to injury would be difficult for players like him and teammates Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan to surmount in the run-up to the team’s opening match.
“A few practice sessions in South Africa before the tournament should be enough to get into the groove,” felt the Trinidadian who caught the Indian public’s attention with his exploits in the inaugural CLT20 in 2009 held in this country.
MI open their campaign against host nation’s Highveld Lions at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on the first day of the tournament which ends on September 26 and carries a total prize fund of $6 million, with the winners taking home $2.5 million.
Ten teams, including IPL franchises MI, CSK and Bangalore Royal Challengers are taking part in the T20 tournament that is being held in four venues, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Centurion.