Senior Buildnat Cape Cobras’ stars must lead from front, says Pollard

The senior stalwarts like himself (Kieron Pollard), Richard Levi, Rory Kleinveldt and Justin Ontong must carry the Buildnat Cape Cobras in the T20 Challenge and allow the younger players to chip in around them, said Pollard.

Pollard, Caribbean all-rounder and already a veteran of 50 T20-matches and 101 One Day Internationals for the West Indies, said despite the 38-run defeat against the VKB Knights in the opening clash of the domestic T20 Challenge, he has seen a positive vibe in the team and some smiling faces.

There are very positive signs, he added.

If the team can beat the defending champions, the Multiply Titans, at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday, it could be morale-boosting and lift their spirits even more. (The match on Wednesday starts at 18:00).

One of the most travelled T20-athletes in the world with 328 matches completed, Pollard said the vital elements of a T20-match are who blinks first, and whose match awareness is the most astute.

An honest assessment of the match against the VKB Knights would reveal that the bowling attack was not clinical enough, and could have restricted the Knights to 160 instead of 184.

“We were a bit rushed with the bat and tried to go too hard too soon. If you sat back and analysed the situation, we might have realized we had more time on our hands than we really thought,” he added.

Pollard suffered a serious knee injury while on duty for the Cobras in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge last season.

The cruciate ligament reconstruction impacted on his performance for the Mumbai Indians, as he only bowled six overs. His bating was still decent and he averaged 25.87.

In the subsequent Caribbean Tri-Nations tournament, Pollard finished at the summit of the batting averages for the West Indies (he averaged 41) as both Australia and South Africa were subjected to his swashbuckling barrage.

A man who has scored 6359 T20-runs and taken 220 wickets, Pollard knows what is needed to win games in the shortest format.

And he emphasizes the importance of the enjoyment factor, and of senior players leading from the front.

“Once you walk onto the park with a smile on your face and enjoy it, the talent will take care of itself.

“The senior players must put on the mantle and take care of things and the younger players will follow. This is a different team to the one that played the last two seasons. There are some younger, new faces. That is why the senior players must lead,” he said.

Pollard is not concerned about his own form at all. “To me, it is all about staying on the park and enjoying myself. Once I do that, the rest will take care of itself,” he adds.

Pollard’s relaxed outward demeanour belies a steely character and an extremely competitive nature and he is immensely determined to succeed, which has contributed hugely to the success of champion teams like the Buildnat Cape Cobras and the Mumbai Indians.

The Buildnat Cape Cobras squad for the match against the Multiply Titans on Wednesday is:  Justin Ontong (capt), Beuran Hendricks, Richard Levi, Jason Smith, Cebo Tshiki, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Nkululeko Serame, Tshepo Moreki, Zubayr Hamza, Kieron Pollard, Jason Smith, Keegan Petersen.