Return of Pollard for T20 Challenge ‘boosts Cobras’

In a stunning reversal of fortunes which will significantly boost the title-aspirations of the Buildnat Cape Cobras, the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) issued a No-Objection Certificate to the world-class Caribbean all-rounder Kieron Pollard which will allow him to represent the Cobras in Saturday’s opening match of this season’s T20 Challenge against the VKB Knights at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium.

This happened within 24 hours after the WICB’s declaration that a NOC won’t be issued to the Trinidad and Tobago star as he was levied with 20 % of the contract fee of any Caribbean player wishing to participate in an overseas tournament, a levy the Cape Cobras and Cricket South Africa were not prepared to pay.

Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Cape Cobras, credited Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricket Players Association, for his impact in swaying the WICB’s mind on the issue.

“I did not get sight of Tony’s correspondence, but I believe he made them aware of the possible legal ramifications of such a step (withholding a No-Objection Certificate and demanding a 20 % levy),” Dien said.

“This will boost our chances. It is not only the experience that he adds to the middle-order, but also the character he displays and the knowledge he imparts to younger players, like Jason Smith,” Dien said about Pollard’s full participation in the domestic T20 Challenge.

Pollard averaged 51.50 with the bat in last season’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge before a knee injured ended his campaign prematurely.

In the 2014/2015-season, he was the best T20-player in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, averaging 81 and taking 14 wickets. His magnificent cameo in the final at PPC Newlands turned potential tragedy into triumph for the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

“Pollard will arrive in Johannesburg on Friday and will stay there for the game,” said Dien.

The arrival of Pollard will strengthen the middle-order of the Cape Cobras substantially, and he and Smith might possibly occupy the number four and five positions depending on the state of the game.

As a bowler, Pollard was a trump card for the Mumbai Indians earlier in 2016 when they won the Indian Cricket League. His change of pace and ability to deliver a smart variety which bamboozles most batsmen, has made him a match-winner for the Cobras on at least three occasions the past two seasons.