West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard is a targeting a national comeback for the 2019 World Cup after setting the stage on fire in IPL.
Pollard smashed a whirlwind 83 off 31 balls to help Mumbai Indians defeat Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday and hoped his long-standing issues with the West Indies board are behind him.
The 31-year-old last played an ODI in 2016 after falling out of favour under the previous Windies cricket board regime but is now more upbeat about his international future after the ouster of controversial board president Dave Cameron.
“There has been a lot of turmoil in West Indies cricket over the last couple of years. We have seen in the last couple of weeks there’s a change,” Pollard was quoted as saying by AFP.
“The most I can do every time I step on the cricket field is try to put runs on the board,” he added. “There’s people there who have the job to select and whatever and let’s see how that goes. As I said, I’m 31 years, Chris Gayle is still playing, he’s 39, and he’s whacking it all around.”
Pollard said with former team manager Ricky Skerritt taking charge, it could be start of a new era.
“We have a new chairman of selectors, there’s a new president of the cricket board, and as I said you take it as it comes,” said Pollard. “We know what we can do and I think Chris batted superbly. When your mind is free, you just go out and enjoy cricket.”
India skipper Virat Kohli has added another feather to his cap after he was included as one of the five Cricketers of the Years in the 2019 edition of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack which was published on Wednesday.
Kohli, along with England’s Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Rory Burns and English women’s star Tammy Beaumont were named as the five Cricketers of the Year. The Cricketer of the Year award can be handed to a player only once in his or her lifetime.
The India skipper also became the first player in history to be named as the Leading Cricketer in the World for the third year in a row.
Kohli had a sensational 2018 with the bat including a terrific individual series in England which India lost by 4-1. The right-hander had struggled with an average of just 13.40 on his previous tours of England but he laid those ghosts to rest as he went on to aggregate 593 runs in the five Tests in 2018 while registering two tons.
The India superstar scored a total of 2,375 international runs across all three formats to finish as the leading run-scorer by some distance.
India’s Smriti Mandhana was awarded the accolade of the Leading Cricketer in the women’s game after registering as many as 13 half-centuries across the limited-overs formats while Afghanistan leg spinner was named as the Leading T20 Cricketer for the second year in a row.
“Despite finishing on the losing side, India captain Virat Kohli shone with the bat, laying to rest his struggles in England in 2014,” Wisden editor Lawrence Booth was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“His Test batting, especially in England, was magnificent, while his 50-over form moved to a new level – if that was possible,” Booth added.
Woakes has been hampered by a troublesome knee for some time now in his career with the all-rounder missing out on England’s Test series against West Indies and Sri Lanka in the last few months.
While he has been featuring in the limited-overs squad regularly, Woakes was forced to sit out the second ODI against West Indies in Bridgetown recently after another flare up in his knee. Now, with England’s World Cup squad announcement just days away, the 30-year-old is feeling pretty confident about his fitness.
“I feel like I’ll still be able to get through constant days of cricket. It’s in a better place than it was in the West Indies,” Woakes was quoted as saying by the Cricketer.
“I just found that in the Caribbean when it flared up a little bit, I struggled to get out of second gear and it just felt like I couldn’t really get going.
“Since getting back it’s been good to have a couple of injections, settle it down, build a bit of strength around it and do a bit of rehab. I feel like I’ve turned a corner with it.”
The England all-rounder is hoping to avoid a repeat of the last time he played in a major international tournament for his country. In the 2017 Champions Trophy held in England, Woakes had broken down in the very first game against Bangladesh before subsequently being ruled out of the tournament.
“You know, injuries are part and parcel of the game and part of professional sport,” said Woakes.
“But what happened in the Champions Trophy gives me a little bit of extra motivation to be right for an exciting summer ahead.
“It’s just something which I have to manage and constantly maintain. As a fast bowler, you’re always going to have something that’s sore, so if that’s the only thing that’s sore I’ll take that.”