IPL 2018: Is time running out for Mumbai Indians' superstar Kieron Pollard?
Mumbai is the land where the Indian film industry is present and thus the Mumbai Indians fans are often used to dramatic endings. The Ambani owned franchise have scripted some exhilarating comebacks in the Indian Premier League and have gone on to win the league three times in the ten year history of the IPL.
However, this season the Mumbai Indians have had another stuttering start to their campaign and one of the reasons for this could be the woeful form of their mainstay Kieron Pollard.
The franchise showed tremendous amount of faith in the Trinidadian when they used their RTM (right to match) card to retain his services. A match winner in his own right, Pollard needs to step up to the plate or find himself on the bench, with the likes of Jean-Paul Duminy and Ben Cutting waiting in the wings.
Pollard caught the attention of the cricketing world, especially India, after his stunning display against New South Wales in the Champions League T20 in the 2009 edition. He scored a blazing 18-ball 54; it was a match winning knock which included 5 massive sixes, and it certainly caught the attention of the Indian crowds.
The Trinidadian was bought by Mukesh Ambani's owned Mumbai Indians for a whopping $2.2 million, making the most expensive player in the 2010 auction. They beat the Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore to get the services of the dynamic all rounder.
Since then Pollard has lifted three Indian Premier League trophies with the men in blue. With some breath-taking catches and some explosive match winning knocks, the West Indian has become a favourite at the Wankhede stadium.
However, Pollard this season has had very little impact in the IPL this year. He has scored just 63 runs this season with an average of 15.75 and a mediocre strike rate of 110.53. Often seen as a finisher for his team, he has had very little impact in the 57 balls he has faced this season.
To add to his woes, the Trinidadian also had an below par Big Bash League in 2017; he scored 67 runs in 4 innings with an average of 22.33. Due to injury concerns, Pollard has also been ineffective with the ball and has seemingly lost his sheen on the field as well. With JP Duminy in the ranks, Pollard's place in the team can be in jeopardy.
The South African was the T20 captain against India in the three match T20 series on their home turf. Leading from the front, the southpaw amassed 122 runs with an impressive average of 61 and a steady strike rate of 138.64. He also was pretty handy with the ball as he kept a decent economy rate of 7.
An excellent middle order batsman with the ability to hit the ball to all parts, JP is also an excellent fielder like most South Africans. He is a good player of spin and pace and might just add the much needed balance to the team, giving the big hitters like the Pandya brothers and skipper Rohit Sharma the license to hit from ball one.
Ben Cutting was also bought by the defending champions to bolster their middle order. A hard hitting batsman and a street smart medium pacer, Ben can give MI another all-round option. The fans will probably never forget Cutting's explosive innings against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final to win his former franchise Sunrisers Hyderbad the IPL trophy in the 2016 edition.
Kieron Pollard has been a great servant to the Mumbai Indians and an outright match winner for them over the years, but I now believe that his time is up. He has been one of the reasons for MI's poor performance as of now in the Indian Premier League; they would look a much more balanced team if they play JP Duminy, who adds that stability factor in the middle order and is an accomplished T20 batsman.
Also, Duminy has had the experience of playing for the Mumbai team back in 2009, and was one of their better players in that season. He would add the necessary balance the team needs whether with bat, ball or in the field.
Although Duminy did not get to bat against CSK, the batting looked much more solid and assured with the presence of him and Ben Cutting.