After 189 games for Mumbai Indians, Kieron Pollard seems to have run his IPL race. On Thursday, the Trinidadian made way for 21-year-old South African Tristan Stubbs for MI’s game against Chennai Super Kings, as captain Rohit Sharma spoke about the future at the toss. Pollard turned 35 today.
Toss presenter Simon Doull asked Rohit if it was tough to convey the message to Pollard. “It was tough. But he (Pollard) accepted it. We made a couple of changes – Hrithik Shokeen for Murugan Ashwin was the other change – and one was with an eye to the future,” the MI skipper said.
MI, already out of the playoffs race, will have two more group league matches remaining after this and Pollard could still have a send-off. But the writing appears to be on the wall.
Over the years, Pollard has been immense for the franchise, one of the bona fide MI legends. Since making his IPL debut in 2010, he has made 189 appearances, scoring 3,412 runs at a strike rate of 147.32 and claiming 69 wickets with his gentle medium pace. Last year also, the five-time champions had failed to reach the playoffs and Pollard had an average outing – 245 runs from 14 matches. So, when the franchise retained him for Rs 6 crore ahead of the mega auction this year, eyebrows were raised. MI, though, rewarded loyalty and the player’s pedigree, but the ongoing season turned out to be worse for the big man – 144 runs from 11 games – with his team languishing at the foot of the table.
As Rohit presented the MI cap to Stubbs at the team huddle before the start of the match, Pollard was jovial, chatting and having a laugh. He recently retired from international cricket and it needs to be seen if he has an IPL future beyond this season.
‘Difficult to replace Jadeja’
Meanwhile, CSK captain MS Dhoni was asked about Ravindra Jadeja’s absence at the toss and he spoke about how Jadeja’s all-round ability allowed the team management to go with different combinations. “Also, his fielding… It’s difficult to replace Jadeja,” Dhoni said.
CSK released Jadeja after a rib injury ruled him out of the rest of the IPL.