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Politics around Pollard


Andi Thornhill

Politics around Pollard

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Seriously, honestly I don’t see why some are surprised that Keiron Pollard has been named to captain Barbados Tridents in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League.
If we have followed and analyzed recent developments, I think there appears to be a deliberate attempt to elevate Pollard to a higher office in West Indies cricket.
I deem it as West Indies cricket politics which I think will hurt Darren Sammy sooner rather than later.
Perhaps it goes around and come around because when Sammy was made captain it was said he was given it on the strength of fellow St Lucians Julian Hunte and Ernest Hilaire holding the top posts of president and chief executive officer respectively of the West Indies Cricket Board.
The inference being that with their departure he no longer has a godfather to call a shot for him.
Hence he lost the captaincy of the One-Day team once a new man took over the helm.
Even so, I’m among those who think he has done a fantastic job along with coach Ottis Gibson in uniting the team, hence the much improved performances in the last two years.
Not only that. He has done enough to earn his place in the squad as an all-rounder even if there were question marks at first. The doubts motivated him to improve his skills.
But since when did West Indies cricket function without some level of insularity or politics?
The Pollard factor might be seen in this light although it might not be true. It may just be a figment of our imaginations.
Besides, the selectors may genuinely see leadership qualities in him.
Therefore I don’t think it was by chance he deputized for Dwayne Bravo in the second game in the current tri-nation series or that he captains the Bajan franchise in the Caribbean Premier League.
For me, Dwayne Smith would’ve been the clear choice but others for reasons best known to themselves thought otherwise.
But wait a minute. Why did the selectors overlook Denesh Ramdin and gave Pollard preference when Bravo was injured?
I assumed that Ramdin’s recent problems in the Champions Trophy went against him, because the West Indies didn’t appeal his two-match ban but it still came as a shock to some to learn about the selectors’ alternative.
In the bigger picture, which may help to shape our opinions on these issues, we have to accept the concept of globalization as it relates to sports.
We are in an era where the formation of franchises may not focus on nationality as a core value.
What matters most is the quality and strength of a particular unit that can give investors great returns on their money. That’s the bottom line.
The best example of this that we can appreciate is the line-up of teams in international club football. How many English-born players, for instance, are usually in the starting XI for Chelsea?
As another example, how many players born in Miami actually play for the Heat?
Hence, in a franchise there’s nothing stipulating that a hometown boy must or should lead the team.
I agree, though, that in this case, there’s a good argument for Smith to captain the Tridents. After all, he just skippered the West Indies “A” successfully against Sri Lanka in a Twenty20 series. 
Question is: Would the current debate have the same significance and relevance if a team didn’t have a country’s name as a handle?
It was raised in Trinidad for far different reasons but I think that factor is causing people to be caught up in mind games and arriving at the wrong conclusions.
I reason that Pollard is being groomed as a future West Indies captain. Leading the Tridents is just another step up that ladder.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced award-winning freelance sports journalist.

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