Legendary former West Indies captain, Sir Vivian Richards, has endorsed Kieron Pollard’s appointment as white-ball skipper and believes “politics with the last regime” prevented the Trinidadian from assuming the position sooner.
The 32-year-old Pollard was elevated to the position last month and next week leaves the Caribbean with the Windies for his first challenge, when they take on dangerous Afghanistan in India from November 5-18 in three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20s.
“I’ve always felt he should have been [appointed] a bit earlier,” the 67-year-old Sir Vivian, who never lost a Test series as captain, told the Line and Length cricket pod-cast.
“I guess the politics with the last regime and the things that obviously went down in India, and some of these guys in my opinion were blacklisted from playing the role that they should and helping to move the team forward, and I think because of those political issues it didn’t quite help the progress.”
Pollard replaced all-rounder Jason Holder as one-day captain and all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite at the helm of the T20 squad, and was part of a major overhaul of the management of the men’s side with fellow Trinidadian Phil Simmons named as head coach for the second time in four years.
An aggressive lower order batsman who has specialised in the T20 format, Pollard will bring plenty experience to the role having led Barbados Tridents for five years during the Caribbean Premier League, and overseen their capture of the title in 2014.
He also led St Lucia Stars last season and this year took over as captain of his native Trinbago Knight Riders, after injury ruled all-rounder Dwayne Bravo out of the entire campaign.
Sir Viv said he had identified the leadership qualities in Pollard from as early as 2013, when he saw him in the inaugural CPL season.
“When I first saw him in the first CPL tournament we had in the region, he was in my opinion the best captain — no disrespect to Carlos and [people] like that,” Sir Viv said.
“Carlos is a very highly competitive individual and would have won us a World Cup off his bat, but he was put in that position for political reasons and I think he would understand that as well because I think he is very sensible and knowledgeable.
“So I have no issues with Kieron Pollard. I believe he brings inventiveness and is proactive more than anything else, which I think can help at times.”
Only recently, Pollard indicated he would not tolerate insularity in selection during his tenure, and Sir Viv said he was in full agreement with the new captain’s position.
“I’ve always been of the feeling that you try and pick the best team that you see — regardless of where the individuals may come from — the best team that you see possible that can represent you,” Sir Viv stressed.