The West Indies batsman talks about fast-format cricket and how he looks back at his breathtaking fielding effort in the IPL
A meme featuring Nicholas Pooran circulated among cricket lovers a few months ago, and no, it was not negative.
The meme featured two pictures: one of the cricketer lying in a hospital bed in 2015 and another of him in 2020 flying across the boundary rope to attempt what was described as ‘the best save in cricket history’.
The Caribbean cricketer became a familiar face among Indian fans not just for his heroic saves but also his exploits with the bat during the IPL. Pooran promises to continue the entertainment in the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10, a 10-over, fast-paced cricket format. Excerpts from a video call:
T20 is already fast-paced. How exciting is T10?
The IPL is fun all right, but this is a high-intensity tournament. It is not much thinking to be honest, but more about executing your skills. The batsmen look forward to striking the ball and having a good time.
As a cricketer, what are the qualities you need to possess to excel in such a format?
Practice makes perfect, and I spend a lot of time on the nets. It is about finding yourself in good positions to execute your skills, regardless of whether you are a batsman or a bowler.
You are captaining your side (Northern Warriors) for the first time. How do you see that role?
It is a new challenge for me. This format is so quick that you need to make judgement calls within a short span of time. I hope I do make some good decisions and contribute to our team’s success.
Growing up watching cricket in the Carribean, did you have a captain/player you looked up to?
I didn’t have one, but at the moment, I look up to Pollard (Keiron), from whom I have learnt a lot of cricket from. I’m trying to get some ideas from him!
Does cricket also have to package itself to keep staying popular among TV audiences?
What people need is excitement, and T10 gives them that. As it is just an hour-and-a-half game, it is ideal for someone to catch before they log in to work or even after work hours.
Your breathtaking fielding effort in the IPL has been hailed as the best ever. Would you put that down to instinct or many days of training hard?
A bit of both. And add game awareness to that. I think things like this do not happen by chance; I have been practising that for a while now.
Tell us more about how crucial fielding is in faster formats.
It (fielding) can change the game sometimes. When bowlers are under pressure, a brilliant catch or save can lift their spirits. When you take a run out, it is still a wicket, and so fielders have a major role to play in all formats.
You are a true product of franchise cricket…
You get to learn from other players about how they play in their part of the world. You gather all that information, and try to put it into your game and get better.
It also means a lot of travelling and bio-bubbles, which can be challenging…
Well, I am still alive and coping with it (smiles). At some places I have toured recently, the bubble and quarantine periods were different. It is challenging because I feel sportsmen need to go out and get distracted from the game, especially if things are not going your way on the field. It is fine if everything is going your way, which is unlikely at most times.
Your accident in 2015 was career-threatening. What did it teach you?
To appreciate life and everyone around you. At that time, I would keep thinking if I would get a chance to play the game again. Now, I try to live every day as my last, and be a much better individual.
Abu Dhabi T10 matches will be aired live on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 (in Hindi) from January 28 to February 6