Nicholas Pooran has an ODI average of 49, a few more runs and he’ll touch fifty. Sufficient indication of just how fantastic talent he is. Moreover, he needs eighteen more runs to touch 1,000, the first mega milestone any batsman aspires to achieve. He’s scored these runs from just 25 innings, maintaining a strike rate comfortably north of 100.
Furthermore, in T20I cricket, Nicholas Pooran, needs another nineteen to touch 500 runs. 144 of these runs have come through hits that have cleared the ropes with as much ease with which we turn a page over. Here, his strike rate is touching 120. Not too bad a performance for someone just 25 years of age.
Though what’s missing in Pooran’s impressive- albeit young- career is consistent performances, which could have gone a long way to ensure his powerful West Indian side would’ve drubbed a star-less Proteas side that came calling instead of falling flat in their own backyard.
What’s impressive about Pooran is that nearly every time he walks out to bat, you are reminded of the hitting power of a Gayle and that dash of the flair of Lara.
He plays the spin well, better than Hetmyer does, almost up there with Darren Bravo. Using the depth of the crease, he can sweep, paddle-sweep, cut and pull comfortably.
What isn’t, however, is that none of that has happened, of late.
To be more specific, a string of low scores, which the Caribbean purist would call ‘no scores,’ have strangled a career that had only just begun blossoming.
So how is that?
With a listless recent run, culminating into ordinary numbers with the bat, through scores like 9 off 11, 27 off 28, 16 off 15 and 20 off 14, Pooran’s hardly looked the bloke, who set the world on fire when in the 2019 ODI World Cup. He batted deep with the tailenders to nearly win his Windies a game versus the dominant Sri Lankans.
Adding to his predicament are the world of expectations everyone has of Nicholas Pooran, given his god-given batting talent.
Forget, for a second that he underperformed horribly in the first phase of the 2021 IPL. Not once in the last two months has he shown that he’s that very person whose bat commands the power to change fortunes of a team that often self-obliterates, often handing the edge over to the opponent instead of working out its own flaws.
Moreover, that Nicholas Pooran is out of form being the vice-captain should hurt- but does it?
We don’t know for sure. What we know is that in the fourth T20 when he had the opportunity to join forces with Pollard, at the behest of whom, Windies drew level with South Africa, Pooran departed early.
In the last, decisive contest when Windies were set at a very gettable 169, Pooran offered 20 from the bat. Evin Lewis, though, was once again on song, being the most reliable bat in a format where you cannot rely on anything besides accepting that the contest will change with every delivery.
In 2019-end, with his team in India, a Pooran and Pollard show entertained fans at Cuttack, with the two Trinidadians putting a stellar run-pounding show for bedazzled viewers as Kohli and Sharma put their hands over their heads.
Though their bowling let the Windies down, the master-apprentice show stood out.
It reaffirmed the sentiment that Nicholas Pooran is here for the long run. He’s special. And that, he’ll go places.
What we are seeing now, however, is that the only place he’s going, and a bit too early perhaps to his own liking is going back to the dugout.
With the ICC T20 World Cup barely a few months away, a decline in form is not good news for the West Indies, who will vie for a third title.
But will it be possible to attain with a Gayle clearly lacking the fireworks and the quintessential ‘storm’ and more importantly with, Pooran seeming as unsure of himself as is a Bollywood actor unconvinced despite having tried various looks and get-ups for a film?
If there was a time to pick up a form and stay at the crease long enough to register meaningful scores, never mind if they come at a run-a-ball rate, then that time is now. And what could be better than proving he’s worth his salt against the mighty Aussies?
Are you listening dear Vice-captain?
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