As Mumbai Indians gears up to play its first home match of the Pepsi IPL-VI against Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, captain Ricky Ponting and the team’s brains trust may have mulled ways and means to extract maximum benefits from Kieron Pollard.
The 25-year-old Trinidadian has already lit up the league with mighty blows with the bat and a breathtaking fielding effort to bring down two-time champion Chennai Super Kings.
The costliest buy in the third season of the league, Pollard was always expected to add to the thrills, and his 38-ball undefeated 57 at the MAC stadium on Saturday that lifted his team from a hopeless 59 for four to a match-winning 148 ought to nudge the management to think of rearranging the batting order.
Pollard has featured in 28 MI wins — making 480 runs off 295 balls at an average of 30 with three half-centuries.
In all he has played 46 matches, batted 40 times, scored 701 runs off 479 balls (42x6 and 55x4) with a strike rate of 146.35. He has taken 24 catches — third behind Rohit Sharma (28) and Suresh Raina (25) — and taken 42 wickets at 24.76.
While the calls to upgrade Pollard in the batting order have reached a high-pitch, it is interesting to note that Pollard has batted from one drop to No. 8 and scored good runs at No. 5, 6 and 7.
After a mixed bag of results in its outstation engagements at Bangalore and Chennai, MI and Ponting would take the field hoping to make the most of the plight the Daredevils are in after two losses, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.
So far it’s even stevens in 10 matches between the two; ditto at the Wankhede, 1-1.
The visitors will have the option to pick Morne Morkel and perhaps Virender Sehwag, should he be fit, and Ponting may be called upon to decide on Pollard’s batting position.