Pollard is among a small set of players who have represented only one franchise over their entire IPL careers. The others in the list, with a cut-off of at least 100 matches, are Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2008), Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders from 2011), Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai from 2013) and Lasith Malinga (who had two stints at Mumbai).
It was Pollard’s explosive hitting, athletic fielding, and smarts with the ball during the 2009 Champions League T20 that drew the collective attention of the IPL franchises. While he set his base price at USD 200,000 in the 2010 auction, four franchises – Mumbai, Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers and Knight Riders – placed the maximum bid of USD 750,000 for him. Pollard became the first of two players in the IPL [Shane Bond was the second] to be signed via the silent tie-breaker rule, where franchises were asked to list a price on a blank cheque with the highest bid getting the player’s services.
It was a remarkable turn of fortunes for Pollard, the tall and well-built allrounder from Trinidad & Tobago, who had been left “disappointed” just a year earlier when he went unsold at the 2009 auction despite setting a base price of just USD 60,000.
Before every auction, Pollard was an automatic retention for Mumbai, including in 2022, when he was the franchise’s fourth retained player at INR 6 crore (USD 800,000 approx.). But if Pollard needed a reminder about the challenge of “sustaining” his form, it came in IPL 2022. In 11 matches, Pollard scored only 144 runs, and his average of 14.40 and strike rate of 107.46 were his lowest in any IPL season. Things have not improved since then as Pollard underwent a knee surgery during the English summer and then played in the CPL, where he led Trinbago Knight Riders, who failed to make the last four for the first time.
As far as Mumbai are concerned, their decision to release Pollard came with the motive of entering the 2023 auction with a bigger purse. Mumbai are known to form long-standing bonds with their players, and Pollard’s transition to the coaching staff came as no surprise.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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