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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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Pollard: Protect Windies’ youngsters

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard 
addresses the media yesterday, during a Cricket West Indies press conference, at the Hilton Trinidad.
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard addresses the media yesterday, during a Cricket West Indies press conference, at the Hilton Trinidad.

WEST INDIES limited overs captain Kieron Pollard wants to ensure the region's young cricketers are protected from "vultures" and properly nurtured for the future. The skipper revealed as much at a media conference ahead of the start of Friday's Twenty20 (T20) series against hosts, India.

Following a One-Day series win over Afghanistan, the Windies lost a T20 series with players such as 24-year-old Brandon King, 24 year-old Nicholas Pooran and 22-year-old Shimron Hetmyer in the mix. However, Pollard believes they must be given time as it's a patient process in unlocking their full potential, especially as players like Pooran, who've been in the international set-up for some time, are still considered relatively "green" on the international circuit.

"There are a lot of young talents coming through. It's just a matter of trying to reach them and ease them into the world of international cricket, which we know is a very, very tough place. Again, the most important thing for the management is to have patience and yes, at the end of the day you want to have results but sometimes you need to be honest with yourself," he said.

"And that's something we're trying to do in every aspect of our game as well – just try to be honest, assess and improve. So, (people can) look forward to these talents to show the world what they can do. Sometimes, you need to have that umbrella over them and try and protect them from the vultures that are out to take down their careers pretty quickly," Pollard said.

It remains vague as to who these vultures are but with players like legspinner Hayden Walsh, who finished as the leading wicket-taker in this year's Caribbean Premier League, in his squad, Pollard emphasised how bright the future was. Walsh played just nine matches, taking 22 wickets as the instrumental figure in Barbados Tridents' march to the title, while Guyana Amazon Warriors' King topped the batters with 496 runs at an average over 55 and strike-rate over 148 as they finished second again. However, King only managed 17 runs in three T20 innings against the Afghans, proving it's not an easy transition.

"We're excited to be here (in India) and represent the West Indies and yes, again, scores and wickets haven't shown their ability yet. But, you can't judge people on a couple of games and I think that's the problem we have as individuals. We try to judge people too quickly. We need to give people time in everything we do," he said.

Pollard's sentiments are similar to Cricket West Indies president, Ricky Skerritt, and coach of the WI Emerging Players who just won the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup, Floyd Reifer (the man who Phil Simmons replaced as WI senior men's coach). The latter duo made it clear Caribbean youngsters would be handled with care and given the right funding and infrastructure to harness their talent.

"In order for guys to invest in what they do, they need experience and we as the management team want to back these guys and see how far we can go because we have seen their talent and attitude and that's some of the things we look at," Pollard added. He placed belief in his charges and reminded the press they had some good practice sessions to help them acclimatise to Indian conditions.

"We've been here for a while now, since November. It's about putting the pieces of the puzzle together. There are instances where we know we faltered, in that last series. We've spoken about it and hopefully come this series, we can put these things right," he concluded.

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