Pooran eyes T20 World Cup debut after career-threatening injury

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran. - CWI Media
West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran. - CWI Media

WEST Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran is on the verge of playing in his maiden T20 World Cup. Five years ago when Carlos Brathwaite struck four consecutive sixes to lead West Indies to the 2016 title Pooran was trying to rejuvenate his career after a car accident in 2015 almost brought it to a halt.

Pooran, 26, announced himself in the 2013 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when he scored a half-century on debut for the TT Red Steel (now Trinbago Knight Riders) as a 17-year-old.

In early 2015, Pooran was involved in an accident that caused severe damage to both of his legs. His cricket career was in jeopardy as he was confined to a wheelchair for months. Later in 2015 he started becoming more mobile and started his journey back to cricket.

When West Indies won the T20 World Cup in April 2016 Pooran had not yet made his debut for the regional team as he was still trying to find his feet again.

He made his debut for West Indies just months after the 2016 T20 World Cup and is now days away from making his debut at the marquee event.

On Wednesday, speaking to journalists on Zoom, Pooran was asked about the experience of watching the 2016 T20 World Cup while making his return to the game.

“I have been playing a lot of cricket over the last two years. I see the World Cup as another game, another game representing the West Indies, but as you said that I am (now) sitting thinking about it. Obviously it is a big achievement for me as well because I remember the last World Cup I was now recovering from my injury and I was always thinking about T20 World Cups, I wanted to be a part of a T20 World Cup. Processing it now obviously it is a big achievement for me (and) obviously being vice-captain.”

Pooran said it was never his goal to be captain or vice-captain of the West Indies, but is eager to deliver in the role by supporting captain Kieron Pollard and coach Phil Simmons.

“It is a proud moment for me and my family. (I am) very anxious and looking forward to the opportunity.”

The left-hander struggled to find form for the Punjab Kings when the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) resumed on September 19 immediately following the conclusion of the 2021 CPL.

“No, I am not concerned (about my form). To me my cricket has been based on confidence and my intent,” Pooran said.

Pooran said when the IPL bowled off earlier this year he was also on a dismal run of form but was able to rebound with more significant scores for West Indies and for Amazon Warriors in the CPL.

“Again, it is about my process, continuing to believe in my process (and) having faith in my process…my confidence is very high. I have no doubt in my mind that I can go and execute my game plan and do good for the team.”

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