NEW West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran received high praise from his former franchise manager and national manager upon his big appointment.
Pooran, 26, was named captain of the West Indies T20 and ODI teams on Tuesday and will have a big task ahead in preparing for the ICC T20 World Cup in October and the ICC Cricket World Cup next year.
In an interview with Newsday, former West Indies and TT manager Omar Khan said, “He has been moulded as a future West Indies captain when he was appointed vice-captain of the team. He strongly led Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL last year and was very instrumental in the performances of the team. Nicholas is a natural leader and has the passion and power to do well”.
Khan said Pooran is taking charge during a rebuilding process and must get his teammates to buy into his vision for the team.
With his experience at the top level, Pooran is already respected by both players and fans, and many are looking forward to his tenure in leadership. Khan shared that sentiment and said the key will be to get the players to perform at a high level consistently.
When asked about the challenges Pooran may face, Khan said the lack of consistency can be his Achilles heel. “The players must always give 100 per cent effort. In white-ball cricket, you have to be smart, assess situations quickly and be able to adjust. He has a lot of experience in franchise cricket around the world with senior players, so he just needs to apply what he learned.”
Pooran will have many people to lean on for advice and wisdom. In the current setup, he has Jason Holder, coach Phillip Simmons and Shai Hope. Khan said he sent a message to Pooran following his appointment offering his full support and said he’s there for the new captain.
The former West Indies manager added that he can see Pooran as the long-term West Indies captain. “Since he already has a secured place on the team, he can definitely be the long-term captain. His captaincy will only be questioned and possibly revoked if West Indies lose many matches under his leadership. I’ve seen him grow and develop into a real professional, he has matured and is very keen to take over as captain. He sees it as an honour so he will take it seriously and work with whatever players he has and try to get the best results for the team.”
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force coach David Furlonge also had high hopes for the new captain. In an interview with Newsday, on Tuesday, he spoke about what Pooran can bring to the team as a leader including his experience, the excitement of a being young leader and respect.
Furlonge further said Pooran may not be as aggressive as Keiron Pollard but he will impose discipline and his style which will be one of motivation and encouragement, as seen in his recent video with his current franchise team Sunrisers Hyderabad where he led his team-mates in a goofy rendition of Kes’ soca hit Hello.
On Pooran’s ability to take the West Indies team to the latter stages of both World Cup tournaments, Furlonge said, “He’ll need more time. He has a group of young players who have been gelling and he will need time to cement his style and leadership on the team to be competitive. It’s possible that he can have his team ready for the ICC World Cup next year but the T20 World Cup may be too soon for him”.
With regards to Pooran’s on-field contribution, both Khan and Furlonge would like to see him batting fourth or fifth in the ODI line-up and third or fourth in T20s. “Position four is a key position in ODI to hold the innings together,” said Khan, “you want your best batsman to face the most overs in any form of the game. He is very aggressive, but he can also be conservative and play for singles. He is one of the best players in white-ball cricket and should be fully utilised.” Furlonge said “it gives him time to settle” and he would be able to get the opportunity to make 50 to 60 runs in T20.
Pooran’s responsibility as West Indies captain will not be a simple task, but he has the support of his teammates, coaches and fans around the world to keep him grounded.