Deep Dasgupta has called for Mumbai Indians to promote Kieron Pollard ahead of Hardik Pandya in the batting order, citing that the Trinidadian is a far more complete batsman now. In three games thus far in IPL 2020, Pollard, who has batted at No.6, has only faced a total of 45 deliveries.
Having struck 207 runs in the 2020 edition of the CPL at an average over 50 and a strike rate over 200, Windies limited-overs skipper Kieron Pollard entered the IPL in red-hot form. After not getting too many deliveries to face in each of Mumbai’s first two games, the 33-year-old found his groove versus Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai earlier this week, where he almost helped MI pull off one of the greatest heists of all time. However, despite being at the top of his game, skipper Rohit Sharma has, nevertheless, used Pollard primarily at No.6, behind Hardik Pandya, who has struggled for form and has averaged just over 15 in the first three games of the tournament.
This cannot continue according to former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta, who has called for Mumbai to promote Pollard ahead of Pandya. Speaking on ESPN Cricinfo’s ‘T20 Timeout’, Dasgupta noted that Pollard has taken his batting to the next level, and thus should bat over the struggling Hardik Pandya in the Mumbai Indians’ middle-order.
“Pollard should bat ahead of Pandya. The way he has batted in the year and a half, he’s shown that he is not one-dimensional anymore,” Dasgupta said on ESPNCricinfo’s ‘T20 Timeout’.
“Earlier on, yes, he was rightfully criticized for playing a lot of dots, but I don’t think he eats up as many deliveries now. I think he has become more rounded as a batsman. I think he is no longer just a death-over batsman, I think he has the ability to bat in the middle-overs as well.”
There has been extra scrutiny on Pandya’s batting, for he has not bowled all-season due to him still recovering from the back injury he sustained close to a year ago. Many believe Pandya not bowling has hurt Mumbai, but according to Ajit Agarkar, Mumbai’s losses have been down to their poor execution. The former Indian pacer, however, admitted that Pandya bowling would be a ‘huge bonus’ for Rohit Sharma’s side.
“I don’t think if it’s hurting Mumbai, I think Mumbai haven’t played well enough. I think Mumbai still have the resources to get the job done. The two losses that they had, they just haven’t played well enough. So I don’t think Pandya not bowling has hurt Mumbai, but that’s a huge bonus if he can start bowling. That gives them another option and then he becomes a genuine all-rounder,” Agarkar said on the same show.
Heading into Mumbai’s clash versus Kings XI Punjab on Thursday, there will be eyes on Sheldon Cottrell, who was astoundingly hit for five sixes in one over in Sharjah, last week, by overnight hero Rahul Tewatia. When asked if Punjab should get rid of Cottrell or not bowl him at the death, both Dasgupta and Agarkar ran to the defense of the left-arm-seamer and claimed that it would be a grave injustice to judge him by a single over.
“You have designated bowlers to bowl in the death overs. And let’s be honest, the bowlers will go for a few - this is the nature of the format. So you can’t be holding it against your main bowlers. A lot of bowlers have gone for runs in the death overs in this tournament. Punjab got rid of Chris Jordan after the very first game, now there’s talk about getting rid of Sheldon Cottrell. If this is how they plan, soon they will be running out of bowlers to bowl in the death,” Dasgupta said.
“Bumrah has been hit for four sixes by Cummins, so those things happen. You cannot drop a player based on one over. He is one of your main bowlers. There might be a case where if he’s going well up-front, you’ll want to bowl 3 overs, but you’ll always want to keep one over handy. There will always be the option to bring him in the middle, too, if need be. One over shouldn’t stand against him,” opined Agarkar.