Mumbai Indians take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in a crucial encounter at the Wankhede Stadium Saturday evening and Kieron Pollard, one of the team's go-to man in crunch situations, is banking on support from none other than the Master himself, Sachin Tendulkar. Having not had too many chances to impress with the bat and being underwhelming with the ball in the Indian Premier League 2013 edition thus far, the giant West Indian seeks nothing less than such 'experienced' company.
Pollard, in awe of Tendulkar, says any word on cricket from the legend, is worth its weight in gold.
"What's amazing about Sachin is that he has been able to play at the highest level for so long. His body has kept up with him and the drive has not dimmed at all. I take heed of what he says -- a guy with so much experience, he knows what he is talking about," Pollard wrote in his column on WisdenIndia website.
Mumbai began their IPL 2013 journey with a narrow loss away to Bangalore and have had a rollercoaster of a ride ever since. They have won four of their seven games -- still unbeatable at home while garnering away wins against last year's finalists (Chennai and Kolkata). Touted as tournament favourites early on, though, they still have to match the consistency of a top side. Pollard too, believes that it is the result that matters in the end.
"We started with a loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore but then we built momentum with some wins. At the moment, as when we began the season, we expect to be in the top four, but that counts for nothing. It's about the performance on the field and doing everything that's necessary to win. What we need now is to win a couple of games and get a streak going," goes on Pollard.
For the burly all-rounder, it has not been the best of starts to IPL so far. His bowling has been not up to the standards, going for plenty in most of the games. And apart from the match against CSK, where his 38-ball-57 gave MI a nine-run win, his batting too has not been a great worry for the opposition. One argument could definitely be the form of Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma, which has kept Mumbai from promoting Pollard but the dasher himself remains unflustered.
"People often ask if I would prefer to bat higher up the order. In any situation I've been put into, I give my best at that point in time. When I'm given the ball, I try to take wickets and whenever I get a chance to bat, I try and score as many runs as possible as quickly as possible. It's not really about where I bat, it's about what's best for the team," said Pollard.
Going by the win against Kolkata in their previous match, Mumbai will be on a high and they will need all that confidence and more to face Bangalore, who are top of the charts and looking impressive at the moment. Enough has been written and said about Chris Gayle's blistering knock that floored Pune Warriors and Pollard too feels that getting him out early will be of utmost necessity for Mumbai.
"While it's great to have a couple of legends as teammates, it's mildly frightening to see how Chris Gayle is going at the moment, given that we play RCB next. What he did to the Pune Warriors was just unreasonable. He'll be brimming with confidence and we'll have to try and get some sort of ammunition, some sort of plan, to get him out so that we won't have to suffer that sort of onslaught. I did send him a text message, but he's probably still soaking in the celebrations, enjoying the moment, as he should be," writes Pollard.