Former West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard calls time on his Indian Premier League (IPL) career after 13 seasons with the Mumbai Indians (MI). However, he will take up the role of batting coach of MI and will continue as a player for their ILT20 (International League T20) side MI Emirates. Pollard leaves MI as the most successful franchise in the IPL.
Pollard who was roped in by MI in 2010 INR 3.42 crore was retained by the franchise ahead of the last season for INR 6 crore. In his very first season, he helped MI make the semi-final and struck a player of the match-winning 13-ball 33 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and followed his effort up with three wickets as well. MI however, lost the final to Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
In the years to follow, Pollard went on to become one of the key members of the franchise, and the trophies began to follow with them wining the Champions League T20 in 2011, beating RCB. Two years later in 2013, MI became only the second IPL team after CSK to win the double of IPL and CLT20, which marked the beginning of Rohit Sharma's emergence as captain.
Along with Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah and the Pandya brothers, MI found an able core around which they built a team and tasted success. With Hardik and Krunal Pandya moving on last year and Pollard not firing, the five-time winners finished rock bottom in the IPL points table.
"It hasn't been the easiest decision to make as I intend to keep playing for a few more years, but following discussions with Mumbai Indians I have decided to call time on my IPL career," Pollard wrote on social media bidding adieu to the IPL.
"I understand that this incredible franchise which has achieved so much needs to transition and if I'm no longer to play for MI then I cannot see myself playing against MI either. 'Once an MI always an MI'.
"This is not an emotional goodbye to MI however as I have agreed to take up the role of batting coach in the IPL as well as play with MI Emirates. This next chapter of my career is genuinely exciting and allows me to transition myself too from playing to coaching.
"I am immensely proud, honoured and blessed to have represented the biggest and most successful team in the IPL for the past 13 seasons. It was always an aspiration to play for this fantastic team and although I will miss the buzz of the IPL you get as a player, I take comfort in knowing that I have been fortunate enough to have played with some of the best players in the world in front of our passionate fans.
"I have always felt and appreciated their unconditional support both on and off the field. Together, we won the Champions League in 2011 and 2013 and the IPL in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.
"I must give big thanks to the Coaches, Managers and other backroom support staff we have had at Mumbai Indians and who I now join. We would not have achieved the success over the years without their continuing hard work dedication and commitment to creating the best environment and I look forward to emulating their successful approach.
"In particular I would like to pay special tribute to my good friend Robin Singh for his sound advice and guidance over the years and whose very shoes I now fill.
"Most sincerely, I express my deep appreciation to Mukesh, Nita and Akash Ambani for their tremendous love, support and respect I have always felt and for the confidence they placed in me. I recall our first encounter when they welcomed me with open arms saying. "We are family". Those were not just mere words, but demonstrated by their every action throughout my time with Mumbai Indians.
"Lastly, I would like to say a special thank you to my friends and family especially my wife Jenna and my three beautiful children for all the love, support and the many sacrifices they have made over the years and will continue to make to allow me to fulfil my childhood dream of playing cricket at the highest levels for such a long time.
"Today make this step with hope and excitement towards the " future knowing that I will be playing a role in an institution, whose values align so closely to mine, where "We are family"."
Known to be one of the most destructive batters in the world, Pollard played 189 games for MI in the IPL, in which he scored 3,412 runs at a strike-rate of 147.32 since starting off in 2010. His medium-pacers fetched him 69 wickets at 31.59.
He was appointed West Indies' ODI and T20I captain in 2019, replacing Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite respectively after the side fared poorly in the 2019 World Cup. He held on to that position till he retired from international cricket in April 2022.
With 11,915 runs to his name, Pollard is the highest run-getter in T20 cricket after compatriot Chris Gayle, who has over 14,500 runs to his name. Pollard has also picked up 309 wickets at 25.22, striking once every 18.4 deliveries.