Just days after Sir Vivian Richards questioned selectors’ reluctance to consider Nicholas Pooran for Test cricket, two former internationals have raved about his exceptional talent. This comes after another stunning performance by Pooran in white ball cricket.
The gifted left-hander smashed his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) half-century in a losing effort today as his Kings XI Punjab suffered a batting meltdown to crash to a heavy 69-run defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left-hander hit a sparkling 77 off 37 deliveries but Kings XI still failed in their quest to overhaul 202 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, ending on 132 all out with 19 balls to spare.
Despite the loss, Pooran was the talk of the town with former Australian international and now cricket commentator Tom Moody gushing over his quality. Moody, has been watching Pooran for a number of years in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and in the IPL and believes the batsman has an exciting future ahead of him.
“I don’t think there are better strikers of the ball in world cricket than Nicholas Pooran,” said Moody while speaking on T20 Timeout.
“He times the ball. He has got a wonderful bat swing. It’s a bit like Yuvraj Singh’s bat swing. It’s very long and elegant one that not only possesses a huge amount of power but incredible timing, hits the ball a long, long way and he seems to do it for fun.”
The former all-rounder continued: “I think this is just the beginning of an exciting number of years for Nicholas Pooran in IPL cricket and cricket outside the IPL.”
Former Indian allrounder and cricket commentator Ajit Agarkar was similar impressed. “Those sixes were massive sixes,” he said. “Just beautiful timing every time he hits the ball, pace and spin, it’s not one or the other, and just bats beautifully,” he said.
Pooran smashed four sixes and a four in one over that went for 28. He slammed the fourth ball over long off for the third six in the over that brought up his 50 in just 17 balls, the fastest so far this season. In all he carted seven massive sixes and five fours.
Pooran was one of just three batsmen in double figures and the only one to pass 11. Afghan leg-spinning sensation Rashid Khan, who turned out for Barbados Tridents in the recent Caribbean Premier League, helped rip the innings apart with three for 12 from four excellent overs.
Earlier, Englishman Jonny Bairstow had agonisingly missed out on three figures when he fell for 97, putting on 160 for the first wicket with Australian David Warner who made 52. Ironically, while West Indies selectors have dithered on Pooran, Australian selectors selected Warner as a T20 specialist and he has become one of the premier batsman in world cricket. Pooran has previously indicated his desire to play the longest format of the game.
Opting to bat first, Hyderabad were propelled by Bairstow who stuck seven fours and half-dozen sixes off 55 deliveries and Warner, who counted five fours and a six in a 40-ball supporting knock.
They both eventually fell in the 16th over to 20-year-old leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (3-29) and Sunrisers then lost six wickets for 41 runs in the last five overs.
West Indies left-arm speedster, Sheldon Cottrell, went wicketless in three overs which cost 33 runs.
In reply, Kings XI were tottering on 31 for two in the fifth over until Pooran arrived at number four to attempt a rescue mission.
The Trinidadian, who celebrated his 25th birthday a week ago, dominated a 47-run, fourth wicket stand with Australian Glenn Maxwell (7), keeping Kings XI in the hunt at the half-way stage on 96 for three.
Pooran exploded in the ninth over of the innings sent down by leg-spinner Abdul Samad, smashing the 18-year-old for those 28 runs.
However, once Maxwell departed at the end of the 11th over, Kings XI lost their last seven wickets swiftly for just 27 runs in the space of 35 balls.
Pooran was the seventh to fall in the 15th over, caught at backward point off Rashid Khan, with Kings XI all but out of contention.