We showed we're fighting - Kieron Pollard - SportsGuru

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Monday, December 23, 2019

We showed we're fighting - Kieron Pollard

In the end, India won the ODI in Cuttack and the three-match series. It shouldn't have been surprising, given that India were overwhelming favorites at the start of the series. But for the second winter in a row, the touring West Indies have stretched the Virat Kohli-led side to the final match of the series to decide the winner in the 50-over format. This time, the stretch was even further, with the fate decided only in the penultimate over of the clash on Sunday (December 22).

Despite the defeat, what would have been thrilling for the West Indies is that the young group of cricketers, playing with their quintessential flair, put their hands up at important times and left a mark in the series, and lots of promise for the future. The list ranges wide: Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Keemo Paul, Shimron Hetmyer and Sheldon Cottrell - all laying a possible foundation of a hopeful revival of West Indies' ODI cricket.

"We're definitely building," Pooran said at the end of the third ODI. "India is definitely one of the strongest teams in the world and they proved that again today. We came here and we showed fight. We could have won the T20I series and even this series. It showed that they're one of the best teams and it showed that we're fighting. There are better things to come, but we're taking it day by day and eventually, we will get to where we want to."

Kieron Pollard, the West Indies skipper, too echoed the views of his teammate and said, "I don't think there is much to be disappointed actually. I'm very very proud of the guys and yes we faltered a bit with the ball and in the field, but India yet again pushed us hard and showed why there is the number one team in the world.

"[There are] Lots of exciting talent in our team and we all know what they are capable of. Hetmyer had a good couple of knocks, Pooran and his superb ball striking, Hope and his consistency and the salute guy Cottrell, I believe there is lot to look forward in the future. For me it's trying to contribute when its necessary and its been a good series for both teams."

In the final match of the series, it was Pooran who stroked a 64-ball 89 and laid the foundation of West Indies' 315 after they were reeling at 144 for 4 in the 32nd over of their innings. The rebuilding took place in company of Pollard, who himself went on to stroke a half-century - an unbeaten 51-ball 74, which included a assault in the late overs. The duo stitched together a 135-run stand for the fifth wicket, in only 16.2 overs to further accentuate India's woes in the middle overs.

He's been like a big brother, a father figure to me," Pooran said in praise of Pollard. "He's been there [for me] since I returned to cricket from the accident. He gave me an opportunity, which I am thankful for. We know each other really well and we're good friends on and off the field. So we complement each other while batting. We play for the same club and same franchise back home. So, it's [about] understanding the wicket, the situation of the game and just execute the skills."

"Polly [Pollard] obviously is stronger to the spinners, so we allow him to attack a little bit [against them]," Pooran said of West Indies' game plan at the post-match press conference. "Against the pacers, I try to play a little more shots against them. It worked out today and we're happy that it worked out that way."

315 didn't prove enough on the day, almost, especially with India's top three firing yet again, with dew also helping India's cause in the run-chase. That West Indies could keep up the fight all along in the series is in itself a positive enough for Pollard & Co. and that would help them leave the Indian shores as happier unit, in realisation of their true potential.

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