Pollard urges players to focus on fitness

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West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard says players should use the break from competition, prompted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, to reflect on their careers and how they can do better.

While acknowledging the health, economic and other implications of the spread of the virus which has reached the Caribbean and prompted the cancellation and postponement of several sporting events, Pollard said there was a silver lining in the situation for cricketers.

“It is a good time for introspection, a good time for reflection, a good time to look at where you are as an individual in your career and what you want to achieve going forward,” he said on I955 FM’s ISports radio show recently.

“You have to take this time in order to do that and also keep yourself in good physical shape, and mentally as well, because when the bell rings and they say ‘ok, everything is back to normal and we need to go on tour’, it might not be enough time to be prepared but you as an individual have to be prepared mentally in order for you to try to perform at your best.”

Cricket West Indies (CWI) recently announced that given the confirmed cases of COVID-10 in the region, the season has been delayed for 30 days. That suspension took effect on Monday.

The decision affected the final two rounds of the West Indies Championship, the Women’s CMI Super 50 Cup in Guyana, and two youth tournaments – the Regional Under-15 boys’ Championship in Antigua and the Regional Under-19 girls’ Championship in Trinidad.

The Caribbean men were to play a three-Test series from June 4, following warm-up matches against England Lions and Worcestershire on May 22 and 28, respectively.

Pollard said cricketers, particularly those who have fallen short of CWI requirements, should use the forced break to focus on fitness.

Last month, left-handed opening batsman Evin Lewis and strokemaker Shimron Hetmyer were dropped from the West Indies squad for the One-Day International series in Sri Lanka after they failed to meet CWI’s new minimum fitness standard.

Hetmyer subsequently got a call up to play against Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 Internationals, but 28-year-old Lewis remains on the outside. While CWI’s requirements have been criticised, Pollard stressed the importance of maintaining fitness.

“In anything that you do there are rules and regulations and there are certain criteria that need to be met at different times in order for you to perform your rule. Some of us are looking at a small point of view of some guys being left out because of just fitness…

“But as a professional you want to be fit, you want to be able to perform at the optimal level,” said the 32-year-old skipper. (CMC)

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