Sep 05, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

Did you see the cricket match between the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots and the Barbados Tridents on Sunday night? If you did, what do you make of what the Barbados captain, Kieron Pollard did? Humans should never stoop to such mean-spirited levels. Pollard was never on my list of a hundred cricketers I admire for open-mindedness in sports and after last Sunday, he would never get my admiration.

The performance of the opening batsman for the Patriots, Evin Lewis, effected one of the greatest acts in cricket you could ever see. Patriots needed one run to win and Evans, who was facing the bowling, needed three runs to achieve one of the most brilliant and phenomenal centuries in all T20 cricket. His 97 came off of 31 balls. Had he hit that ball for three runs or more, it would have been one of the most remarkable achievements you would have ever seen from a batsman; it contained eleven sixes. He would have become number two, after Chris Gayle, in terms of the fastest century in the history of T20 cricket anywhere.

Needing just one run to win, Pollard bowled a no-ball, by stepping over the crease and bowling the ball way above waist height, which meant the game had come to an end, since a no-ball is given as a run and that gave the Patriots victory. The commentators didn’t hide their displeasure. One of them was subtle in his comments. He said Pollard hardly ever bowls a no-ball.

freddie-kissoon-300x273What made you think it was deliberate was because he bowled a double whammy. He stepped over the crease and sent the ball above the head of the batsman. Pollard was smart. If the umpire did not call the no-ball for over-stepping, he  still had to because Pollard sent the ball way above Lewis’ head, making sure the umpire saw the no-ball from that other angle. And making sure the ball was out of the reach of Lewis.

Ian Bishop, interviewing Lewis asked him how he felt at not making the century. The batsman said it hurt. The cricket site, ESPNcricinfo, put it this way; “It may be the one record that wasn’t set which ended the game on a sour note. Lewis was on 97 off 31 balls when he took strike at the start of the eighth over on strike, with the scores level. Needing a boundary to record the fastest hundred in CPL history and the second fastest in all T20 cricket, he was denied the opportunity to do so. Kieron Pollard reprised the infamous delivery sent down by Suraj Randiv to Virender Sehwag in an ODI between Sri Lanka and India in 2010.”

It is my unshakeable belief that Pollard did what he did intentionally. I am not a frenetic lover of sports. I take a layman’s interest mostly in cricket (I hate boxing and think it should be banned; it is a throwback to Roman gladiatorial violence among slaves). But what Pollard did I found disgusting, though I am not surprised. Humans never fail to behave like lower animals. If this man could behave like this in a game of cricket, what would he do in more important endeavours in life? There are frightening dimensions to Pollard’s action. The win by the Patriots holds no value for Pollard. His team had already lost and was out of the competition, so denying Lewis his victory had no importance for Barbados. Why then deny the man his glory?

Secondly, if Lewis had achieved his landmark, history would have been created, because his century would have been the fastest in the history of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Now things have to be contextualized here. You can deny a player of any kind of sports a piece of history if it means that your team has a chance of winning. If Lewis was on 99 and Barbados could still win if Lewis got out, then logically Pollard should deny him that one run. Cricket has seen that scenario before. Don Bradman needed 4 runs to end his career at an average of 100. He was out for duck. The game was in a competitive state so there was no reason to give Bradman the four.  This wasn’t the case with Barbados versus St. Kitts and Nevis last Sunday.

Pollard should not have denied the man his place in history. I think Pollard deserves our condemnation. He played the game in a mean-spirited way. This is not the way sports should be carried on in the field of play. Once he leads Barbados in the CPL, I will neither watch nor support Barbados.