Estwick urges Pooran to separate batting from captaincy
POORAN...the 26-year-old was recently appointed to lead the squad following the abrupt retirement of close friend and fellow Trinidadian Kieron Pollard (Photo: Observer file)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick has urged new white-ball captain Nicholas Pooran to separate his leadership role from that of batsman, in order to ensure he has a clear focus in the upcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against the Netherlands and Pakistan.

The 26-year-old was recently appointed to lead the squad following the abrupt retirement of close friend and fellow Trinidadian Kieron Pollard last month.

Pooran is also one of the white-ball unit’s leading batsmen, a role Estwick said he did not want compromised by the player’s leadership responsibilities.

“You have meetings, you have discussions about every [opposing] batsman, about their strengths and weaknesses and the captain will set fields accordingly. Then, it’s up to the player to go execute [the team’s plans],” said Estwick.

“In batting, you would know your role so you go out and you bat and do your job.

Newly appointed West Indies white-ball skipper, Nicholas Pooran.

“When Pooran is batting, he’s not captain — that’s going to be one of his biggest challenges. When he’s batting, he has to think like a batsman.

“He has to put the team first to make sure that he too is also executing the game plan and not try to captain when he’s batting.

“You leave the captaincy when he’s on the field and when he’s batting, he’ll get the information that’s relayed to him as well so he just has to execute what he’s supposed to do.”

Pooran leads a relatively inexperienced squad on both tours with marquee all-rounder Jason Holder rested, Shimron Hetmyer unavailable and Evin Lewis not considered for selection after failing a fitness test.

T20 superstars Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are also missing.

And though Pooran will not have the luxury of leaning on experienced players for advice, Estwick believes it affords him the opportunity to put his unique mark on the captaincy role.

“Obviously Jason will be sorely missed, for his experience, for his skill, for his knowledge, for someone of that ability. Any team that loses a player of Jason’s ability will miss him,” Estwick pointed out.

“But it gives Pooran a chance to forge his own identity as well, with the senior players not around.

“Obviously there are still players who’ve been playing for a while. You’ve got Shai Hope as his vice-captain. Shai Hope has been around for a very long time so he has Shai that he can lean on.

“But at the end of the day, the decision making falls with Pooran and it’s up to players to execute their skills.”

Of the 15-man squad, only Hope with 89 matches has played more than 50 ODIs. Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has played 43 and Pooran, 37, but no other player has featured in as many as 20 ODIs.

Further, the squad includes three uncapped players in Jayden Seales and Shermon Lewis — both of whom have already made their Test debuts — along with Keacy Carty.

Estwick said the plethora of inexperienced players meant there were opportunities on both tours for players to stake their claims.

“I always believe that opportunities are never missed — they’re only grabbed by someone else,” he explained.

“So it’s a chance for someone like Keacy Carty, someone like Nkrumah Bonner — people like that to really grasp the opportunity.

“You’ve been given the opportunity to be selected for the two tours — Holland and also Pakistan — so it’s up to you to grab the opportunity with both hands when it arrives.

“Make sure you prepare properly, make sure you’re ready and if selected, be ready to go out there and execute tour skills because obviously the selectors are seeing something in you, they believe in what you’re doing, they believe in the talent that you’ve got.”

The three-match series against the Netherlands runs from May 31 to June 4 in Amstelveen while the three-match tour of Pakistan will be played June 8-12 in Rawalpindi.

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