England are set to appoint Kieron Pollard as a consultant coach for the Twenty20 World Cup.
Pollard, who is 36 and remains an active player, has enjoyed an extraordinary T20 career, winning five Indian Premier League titles and the 2012 T20 World Cup. He is the most experienced player in T20 history, playing 637 matches in the format and is renowned as one of the shrewdest thinkers in the game.
Pollard also brings intimate knowledge of conditions in West Indies. The Trinidadian will help England to assess the pitches in the T20 World Cup, which begins on June 4. He will play a similar role to Mike Hussey, the former Australian batsman, in the 2022 T20 World Cup victory.
During England’s torrid ODI World Cup defence in India, the team did not bring in a local expert. Rob Key, the managing director, later blamed himself for not appointing such a figure, highlighting the decision to bowl first in Mumbai against South Africa when England conceded 399.
“I hold myself accountable for a lot of it really,” Key said last month. “I’ve set up a coaching team that had no local experience, really. Actually someone who knows these conditions really well says, ‘By the way, it’s hotter than the sun out there; make sure you have a bat’. We got so caught up in what was going to happen five or six hours down the line.”
The appointment will allow Pollard to reunite with his former team-mate and England captain Jos Buttler. In 2010 and 2011, Pollard played alongside Buttler for Somerset. Buttler later shared a dressing room with Pollard at Mumbai Indians and has spoken about how West Indies’ approach to T20 has shaped his own method.
“I heard a few guys talk about it like, ‘There’s eight overs left, if we hit five sixes in that time, we’ll win the game’,” Buttler has said. “It’s just a different way of thinking.”
Pollard has been seen in the team hotel in Trinidad in recent days as England played the final two matches of their five-game T20 series against West Indies, which they lost 3-2.
While Pollard is still playing in some T20 leagues, he retired from the Indian Premier League before the 2023 tournament to become batting coach for Mumbai Indians. At the franchise he also worked alongside Jofra Archer.
Pollard’s involvement with England is initially expected to be just for the T20 World Cup. But if the partnership proves fruitful, he might yet be enlisted to work with the side again in the future.