Sydney, Feb.5 (ANI): He was a player no one wanted, but now is the hottest star in Twenty20.
West Indian Kieron Pollard still maintains some old-fashioned values that many traditionalists would find hard to reconcile.
Pollard, a batting all-rounder who has yet to play a Test, and averages just 11.30 in one-dayers and 17.20 in Twenty20s for his country, is already a multimillionaire thanks to the evolution of domestic tournaments offering never-before-seen riches.
For a boy who grew up in a poor home in Tacarigua, Trinidad, raised by a single mother alongside two younger sisters, this new world presents him with an opportunity.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Pollard, 22, now wants to ensure his newborn son Kaiden never suffers the hunger he experienced and that his mother is rewarded for her toil.
"My upbringing, I wasn't from a wealthy family. For me, getting afforded the opportunity to play cricket, and being able to make a lot of money, that drives me you know, because you don't want to end up in that situation again," Pollard said.
"You have family, I have started my own family as well, so it's a matter of me trying to work hard enough to provide for my family so they won't have to go through what I went through when I was growing up, so that's my drive to try to perform and succeed at the highest level," he added.
"It was pretty tough, it wasn't ideal getting up and your mum say 'We only have X amount of money'. It was pretty hard growing up, and we had a lot of sacrifices to make in order to play cricket, because cricket is an expensive game, all the equipment and getting sponsors. Now, that I'm successful, it's easy to get a sponsor but growing up in the ranks nobody knew what you needed at that point, so it was pretty hard," Pollard said.
"My aim is to repay her (mum) and give her the best possible life. She is getting older, so I want to give her the best possible retirement life she could have," the West Indian said.
Critics argue that he doesn't deserve such wealth, having achieved little on the international stage, but Pollard's efforts in the Champions League and Australia's Big Bash have made him the most sought-after Twenty20 player in the world.
That was confirmed when he attracted a bid of 1.75 million dollars from Mumbai for the Indian Premier League last month, shattering the record of 1.55 million dollars given to the English superstar duo of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff for last year's competition.
Pollard collects only 750,000 dollars of that figure because it was the maximum cap set for the auction, while the Indian board cashed in the extra one million dollars from silent bidding, but nevertheless his astronomical price places him in unchartered territory.
Pollard also collected a million dollars by featuring in the Stanford All Stars match against England two years ago, taking Flintoff's wicket in the victory, and has beefed up his earnings by playing for South Australia in the Big Bash and signing for Somerset in England's Twenty20 Cup. He is the only player in the world playing in domestic leagues on four different continents.
It is the IPL deal, however, that has solidified his status as the world's premier shortest-format specialist.
From an unknown 12 months ago, Pollard has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence but says that hasn't changed him. He is well aware of the game's pitfalls, having been plucked from obscurity aged 18 to play for the West Indies in the 2007 World Cup, but then dropped after one match. (ANI)