New Delhi: One of the most accomplished names in T20 cricket, Kieron Pollard, Tuesday called time on his IPL playing career after 13 seasons with league giants Mumbai Indians.
The 35-year-old wanted to carry on playing for a few more years but decided to retire from IPL after discussion with the five-time champions.
Pollard, who has 3412 IPL runs in 189 matches, had made his MI debut back in 2010. However, his strong association with the franchise remains as he will be the team’s new batting coach.
“It hasn’t been the easiest decision to make as I intend to keep playing for a few more years, but following discussions with Mumbai Indians have decided to call time on my IPL career,” said Pollard in a statement.
“I understand that this incredible franchise which has achieved so much needs to transition and if I’m no longer to play for MI then I cannot see myself playing against MI either.’Once an MI always an MI”.
Pollard, however, will be playing for MI-owned franchise in the inaugural International League T20 in the United Arab Emirates.
“This is not an emotional goodbye to MI however as I have agreed to take up the role of batting coach in the IPL as well as play with MI Emirates.
“This next chapter of my career is genuinely exciting and allows me to transition myself too from playing to coaching. I am immensely proud, honoured and blessed to have represented the biggest and most successful team in the IPL for the past 13 seasons.
“It was always an aspiration to play for this fantastic team and although I will miss the buzz of the IPL you get as a player, I take comfort in knowing that I have been fortunate enough to have played with some of the best players in the world in front of our passionate fans.”
Besides five IPL titles, Pollard also helped MI win two Champions League titles in 2011 and 2013. At MI, he will replace Robin Singh as batting coach.
“I must give big thanks to the Coaches, Managers and other backroom support staff we have had at Mumbai Indians and who I now join.
“We would not have achieved the success over the years without their continuing hard work, dedication and commitment to creating the best environment and look forward to emulating their successful approach.”
“In particular I would like to pay special tribute to my good friend Robin Singh for his sound advice and guidance over the years and whose very shoes I now fill,” said Pollard, who also thanked the Ambani family for their tremendous “love, support and respect”.
“Today I make this step with hope and excitement towards the future knowing that I will be playing a role in an institution, whose values align so closely to mine, where ‘We are family’,” added Pollard.
The other IPL stars who have represented one franchise include Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Sunil Narine and Lasith Malinga.
As MI finished last earlier this year, it became clear that the most successful IPL franchise needed a change in direction.
Pollard too had an ordinary season, managing 144 runs in 11 games.