Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma defended his teammate Kieron Pollard and said the ugly spat involving the West Indian and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Mitchell Starc happened in the heat of the moment and won’t be repeated.
The incident took place on May 6.
“We all have spoken to him. I thought whatever happened, happened in the heat of the game. Nobody wants to ruin the spirit of the game. It happened and we have spoken about it and we have to move forward now,” Sharma said on the eve of the IPL defending champions’ clash against two-time former winners Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.
“Pollard, we know is an aggressive player. He didn’t do anything purposely. As a captain it was my duty to explain or tell him what sort of behaviour you should have on field. We have had a word with him and he is okay with that. Hopefully he will not repeat such mistakes,” he told reporters.
The incident referred to was Pollard charging with the bat at Australian left-arm pacer Starc after the latter delivered the ball to him despite the batsman having backed off from the crease.
It was a despicable incident as Pollard had advanced menacingly at Starc before throwing his bat which, luckily, hit the turf well away from the bowler.
Starc was fined 50 per cent of his match fees while Pollard was fined 75 per cent.
On Saturday’s game against formidable rivals Chennai, Sharma said it will be a very intense contest between two top sides.
“We want to take this as another game. We don’t want to think too much about the opposition. We have played them so
many times. We played against them in Dubai. We know what is their strength, what they don’t like to do on the field. We know all those things and we are going to discuss that.
“It is a very important game. They have got some match winners. So it is going to be a great contest between these two teams. Last time they were here, we beat them comprehensively. So we will try and do that again. Obviously it is a different team from what we had last year, so is their team,” he said.
The 27-year old has had problems due to the slow over rate maintained by his side and he was fined Rs 24 lakh after the last match against RCB, the team’s second over-rate offence, and will miss a match for a subsequent over-rate offence plus a cash penalty.
“At the end of the day we are playing professional cricket. Everyone should realise that. We cannot be giving any excuses when it comes to slow over rate. It is common sense, simple basic things, which needs to be remembered while you are on the field. After every over you need to run, get back to your position, which I think we are not doing.
“Last match because of the dew also, we took some time. The ball was getting wet and it was difficult for the bowlers so we had to wipe it and that was taking little time. But no excuses, we want to make sure that we are on time. We want to be a professional unit when it comes to all this.
“We have already spoken about it, what we need to do and guys will take responsibility on the field. We have told everyone to captain themselves on the field and to understand where to stand and get back to their positions. So hopefully we will try and do that,” he said.
The Mumbai batsman said he is pleased that the batting and bowling departments have both been doing well since they returned from UAE, where they lost five matches on the trot.
“As a captain you look forward to get a big performance whether it is batting or bowling. We were bowling really well in Dubai, batting wasn’t clicking but since we have got back to India, both the departments have been doing really well.
“Especially the last game (against RCB) the bowlers did a very good job. Although the score was 187 to defend I thought it wasn’t easy because there was too much dew on the field. It wasn’t easy for bowlers to grip the ball. (Jasprit) Bumrah and Pawan (Suyal) bowled really well. Those wickets in the middle cost them the game,” he said.
He also praised senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and said, “He is someone we look forward to. It is pleasing to see that he is trying for wickets. We expect a lot and he is delivering. He is flighting the ball which is good to see.”