Mumbai: Charismatic West Indies cricketer Kieron Pollard has announced his retirement from playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Mumbai Indians, but will don the role of batting coach for the most successful franchise in the lucrative T20 tournament.
A statement issued by Mumbai Indians said, Pollard is "one of the pillars" of the five-time IPL champions and he would be "hanging up his boots" after playing for franchise for 13 seasons.
"Kieron Pollard is hanging up his boots after playing for MI for 13 seasons but will continue with the MI family in his new role as batting coach. A one-club man, adorning the Blue and Gold, Pollard signed in 2010 for Mumbai Indians and has since become one of the greatest players of this generation, picking up 5 IPL and 2 champions league trophies with Mumbai Indians.
"Pollard is and will continue to always be at #MIForever and will use his decades of experience and skill to strengthen Mumbai Indians as a batting coach and as a player with MI Emirates," said the statement.
Mumbai Indians owner, Nita. M. Ambani, said, "For me, Pollard has exemplified what Mumbai Indians stand for -- Khelenge Dil Khol Ke! Right from Season 3, we have shared joy, sweat, and tears -- those powerful emotions that forge lifelong bonds on and off the field. He has played an important role in the success of MI and been a part of the winning side for both our Champions League trophies and all 5 IPL wins. We will miss seeing his magic on the field for MI, but I'm delighted that he will continue to play for MI Emirates, and also mentor young players as the batting coach for MI.
"May his new journey with MI and MI Emirates bring him even greater glory, triumph, and fulfilment. I wish him all the very best!" she added.
Akash Ambani, said, "Polly (Pollard) leaves behind a huge legacy as a player with Mumbai Indians. Fans roared every time he took to the field. A valued member of the MI family and a great friend, he played the beautiful game of cricket with utmost commitment and passion all through his IPL career with us. Pleased to have Polly continue to be a part of the MI Family as a batting coach for Mumbai Indians and as player with MI Emirates.
"We believe, Polly will be as dynamic and impactful as a coach, just like the way he was, when he took to the field for us. His insights will be invaluable to the team, though the Mumbai Indians, Wankhede Stadium and the Paltan will miss him play on the field," added Akash.
Pollard said retiring from the IPL as a player was a tough decision to make.
"It hasn't been the easiest decision to make as I will keep playing for a few more years, but 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. I am immensely proud, honoured and blessed to have represented the biggest and most successful team in the IPL for the past 13 seasons.
"Most sincerely, I express my deep appreciation to Mukesh, Nita and Akash Ambani for their tremendous love, support and respect I have always felt and for the confidence they placed in me. I recall our first encounter when they welcomed me with open arms saying, "We are family". Those were not just mere words, but demonstrated by their every action throughout my time with Mumbai Indians," added Pollard. IANS