COACH of St Lucia Stars Brad Hodge believes Kieron Pollard is eager to bring some much needed success to the franchise, having taking over from long-standing captain Darren Sammy for this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
The sixth edition of the tournament will start tomorrow when the Stars face defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, from 8 pm.
Pollard – a Trinidadian – is a former captain of the Barbados Tridents but will be making his debut for the struggling Stars who are the only current CPL team to never make a final.
Hodge said the team has welcomed Pollard as captain, and said their new leader is also looking forward to the challenge.
“He (Pollard) is super excited about trying to bring some success to this franchise and do well. He is a good leader, he is a strong leader, a good motivator on the field, so there is no reason why everyone should not get behind his leadership and follow exactly what he does in T20,” Hodge said.
Pollard has the experience of leading a CPL team to victory after guiding the Tridents to the CPL title in 2014. Among the other top players on the Stars squad are Australian David Warner, Sri Lankan Niroshan Dickwella, Mitchell McClenaghan of New Zealand and West Indies players Sammy, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams and Lendl Simmons.
Asked if the Stars want to spoil the TKR party tomorrow night, Hodge said, “We hope so. Probably one of the more difficult challenges is facing the Knight Riders on their home ground. We are confident, we got some match winners to be able to pull off a decent performance. We got some powerful players in our side and a stack full of match winners, so there is no reason on any day we can’t perform and do well.”
The Stars, formerly called the St Lucia Zouks, have had a rough time since the CPL started in 2013 as they have never finished in the top three.
Hodge is counting on the TT pair of Pollard and Simmons to lead from the front as they are familiar with the conditions at the Oval.
The Australian said, “They know the conditions well so we are hoping that they will give us an insight into the Queen’s Park Oval and spread that local knowledge to the other players and hopefully it works in our favour.” The Stars coach says taking the captaincy away from Sammy may work in his favour as he will have less weight on his shoulders.
“He (Sammy) is just going to enjoy himself and have fun. Sometimes it is nice to get rid of that burden of leadership and just go out and enjoy your cricket for what it is. I am positive that Darren will enjoy his time with the Stars this year.”
Hodge wants his team to forget about the past tournaments and look ahead. “I think they just need to forget the past and put that to bed and concentrate on what they can achieve in the future. It is a whole different squad, so it is something new, something fresh,” Hodge said.