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Dynamic Trinidadian wicketkeeper batsman Nicholas Pooran is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in world cricket.
In 2020, Pooran will return to Emerald Headingley for a second spell of Vitality Blast cricket, but thankfully for a much longer spell having only represented the Vikings three times in 2019.
Pooran, 24, is closing in on 50 appearances at international level across one-day and T20 cricket, with a best of 118 in a 2019 one-day World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Durham.
Despite his limited international appearances, he has extensive experience in the domestic leagues around the world, including the Indian Premier League.
Pooran is an aggressive batsman – one who finds and clears the ropes with a languid, eye-catching style in keeping with the calypso reputation that follows West Indian Cricket.
In late 2018, he was the top-scorer in the T10 League in the UAE, scoring 324 runs from nine matches for champions Northern Warriors, impressing Yorkshire team-mates to be Adam Lyth and David Willey, who played against him in that competition.
Pooran made his T20 debut in the 2013 Caribbean Premier League for Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, his first of 125 career T20s to date. Red Steel were beaten finalists that year, but they qualified for the subsequent Champions League event.
He has since moved to play for Barbados Tridents in the CPL, also featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League, the Pakistan Super League and the IPL, making seven appearances for Kings XI Punjab at the start of 2019 through April and May. He posted top-scores of 46, 48 and 36, batting as low as seven and as high as three in the order.
Pooran has batted in the middle order for the West Indies in T20s since debuting in 2016, scoring two fifties in 11 matches. He debuted in ODI cricket against England in Barbados in March 2019, posting a four-ball duck in defeat and was out to Adil Rashid. Things have improved markedly since.
Pooran, who has also played club cricket in Canada, played his first three first-class matches for Trinidad and Tobago in 2014, but he hasn’t played in that format since.
Despite that, he has insisted that he is more than a T20 specialist: “My job is to play cricket,” he said. “It does not matter which format. I’m not rushing anything, I’m just trying to get better and better each day. I back myself to do that.
“My dream was always to play cricket professionally and represent the West Indies at a World Cup someday. It feels wonderful. I just learned a lot from T20 cricket, and now my chance is to play ODI cricket.”
Compared to Chris Gayle by his IPL coach Mike Hesson, the former New Zealand coach, Pooran counts himself extremely lucky to be playing the game.
Four years ago, he was involved in a car accident in Trinidad which left him in a wheelchair for four months and was told by his specialist that his return to the game wasn’t guaranteed.
He smashed into a sand heap at the side of the road and was hit by a car from behind. His toes, knee and ankle were all damaged, forcing surgery.
“The accident has changed the way I live my life,” he said.
“I am very thankful to be on the cricket field again. You never know what is going to happen when you wake up in the morning.”
Pooran impressed for Yorkshire in 2019. In three Blast innings, he scored 12, 67 and 43 against Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lancashire, with two further planned appearances ruined by the weather. He took the wicketkeeping gloves in each game.
He will be available for the vast majority of the 2020 Blast, and it will surely be fun to watch.