Steelbacks coach Ripley delighted to have landed serial winner Kieron Pollard

David Ripley is delighted to have acquired the services of big-hitting Kieron Pollard for eight matches of this summer's Vitality T20 Blast - branding the West Indian a serial winner.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 10:48 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 10:50 am
Kieron Pollard in action for Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League in October

Pollard was this week unveiled as the Steelbacks' big-name T20 signing for more than half of the 14 North division group stages, and Ripley revealed that it is a deal that has been several months in the making.

The signing of the current West Indies T20 and ODI captain is something of a coup for the club, coming as it does off the back of their capture of Jason Holder for the Royal London One Day Cup last season.

Pollard is widely regarded as one of the most effective T20 players in world cricket, and his tally of 499 matches means he has played the format of the game more than any other player.

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Kieron Pollard will play eight games for the Steelbacks in the Vitality T20 Blast

Six of the eight matches he is contracted for will be played at the County Ground, and Ripley is looking forward to the player, who has won T20 title around the world, having a a big impact on the Steelbacks' T20 campaign.

"It was a bit of a coup last year when we had Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, and that was a great signing for us," said Ripley.

"Obviously at the moment, Kieron is the T20 and ODI captain of the West Indies, and hopefully it will be equally well received.

"He hasn't been over here for a while (he last played in England in 2011, for Somerset) because he has been doing these global competitions, and I think if you look at the competitions he has won, that is a very powerful statistic for him.

Northants head coach David Ripley

"He doesn't just turn up and play, he turns up to win.

"He has won the IPL several times, he has won in Bangladesh, he has won with the Cape Cobras in South Africa when Richard Levi and Rory Kleinveldt were in the side, and they spoke very highly of him in terms of what he brings to the team.

"So I think that was the most important thing for me when I did my digging around.

"I knew he had been successful, but you hear about some of these guys contributing, and not necessarily just getting on the treadmill of the competition, doing your bit and then moving on to the next team.

Pakistan all-rounder Faheem Ashraf will also play for Steelbacks in the T20

"He is joining teams and winning the competitions, and for me that was by far the most positive thing about him.

"That, and obviously having a 150 strike-rate, bowling a few overs in the middle and taking your catches in key positions makes for a pretty solid signing!"

The Steelbacks will also have Pakistan all-rounder Faheem Ashraf in their ranks for the Vitality Blast, and there is still a chance another player will be registered to play the group game that Pollard will not be available for, which are all signs of an increased budget for the T20 campaign.

The County head coach has been chasing Pollard since for a few months now, and explained why it took so long to land his man.

"We have been talking to him on and off since the start of the winter, but he was among a number of players and they tend to wait and take their time," said Ripley.

"That's one thing I have noticed with having a bigger budget, is that when we used to go and look for Rory (Kleinveldt) or Seeku Prasanna, we tended to ask them and they were more than happy to take us up, because offers weren't going to be coming in left, right and centre

"But I noticed last year particularly, when we had more money to spend in the budget for T20 players, they tend not to say yes straight away, because they wait, and wait, and wait to see what else comes up, and if there is anything better out there.

"Last year there was a big competition in Canada that was paying out big money, so it works at a slower pace, but eventually Kieron agreed.

"He is going to the IPL, and he wants a little window after the IPL and it kind of suited us, because to be honest we can't afford to pay him for the whole competition with the fee that these guys charge.

"That is what the going rate is for these kind of cricketers."