Kieron Pollard slams lax fitness standards among West Indies players

Kieron Pollard

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard has admitted frustration at players’ inability to maintain their fitness levels when outside of the team environment.

Pollard is disappointed with the standards of fitness of some of the players who have joined the group for the ODI series against Ireland.

Star batsman Shimron Hetmyer was dropped because he couldn’t meet the fitness standards set by Cricket West Indies, and this is not an isolated incident.

“It has been an issue that has been plaguing us for the last couple of years,” Pollard said.

“One way to look at it is, the selection policy, the fitness policies are there.

“Guys know exactly what is needed to represent the West Indian team. Sometimes, as individuals, we take it for granted. Yes, sometimes it hinders the process of selecting the best players at the given available time.

“Things happened during the pandemic – security reasons – all these played a factor. But fitness has been one issue that has affected us in terms of trying to put our best team and sometimes, it’s frustrating because you don’t have the guys fit and available to represent the team.

“I will also say that it’s an individual thing, they are supposed to pride themselves on being fit, performing and doing what is necessary for the team.

“When these things tend to happen, as an individual, I am sure it doesn’t bode well to us too.

“Again, this is something I take very personally – fitness – and me being not able to participate because of injury – because that doesn’t go too well with myself.

“Hence I got an opportunity to detour and recover and hopefully, I can stay with the team because I pride myself on that.”

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Pollard said that he has done his utmost to ensure players understand what is expected of them when it comes to fitness.

“For me, as an individual, the most I could do is try to make the guys understand the importance of fitness,” Pollard said.

“When we are on tour, I can safely say there is no issue as to when the guys have to do their stuff in terms of what is required for the team and when they have to train in schedules.

“We tend to have these conversations, but I think the difficult part is when the guys leave from tour with responsibilities and with instructions and, sometimes, they don’t follow it. And then they come back on tour and they start from ground zero.

“From my perspective, I can send a message and get it posted in a group. We are supposed to be professionals and we are supposed to be adults, and supposed to pride ourselves on that.”