Author Matshona Dhliwayo once remarked, “Our most beautiful dreams are born from our most unpleasant nightmares.”
Nicholas Pooran is a living embodiment of this statement.
Precocious talent & gifted with immense power. Maturity beyond his years. With a simple, honest, & grateful demeanor. Only that an unpleasant nightmare would change his life forever.
Here is the story of Nicholas Pooran—the next big thing in world cricket. This is a tale of unimaginable pain, hope in the time of uncertainty, & inspiration for all.
ODIs: 25 matches, 932 runs, best of 118, average 49.05, 1-100/7-50s
T20s: 163 matches, 3122 runs, best of 100*, average 24.97, 144.60 SR, 1-100/16-50s, 206-4s/215-6sEmbed from Getty Images
Nicholas Pooran announced himself to the cricketing world in the 2014 U-19 Cricket World Cup. Top scored for the West Indies and fourth highest overall in the tournament—303 runs at 60.60 with a strike rate of 99.34 with 1 century and 2 fifties.
Quarter Final time. West Indies Vs Australia. The West Indies are struggling at 7-3. In comes Nicholas Pooran. Nudges it around and brings up a calm fifty from 75 balls. Wickets keep falling at the other end. The Windies are now 85-8.
Then came the onslaught (Watch this). Straight sixes galore. Flicked six. Sixes over cow corner. Breathtaking stuff.
West Indies end with a score of 208. Nicholas Pooran top scores 143 off 160 balls, last man out. Next highest? 20 runs by the #10. The scorecard read: 1, 4, 10, 0, 143, 7, 1, 1, 1, 20, 0*.
With that knock, he came into national spotlight as a future wicketkeeper after Denesh Ramdin. A debut first class & CPL season with Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel would follow. At age 17, he hit 54 (24) including an inside-out six and reverse sweep to Sunil Narine. The 2014 Sunil Narine that is.
But barely into his cricketing career, little did he know that his world was about to turn upside down.
On January 6, 2015, news broke through that Pooran had been injured in a horrific car accident. He suffered a ruptured left patellar tendon and fractured right ankle.
As Pooran recalls in his interview to Peter Della Penna, the first question he asked the doctors was, “if I could play cricket again”?
Two surgeries, several months on wheelchair, endless therapy & rehab sessions later, Pooran finally started to walk again after six months. A couple of months later, he would start jogging. 18 months from the incident, a CPL game with Barbados Trident.
Two and a half years later—a West Indian jersey.
During these tough times, he found a support system comprising of his parents, Dr. Oba Gulston (physiotherapist in CPL teams), Kelvin Williams (assistant coach in T&T), coach Phil Simmons, and mentor & future captain, Kieron Pollard. Pooran credits Pollard’s constant encouragement, communication, & support that got him through.Embed from Getty Images
It was Pollard’s faith in Pooran & his talent, that he vouched for his selection in the CPL with his team, Barbados Trident. And boy did he repay his faith.
July 17, 2016. St. Lucia Zouks Vs Barbados Tridents.
Pooran outclassed a batting order comprising of Shoaib Malik, the 2016 version of AB De Villiers, and Kieron Pollard. In a 49 run partnership with Pollard, Pollard scored only 6. Dominating comeback performance. Watch his blistering knock of 81 (39). 558 days later, Nicholas Pooran was back.
As he said in his post-match interview, “I am back. I am back stronger.”
Pooran Makes a Mark At the 2019 Cricket World Cup
The lower you fall, the higher you’ll fly.
After the comeback, the only direction Pooran could go was up. He would make his T20I debut later that year in September 2016. International recognition would come in the 2018 & 2019 T20I series against India.
The moment when I realized he was the next big thing in world cricket was the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Whenever Pooran came to the crease, I knew something was bound to happen. Some of his knocks included:
34 (19) Vs Pakistan, 40 (36) Vs Australia, 63 (78) Vs West Indies, 118 (103) Vs Sri Lanka, & 58 (43) Vs Afghanistan.
His maiden international century against Sri Lanka was especially something else. In a chase of 339, West Indies struggle at 145-5. He pulls & heaves. Knocks the ball around. Brilliant partnership with Fabian Allen gets them close until Allen’s unfortunate run-out. Yet, until Pooran was at the crease, anything could have happened.
31 needed of 18, and West Indies are still in the game. Only for a hobbling Angelo Mathews to get Pooran off a wide one against all odds. End of the dream.
The West Indies did not make it to the semi-finals, but Pooran established his presence with that knock. The ability to combine composure & power is what makes him extremely dangerous. The sweet sound off his bat is second to none. And the question comes again, why isn’t he selected for Test cricket again?
What Is He Doing Now?
His stocks continued to rise with leagues around the world. Recently, Pooran’s performance in the IPL with the KXIP was outstanding, including the best fielding effort you will ever see. With the bat, 353 runs at 170 was not too bad either.
He is now the vice-captain in the T20I squad (as of the Sri Lanka series. Yes the one in which Kieron Pollard hit 6 sixes).
What Can We Learn From Nicholas Pooran?
Although just 25, we can learn so many from Pooran already. He does not like to dwell on the incident, and instead look on the bright side and stay in the present. Let us do exactly that and see how we can apply the inspirational lessons in our lives. Here is Pooran in his own words.
Pooran In His Own Words: The Life Lessons
“If I can come back from it, anyone can come back from anything.”
When life pushes you down, you always have two options—to view the glass as half empty or half-full. It is a matter of perspective. Optimism and keeping the hope alive will allow you to get through the tough times.
“I believe everything happens for a reason…blessing in disguise.”
Everyone has childhood dreams, whether that is to become a sports player, an artist, a world renowned scientist, but sometimes life works out differently. Instead of dwelling on the disappointments, we should be grateful what we actually have. Be thankful for your family, your health, and the fact you were given the opportunity to explore other ventures & improve upon yourself.
“I really doubted it but never give up on my dreams.”
Even the most positive individual can go in the depths of self-doubt. That is okay, it is just natural. Just keep working on it little by little by little, day by day. Who knows, your dream might come true and if it did not, you know you gave it an honest try. No regrets.
“Every single opportunity you get, you have to grab it.”
Do not wait to change to come. Find opportunities, and if you get a chance, give it your ALL. Put your entire soul & energy into it. Sometimes you will get multiple chances, while other times, you may only get one. Make it count.
Finally Pooran ends it perfectly with, “I appreciate the life that I have and the talent I have. I was blessed.”
Count your blessings. Gratefulness, Endurance, Persistence, Resilience, and Grace—that is what Pooran teaches us.Embed from Getty Images
Copyright (2021: 3/6/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – firstname.lastname@example.org