Nicholas Pooran has been appointed captain of the West Indies white-ball sides, Cricket West Indies said in a release on Tuesday. Shai Hope will be his deputy in the ODI format. The move came after Kieron Pollard announced his retirement from international cricket last month.
Pooran was the vice-captain in white-ball cricket for West Indies last year with Pollard leading the side. In Pollard's absence, Pooran led the team to a 4-1 T20I series win against Australia at home ahead of the T20 World Cup last year. Overall, he has led West Indies in ten internationals - eight T20Is and two ODIs, winning four and losing six.
"I am truly honoured to be appointed captain of the West Indies team," Pooran said in the statement. "I am following the footsteps of several giants of the game who have created an amazing legacy for West Indies cricket. This is indeed a prestigious role, a pivotal position in the West Indian society, as cricket is the force that brings us all West Indians together.
"To be named captain is indeed the highlight of my career so far and I want to drive the team forward to accomplish great things on the field for our fans and loyal supporters."
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo earlier this year, Pooran had spoken about how leadership came to him naturally and how he had picked up cues from Pollard from the CPL stint in 2017 with Barbados Tridents. "You have added responsibility and want the best for your team. At the end of the day it's about winning the game of cricket, and if I'm in that leadership position, I have to do that extra work. The added responsibility has worked out so far for me," he had said.
Following his T20I debut in 2016, Pooran has represented West Indies in 94 white-ball internationals and has over 3300 runs across formats. The appointment comes at a time when he has begun flourishing at the top level - he scored close to 500 runs in T20Is last year while continuing his form this year with 348 T20I runs at an average of 49.71. He is currently playing in the middle order for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022.
"We believe Nicholas is ready for the challenge of leading our white ball teams given his experience, performances, and the respect he has within the playing group," Jimmy Adams, Cricket West Indies' Director of Cricket, said. "The Selection Panel believes that Nicholas has matured as a player and were impressed with his leadership of both teams when Kieron Pollard had been absent. The experience he has gathered playing in various franchise leagues around the world was also a factor in the decision to recommend him for the T20 captaincy."
West Indies' next international outing is the three ODIs against Netherlands in Amstelveen from May 31, which are part of the ICC World Cup Super League. Pooran will oversee two white-ball tournaments as captain - the T20 World Cup later this year and the Men's Cricket World Cup next year.
"Nicholas Pooran is a specially gifted cricketer, and the right person to take over the white ball captaincy," Ricky Skerritt, CWI President, said. "We are confident that he will continue to climb the leadership learning curve speedily, and successfully. I appeal to all West Indies cricket stakeholders to give Nicholas the support and encouragement that he deserves."