If you caught the live screening of the IPL 2019 auction yesterday, you’ll know that it started off extremely dull, with senior players like Brendon McCullum and Yuvraj Singh stagnant at an unsold position. That is, until a certain Nicholas Pooran decided to shake things up. The 23-year old millennial was up for grabs at a humble Rs 75 lacs, but shot up to a hot Rs 4.20 cr as the hammer went down for Kings XI Punjab.
A Trinidad native playing for the West Indies team, Nicholas has collided with success early in his career, much like his idol MS Dhoni. He burst onto the scene in 2013 with the Under-19 team and smashed a few records with his bat. But good tidings soon gave way to a major setback – Nicholas was in a catastrophic car accident in January 2015.
Road to recovery
Flush with success and returning home from training, he was driving in his hometown Couva when the accident took place because of someone else’s car trying to overtake another. The next thing he remembers is feeling shocked, unable to move his legs and being rushed away in an ambulance.
He had sustained major ankle and knee injuries and all he could think about in the panic was whether he’d be able to play cricket again. After undergoing two successful surgeries, the question of him playing would only be answered by how well he did at therapy. He was wheelchair-bound and it took him six months to even walk without assistance.
He was at mental wreck and tried hard to not slip into depression. With the help of doctors and his immense will power, Nicholas gradually started to increase his therapy. Finally, he could jog, and in September, had his first net session. Fellow teammate Keiron Pollard served as his mentor during his training. Gradually, he restarted playing professionally.
Blessing in disguise
In 2016 though, he was controversially banned by Cricket West Indies. He had played in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) ahead of 2016-17 West Indies domestic season and this did not sit well with West Indies. Nicholas was banned for 10 months.
This however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the young wicketkeeper-batsman as the 10-month gap period gave him a chance to play other T20 tournaments around the world and he grabbed it. His most enriching experience was training and playing in the IPL (with Mumbai Indians) as it also afforded a young player like him to rub shoulders with Sachin Tendulkar.
Making most of the opportunity, Nicholas trained hard, especially when the former Indian keeper Kiran More took him under his wing. He worked hard, got better at his glove work and became stronger. He joined the Windies team once again, and cut to yesterday, where fortunes have turned favourably for the young, determined and talented Nicholas Pooran.