Mumbai: West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard feels that although Chris Gayle's absence in the ODI series will be a factor but someone in the team will have to stand up and be counted in crunch situations.
"Of course (it will have an impact). Chris has been there for over 10 years now. He has been one of our main players, one of our main batsman. Yes, it is going to leave a hole. Yes it is going to leave a gap but life goes on," Pollard told the reporters during an interaction with reporters ahead of West Indies' tour opener against India A tomorrow.
"We all know he (Gayle) is not here. We left the Caribbean knowing that he is not going to be here. So someone has to take that mantle and put up their hand and take up that responsibility," Pollard said.
The 27-year-old expects the five-match ODI series to be a keenly contested one.
"It will be a keenly contested one. Obviously, we have played them in the last couple of years and we won a couple of games here so I am looking forward to series," he said.
The Trinidadian, who also plays for the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians said knowing the conditions here would come in handy.
"I won't say it is going to be an added advantage but it would give us an insight rather than just coming in blindly to the conditions. It is going to be keenly contested because both teams would know the strengths and the weaknesses of the players. That is something that we look forward to. We look forward to that challenge," he said.
He rated Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as one of the best finishers.
"They have some good players in their team. I would say they have one of the best finishers in the world as their leader and as a captain. We know we are up for a challenge," Pollard said.
Pollard said he is looking to score runs to book a spot in the World Cup squad.
"Obviously, it is a preparation for the World Cup but no one is guaranteed a place in the World Cup, so as an individual and as a player in the team you have to try and be consistent and try and score runs. So that is my aim," he said.
Asked why the team hasn't managed to win the ODI series
in the past over here, Pollard said, "We just haven't played consistent cricket as a team and it is something that we want to try upon. We have got about 10 or 12 games before the World Cup, so it is something we are looking forward to."
Pollard also felt that the West Indies have a good chance at the World Cup and the tag of underdogs would help them to play fearless cricket.
"We always have a good team and we always have a good chance but it actually boils down to actually how you play on the day and how you play within the tournament and how you peak throughout the tournament. I think what is going to be important for us is our tour process as well as our preparation and gelling as a team and playing as a team."
"That is going to be the most important. Once you do those things, you have a very good chance. It is good to go into a tournament as underdogs with all the other big teams there and we just play without any pressure." he said.
Pollard recently led the Mumbai Indians outfit in the Champions League T20 tournament and he said it was a good recognition.
"The experience in Mumbai was good. It was a challenge. It is something that you got an opportunity to do, you got the opportunity to lead a franchisee team from India with all sorts of international stars so that in itself was a good accolade for me.
"Obviously, it didn't go as I wanted, as we wanted as a team but these things happen. We had a meeting and we spoke what we needed to do to go right and hopefully put it back together," he said.
He added that he would happily hand over the reigns to skipper Rohit Sharma, who missed the series due to a shoulder injury.
"Rohit would be fit and would be leading Mumbai Indians. I would gladly give it back to him. He is a good guy. He has played a lot of cricket for Mumbai and India, has a lot of experience and I have a lot of respect for him," he said.
When repeatedly asked about not playing in Tests, a miffed Pollard said,"I am not lacking anything. For me it is about playing cricket. Yes, you want to play Test cricket but that is not the main focus right now.
"The main focus right now is to win this 50-over series and then looking forward, whenever that time comes, it is going to come. Every time I get asked that question, to be honest, it is getting a bit monotonous to me. I can't pick myself."
Pollard said he won't speak to the selectors about picking him for the Test side and added, "I am not going to put myself in that position. I am not going to ask any question. I am a professional cricketer, I play cricket. Wherever they see me fit to play, I will play."