Nicholas Pooran
Nicholas Pooran of Lucknow Super Giants scores a six in the Tata Indian Premier League match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, on April 9, 2023. His 15-ball fifty is the joint-second fastest in IPL history. Image Credit: Sportzpics for IPL

Nicholas Pooran is special. He’s a batter gifted with exquisite timing. His strokes are so effortless that he seems to be wafting the ball away with a broomstick. The crisp and clean shots clear the fence by a long way.

Seven sixes soared from Pooran’s bat on Monday as the Lucknow Super Giants chased down Royal Challengers Bangalore’s score of 212. The one-wicket win in a thrilling last-ball finish was made possible by Pooran’s rollicking knock after Marcus Stoinis’ blitzkrieg at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Pooran’s sublime touch is reminiscent of Carl Hooper, a West Indian touch artist who never performed to his full batting potential. Batting came so easy for Hooper that his shots often smacked of sheer disdain. At times, he looked bored at the crease and often got out to innocuous deliveries.

Like Hooper, Pooran too makes batting look casual as he seems to have plenty of time to get into position. Blessed with strong, supple wrists, the Trinidadian is at ease playing spin and pace.

The 27-year-old never hurries into his shots but is always in a hurry to keep the scoreboard moving. Defence is not the preferred option, as he loves to unveil his array of strokes as quickly as possible to take the fight to the bowlers.

Fastest 50 of IPL 2023

He doesn’t take time to play himself in. On Monday, when Pooran smashed the second ball he faced over the midwicket fence, it was clear he was in good nick. Pooran carried on from where Stoinis left off, and Lucknow’s momentum never flagged.

It wasn’t a surprise when Pooran struck the fastest fifty (15 balls) of the IPL 2023 before departing for a 19-ball 67. By the time the West Indies T20 captain was caught in the deep, he had placed Lucknow on the cusp of victory.

“I have been working really hard on my game, and this is how I want to be. I spent the last couple of years frustrating myself, trying to win games for my team; tonight obviously it came out well in the end,” Pooran said at the post-match presentation.

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Despite his success for the West Indies, Pooran could never replicate his form in the IPL. First picked by the Mumbai Indians, the Trinidadian never played a game in 2017. A run drought in his first season for the Kings XI Punjab (presently Punjab Kings) gave rise to a run-glut when IPL moved to the UAE in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two seasons with the Sunrisers Hyderabad were forgettable, but the string of poor scores didn’t stymie Pooran’s style. He continues the cavalier approach that made him one of the world’s best T20 batters. He’s keen to put the poor spell with Hyderabad behind him and is eager to contribute quick runs for the Lucknow Super Giants.

“I hope this is the season for me, in a good space and state of mind. Just want to enjoy my cricket, play with a smile and entertain, and win games for my team,” Pooran said after Lucknow’s win in Bengaluru.

If the game against the RCB is any indication, we are in for a run feast from Pooran. That will be a stunning spectacle.