Kieron Pollard has denied he deliberately bowled the no-ball that potentially cost Evin Lewis a record-breaking hundred in St Kitts and Nevis Patriots' 10-wicket win over Barbados Trident at the Caribbean Premier League.
Lewis was on 97 off 31 balls when he took strike with the scores level, a boundary away from the fastest hundred in CPL history and the second fastest in all T20 cricket. But Pollard overstepped the line by a big margin, Patriots had the one more run they needed for victory, and Lewis could not have a crack at the record.
Pollard, the Tridents captain, said he overstepped as he was trying to put extra effort into a short ball, his best delivery option. "When I took up that ball in that last delivery, I had one thing in my mind: trying to bowl a delivery, my best delivery - what has been working for me throughout the tournament - a short delivery to see if he [will] have a waft at it, to see if it can go up in the air and we can get him out," Pollard told Sports Max.
"Although we would have lost the game, I was still thinking of getting him out, and using my strength, what I had been doing. Unfortunately, [the] stride went for that extra, I stepped over the mark and I think that has been the talking point, of what actually happened, the actual no-ball itself.
"It wasn't intentional, nothing was intentional at any point in time. I acknowledge that we have lost the game but I am not going to just go there and bowl a ball just for him to hit it for six or four, for him to score hundred in that sense. That's not my nature, and I don't think any sportsman will just do something to that effect."
This isn't the first time that Pollard's on-field actions have been questioned. In the IPL, he was once ruled to have run one short in a bid to retain strike, and the sportsmanship of that was questioned. In 2014, Pollard was involved in a heated altercation with Mitchell Starc. The Lewis incident triggered outrage against Pollard on social media, but he said his conscience was clear.
"What I am a big believer in is I can sit here and I can talk to you and I can tell you untruths and I can make up all sorts of stories," he said. "But one person I can't make up a story to is when I watch myself in the mirror. When I watch myself in the mirror, I know what my intentions were in that particular delivery, and my intention was just try to bowl the best delivery."
Pollard, however, said he had a chat with fellow Trinidadian Lewis on the matter, and that things were cordial between them. "I just told him [Lewis] 'well played and good luck in the playoffs'. He just laughed it off. Evin Lewis… he came up after me in Trinidad to play cricket. We play cricket together. Our whole management is the same sort of management. At the end of the day, [some people may say] Kieron Pollard is jealous of Evin Lewis and things like that. That's not in my nature. I have been the first one to congratulate somebody. I have been the first one to send him a message and always be there no matter what. And this is not going to stop me from continuing to do that.
"Yes I did [talk to him after that]. We had a conversation. I wouldn't share the exchange of the conversation but we had a couple of Whatsapp messages and it's all cordial. No, I didn't apologise to him. To me, there is nothing to apologise for. We just laughed it off."