Yorkshire Vikings snap up West Indian star Nicholas Pooran for T20 Blast
Yorkshire Vikings have confirmed the signing of wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran for next summer’s Vitality Blast competition.
The 24-year-old Trinidadian, who played three of a planned five Vitality Blast fixtures in 2019, will be available for the majority of the Vikings’ North-Group matches in 2020, subject to international commitments.
On returning to Emerald Headingley in 2020, Pooran said: “I’m very happy to be returning to Headingley for next season’s T20 Blast.
"I really enjoyed my short stint there after the World Cup and feel I have a bit of unfinished business with the weather winning in a couple of the games I was scheduled to play in 2019.
“I look forward to catching up with my team-mates in 2020.”
Pooran, who has amassed 2278 runs in 119 T20 matches, averaging 24.49, including 12 fifties, arrives with a reputation as being one of the world’s best batsmen in the shortest form of the game.
The rising star’s most memorable performances came when he hit 67 off 28 balls in a win over Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road. Pooran helped the Vikings to a score of 255-2 - the second highest total in English T20 history.
A marquee player for Guyana Amazon Warriors, Pooran guided the Warriors to a perfect 10 from 10 – winning all the Club’s group-stage matches in the Caribbean Premier League regular season.
On the international stage, Pooran’s most notable knocks include his 63 runs against England and hundred against Sri Lanka, both in defeat in this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup. He has scored 413 runs in 13 ODIs, averaging 43.90.
Coach Andrew Gale said: “We all got a glimpse of what a special player he is (last season); he is box office.
"In T20 cricket, you always look down the team sheet to see who can win you a game, and Pooran is a guy that can win you a game on his own.
“We saw how well he played at Leicester. I thought that he was going to get us over the line in the Roses game as well where he played really well. He showed us what he is about.
“We brought Nicholas in for what we could afford last year. With more funds available, we wanted to bring somebody in for a longer period of time.
"To get him for a major chunk of the competition is a big plus for us. He fitted into the dressing room really well.
“Nicholas brings you two places in the team as he keeps wicket as well. When he is on with the bat, he is as explosive as anyone in world cricket.”
Pooran’s announcement as a T20 overseas signing comes in the same week as Dawid Malan put pen-to-paper at Emerald Headingley.
Gale has emphasised the impact that he believes the two players will make to the Yorkshire Vikings squad.
“In both players you are getting proven players in the T20 format, and proven match winners,” Gale said.
“It certainly gives us lots more experience in our line-up.
“I felt that last year, we missed out on close games when the pressure was on. At the back end of games, we couldn’t get over the line, and bringing in experienced players helps you with that.
"It brings a calmness and coolness under pressure. Getting these two guys should give us that calmness.”
Martyn Moxon, director of cricket at The Yorkshire County Cricket Club said: “From the end of his time with us last year, we said that we wanted to keep in touch and keep him as an option for this summer.
“We are pleased that it has worked out that way. He is a player with an incredible talent and such an explosive player. We feel that he will be a great addition to our T20 Blast squad.
“We are adding quality to our squad. We want to make a real effort to win the competition.
"Bringing in Dawid and Nicholas is a massive boost to the quality of the squad.
"We have some talented batsmen already at the Club, but these two additions are really making us, on paper, a strong outfit.”