Nicholas Pooran is set to be the key man for the West Indies as they attempt to topple New Zealand in a three-match T20I series.

Home advantage and a higher ICC Ranking places the Blackcaps as firm favourites, while the absence of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Dwanye Bravo and Andre Russell complicates matters further for the tourists.

St Kitts Nevis Patriots v Jamaica Tallawahs - 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL)
Andre Russell opted out of the tour and is instead playing in the LPL. (Photo by Ashley Allen – CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images )

However, the West Indies still have plenty of talented white-ball players in their squad.

Sheldon Cottrell provides a wicket-taking threat in the early overs, Hayden Walsh Jr adds a wrist-spin option, Shimron Hetmyer brings flair to the batting lineup and the skipper, Kieron Pollard, offers destructive hitting at the back end of the innings.

Head coach Phil Simmons’ key man will be Nicholas Pooran, though.

The Trinidadian has been named as vice-captain for the series and is one of the most talented young batsmen in world cricket right now.

West Indies v India - One Day International Series
Nicholas Pooran will be key for the West Indies against New Zealand. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

At 25, he still has plenty of learning to do, and with only 46 international appearances across ODIs and T20Is, he remains relatively inexperienced at this level.

However, with an average of 49.05, he’s made an exceptional start to one-day cricket in a maroon jersey and while his numbers in the shortest format aren’t quite so impressive, his displays at franchise level have often been standout.

Pooran scored his first T20 century for the Guyana Amazon Warriors during CPL 2020, while he accumulated 353 runs at an average of 35.30 for the King’s XI Punjab at the recent IPL.

Guyana Amazon Warriors v Barbados Tridents - 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League Final (CPL)
Nicholas Pooran in CPL action with the Guyana Amazon Warriors. (Photo by Ashley Allen – CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images)

He was allowed to focus mainly on his batting during that tournament but his ability to keep wicket makes him extra valuable for the West Indies, who opted against selecting either Denesh Ramdin or Shai Hope.

Windies look a bit light at the top of the order for this series and, as a result, there’s set to be extra pressure on Pooran when coming in at number three or four.

But the dynamic left-hander has every shot in the book, is electric between the wickets and can clear the ropes with ease.

The tourists are definite underdogs for this one but the shorter the format, the more one individual can sway things and after finally emerging from quarantine on the eve of the series, Nicholas Pooran will be raring to go.

Have something to tell us about this article?