Report by Brian Halford
WARWICKSHIRE and Birmingham Bears batsman Ed Pollock is targeting first-team cricket in all formats after signing a contract extension until the end of the 2018 season.
Pollock’s emergence as a vibrant force at the top of the order in the NatWestT20Blast has been a real plus for the Bears this season.
In his first Blast campaign, the 22-year-old scored 283 runs at a strike rate of 174.69 in nine games with three half-centuries including a thrilling 50 off 27 balls in the semi-final victory over Glamorgan.
Pollock’s fearless batting played a huge part in powering the Bears through to Finals Day and aggression is, and is sure to remain, integral to his batting. But the Buckinghamshire-born player has no intention of being pigeon-holed as merely a specialist in the shortest format.
“There is no way that I want to be just a T20 player, “Pollock said. “I have really enjoyed playing in the T20 this season but I definitely want to play first-team cricket across all formats.
“That’s my goal and it’s what I’m going to be working really hard towards achieving. I’m really excited to have signed a contract extension because it’s a privilege to be working among these guys at Warwickshire.
“It’s a great opportunity for me. The extension means I’ll be living the dream a bit longer!
“It went well for me in T20 this year but I know I have to improving in that format. Hopefully I will also get my chance in 50-over cricket where conditions are quite similar, but I also really want to play red-ball.
“Until the age of about 14 I was just a blocker and would open the innings and bat 50 overs for 50. Then I’m not sure what happened but I learned to hit sixes and enjoyed it so have gone from there.
“I haven’t quite got the defensive technique yet for red-ball cricket, I’m more likely to get a quickfire 50 than grind out a 50, but I want to improve. I try to tone the aggression down a notch but it creeps into my game.”
Pollock initially signed an academy development contract for Warwickshire at the beginning of the 2016 season, having been on the radar of elite development manager Paul Greetham since the pair were at Shrewsbury School as student and director of cricket respectively.
He developed late as a cricketer, going on to played for Durham MCCU, The Unicorns and in minor counties cricket with Herefordshire before being snapped up by the Bears.
“When I finished school I had no thoughts of playing professional cricket,” he said. “I developed late but have learned a lot everywhere I’ve been lucky enough to play and I just want to keep learning.
“It’s brilliant at Warwickshire because they make it clear that if, as a young player, you do the right things and they think you are good enough, they will give you opportunities. It’s been great to see Matt Lamb and Sunny Singh get their chances in the first team in red-ball cricket and do well and that’s what I aim to do.”
Warwickshire’s coaches are on the case to help him achieve that ambition.
“Ed has made an outstanding impression in T20 cricket, cementing his position at the top of the order with attacking innings that put the opposition under pressure from the first ball,” said Ashley Giles, sport director. “His ability to regularly clear the ropes is a great asset for the team as we look to build on our runners-up finish in this year’s Blast. His challenge now is to take that success into the other forms of the game, particularly List A cricket.”