WHEN the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) sealed the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 title on Thursday, cricket coach Aslim Mandol was a proud man as three of his former students at Success Laventille Composite School were part of the winning team.

Kieron Pollard, Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre were instrumental in leading TKR to the CPL title.

Discussing how it felt to see his past players starring in the CPL, Mandol said, “It make me feel proud of them knowing where they came from – humble beginnings. It is not (just) me, but the entire school look at them as role models.”

Pollard, who captained the TT franchise, won the player of the series award after doing damage with both bat and ball. Pollard scored 207 runs in seven innings at an average of 51.75.

He ended the tournament with an impressive strike rate of 204.95 and had the opposition going into the stands to retrieve the ball often as he slammed 20 sixes. Pollard, 33, hit the most sixes in the tournament along with team-mates Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons.

Hosein and Pierre, who are both left-arm spinners, are close in age and have been friends since childhood.

Aslim Mandol, left, at a Zaheer Ali Foundation workshop at Success Laventille Composite School in 2018. Standing next to Mandol is Trinbago Knight Riders pair Khary Pierre, second from left, and Akeal Hosein, third from left partly hidden. -
The spinners made significant contributions as they combined to snatch 19 wickets.

Hosein, 27, took ten wickets in seven matches and only conceded 5.55 runs per over.

Pierre, 28, grabbed nine wickets in ten matches at an economy rate of 6.68.

Mandol, who has been teaching at Success Laventille for 23 years, said, “Laventille and Port of Spain East and North could produce good examples. Russell Latapy (former TT footballer) lived not too far from our school…Russell Latapy and these people can produce.”

Mandol, who is the second vice-president of the PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket League, said they all came from “humble beginnings” and “resources at (Success) Laventille was very scarce.”

He spoke highly of Pollard who always makes time for Pierre and Hosein and always gives brotherly advice.

“Something I must commend Kieron about. Kieron when he left our school he sort of was a baby sitter for the younger ones especially people like Khary and Akeal Hosein…anything those fellas wanted they could have gotten from him. He nurtured them.”

In an interview with Newsday in May, 2018, Pierre said, “A big part (Success Laventille played in my life). The coach here Aslim Mandol was like a father to me when I was here. He had me under his wings, he always told me I will reach far. I was very dedicated, I worked hard and I always had the dream of playing at the highest level which is West Indies cricket,” Pierre said.

At the time of that interview Pierre had not played for West Indies yet, but months later he made his T20 International debut in November, 2018.

In December, 2019 he played his first One Day International.

Pollard, the West Indies 50-over and T20 captain, is one of the most popular and destructive T20 batsmen in the world. He has played over 500 T20 matches and has scored over 10,000 runs. Pollard is also a useful medium pace bowler picking up almost 300 wickets in the format.

Hosein has not played for the West Indies senior team, but represented the West Indies Under-19 team. Hosein, Pollard and Pierre have all represented the TT Red Force.

Mandol said the school has produced several national athletes as he remembered Pilar McShine, a former TT middle distance runner.

The long serving Agriculture teacher thanked Angostura for supporting the school with a number of programmes and also praised former school principal Hamida Baksh for her efforts.

The Zaheer Ali Foundation also held a workshop entitled Motivating Our Youth to Excel in Sport at the school in 2018.

Ali, a former national and West Indies Under-15 cricketer, started the Zaheer Ali Foundation in 2013 with a mission of shaping the future by moulding youth and fostering greater community cohesion.