Shaun Pollock made his debut for South Africa at the age of 22. He ranks high in the list of South Africa’s most prominent cricket players. His Test debut in 1995 against England was cut short by incessant rain, and forced a premature closure to the Test match after just one England innings. Pollock himself came on as the fourth bowler and picked up three wickets in the match, including that of England skipper Michael Atherton on his very first day as an international Test cricketer. He also dismissed centurion Greame Hick leg before wicket the following day to end up with figures of 3-98 after 29 overs. It was an ordinary beginning for Pollock, who came from South Africa’s most famous cricketing family. But his best was yet to come.
The nephew of Greame Pollock, who is widely regarded as the finest left-hand batsman in the history of the game and the son of former South African fast bowler Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock entered the cricketing scene with huge expectations on his shoulders. Following his Test debut, Pollock moved to England to play country cricket for Warwickshire. His efforts to get a break into the limited overs side for South Africa finally paid off in early 1996, when he was called to the South African ODI side for his disciplined wicket-to-wicket bowling while his abilty as a hard-hitting lower middle-order batsman added value to his spot in the XI.
Pollock took South Africa from a shaky score of 107-6 to a defendable total of 211-8 after 50 overs, scoring 66 runs of the same number of balls and batted till the very end. He then came on with the ball and picked up 4 English wickets, including that of the last English batsman Darren Gough on the penultimate delivery of his spell (4-34), to secure a tight 6-run victory for his side. Pollock was named Man of the Match for his twin efforts.
Since then Pollock has established himself as a masterly craftsman of tight, line and length bowling in an illustrious international cricketing career and proven his worth to the South African cricket team on numerous occasions. His greatest achievement remains his career haul of 421 Test wickets in a career that spanned 13 years. He also played 303 One Day Internationals and finished with 7 wickets short of 400 scalps.
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