Pollock - The one who Shaun bright
What is it about South African cricket that they churn a legend one after the other? Today is the day when an underrated, yet undoubtedly one of the greats to embrace the game, was born.
Shaun Pollock burst on the cricketing arena popularly known as the son of former South African fast bowler Peter Pollock and the nephew of the legend, Graeme Pollock. Indeed, he met all expectations attached to him at his which is quite evident from the fact that he played in a whopping 303 ODIs which is more than any other South African.
A right-arm fast seam bowler who often played a handy knock with the bat showed his effectiveness as an all-rounder which completed the South African unit. Allan Donald and he formed one of the most lethal bowling attacks to grace the international circuit. His 108 catches form further testimony to the complete cricketer that he is. It was in April 2000 when Hansie Cronje was banned for life that he was assigned the enormous task of taking over the captaincy of a team hit by the match-fixing scandal.
If Allan Donald was the raging assassin who flew in and knocked off the middle stump, Pollock was the exact opposite. There was a gentleness even in the roar he exuded when he demolished top-order batsmen. He surpassed Donald with his final tally of 393 ODI wickets at an astonishing average of 24.50. He left an even greater mark in Test cricket with a record tally of 421 wickets at an average of 23.11.
With the SA ODI Player of the year (1996) and one of the 5 Wisden players of the year (2002/03) awards under his belt, his consistency which was taken for granted by others, was proven over and over again. He joined the ranks of Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Kapil Dev in the elite list of players to have bagged 3000 runs and 300 wickets in Tests.
Personally, the most defining moment which showed me his undying passion for the game and his team was in the epic ODI match when South Africa chased down the mammoth 434 against Australia at the Wanderers where he did not play in the game. He showed how much that win meant to him by running down the pitch and hugging Mark Boucher after he hit the winning four.
If it was not for bad luck and edgy nerves, maybe Polly Kaka, as he was fondly called by the Mumbai Indians players, would have had more glowing trophies to display in his cabinet. We thank him for all the glorious memories and the humility with which he played the game and unknowingly made others follow suit.