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Pollock fears the worst for South Africa, again

Pollock feels that if India, Australia and England “hijack” world cricket, it would destroy the beautiful sport. “We were taught the ideals of equality. Why should South Africa play any lesser cricket than say India or England?"

cricket Updated: Jan 26, 2014 02:07 IST
Sai Mohan

When a 19-year-old Graeme Pollock smashed Graham McKenzie and Richie Benaud to all corners of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Donald Bradman, instantly floored, would tell ABC Radio: “The next time you (Graeme) decide to play like that, send me a telegram.”

Bradman made no bones about it, he felt Pollock was his left-handed successor with only Garry Sobers coming close. But Pollock’s career would end seven years later, at 26, by when he had 2256 runs in 23 Tests at 60.97. Among all who played at least 20 Tests, his average stands second to Bradman’s 99.94.

With Jawaharlal Nehru leading a Third World revolution, and countries from Asia finding a voice, South Africa paid the price of seclusion for practising Apartheid. Pollock was born in the wrong era.

All these years later, Pollock feels history could be repeating itself but this time not because of racial disharmony, but splitting the haves and have-nots, the rich and poor.

Pollock feels that if India, Australia and England “hijack” world cricket, it would destroy the beautiful sport. “I think the wisdom imparted through history by the Gandhis and Mandelas is already forgotten. We are allowing those with money and power to dictate terms again. This time, the sides have changed, the South Africans are have-nots and could pay the ultimate price,” an emotional Pollock told HT from Durban. If the “position paper” is cleared next week, cricket, as we know it will return to the dark days of the Imperial Cricket Conference, where you had to be a member of the British Empire to join and England and Australia both held a veto when it came to voting on anything to do with the game.

Pollock feels that South African cricket could go into isolation again. “We were taught the ideals of equality. Why should South Africa play any lesser cricket than say India or England? The feeling I am getting from here is that they (Cricket South Africa) will not cave in. If ICC’s proposed changes go through, South Africa could boycott all international cricket. They feel it’s unfair for a few countries to call the shots in a world sport. I empathise with the likes of West Indies and Sri Lanka, who really don’t have enough money to compete with the giants. This is a sad state of affairs.”

“If India, England and Australia are exempted from possible Test relegation, while the rest sit on the fence and wait for their turn to play one of the three, we are going against the principles of fair play. We cannot call cricket a sport anymore, if that happens. I plead to the rest of the world, please speak up and try to stop this disaster from occurring. I don’t want history to repeat itself,” said an animated Pollock.

Simply put, cricket, already a game popular in a handful of nations, will become like American baseball, a game reserved for the few and ignored by the rest of the world. “Save the game,” signed off Pollock.When a 19-year-old Graeme Pollock smashed Graham McKenzie and Richie Benaud to all corners of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Donald Bradman, instantly floored, would tell ABC Radio: “The next time you (Graeme) decide to play like that, send me a telegram.”

Bradman made no bones about it, he felt Pollock was his left-handed successor with only Garry Sobers coming close. But Pollock’s career would end seven years later, at 26, by when he had 2256 runs in 23 Tests at 60.97. Among all who played at least 20 Tests, his average stands second to Bradman’s 99.94.

With Jawaharlal Nehru leading a Third World revolution, and countries from Asia finding a voice, South Africa paid the price of seclusion for practising Apartheid. Pollock was born in the wrong era.

All these years later, Pollock feels history could be repeating itself but this time not because of racial disharmony, but splitting the haves and have-nots, the rich and poor.

Pollock feels that if India, Australia and England “hijack” world cricket, it would destroy the beautiful sport. “I think the wisdom imparted through history by the Gandhis and Mandelas is already forgotten. We are allowing those with money and power to dictate terms again. This time, the sides have changed, the South Africans are have-nots and could pay the ultimate price,” an emotional Pollock told HT from Durban. If the “position paper” is cleared next week, cricket, as we know it will return to the dark days of the Imperial Cricket Conference, where you had to be a member of the British Empire to join and England and Australia both held a veto when it came to voting on anything to do with the game.

Pollock feels that South African cricket could go into isolation again. “We were taught the ideals of equality. Why should South Africa play any lesser cricket than say India or England? The feeling I am getting from here is that they (Cricket South Africa) will not cave in. If ICC’s proposed changes go through, South Africa could boycott all international cricket. They feel it’s unfair for a few countries to call the shots in a world sport. I empathise with the likes of West Indies and Sri Lanka, who really don’t have enough money to compete with the giants. This is a sad state of affairs.”

“If India, England and Australia are exempted from possible Test relegation, while the rest sit on the fence and wait for their turn to play one of the three, we are going against the principles of fair play. We cannot call cricket a sport anymore, if that happens. I plead to the rest of the world, please speak up and try to stop this disaster from occurring. I don’t want history to repeat itself,” said an animated Pollock.

Simply put, cricket, already a game popular in a handful of nations, will become like American baseball, a game reserved for the few and ignored by the rest of the world. “Save the game,” signed off Pollock.