Graeme Pollock

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Biographical information

Graeme Pollock

Synopsis:

One of South Africa’s most iconic cricketers and batsmen.

First name: 
Graeme
Last name: 
Pollock
Date of birth: 
27-February-1944
Location of birth: 
Durban, Natal, South Africa

Robert Graeme Pollock was born on 27 February 1944 in Durban. His father was a first-class cricketer and editor of the Port Elizabeth Herald. Pollock attended Grey High School, a well- known sports school where first displayed his cricket skills. While at the school he was selected to play for the Eastern Province. In 1961, he visited London with his parents and while there, played six matches for Sussex Second XI.

He entered the world of Test Cricket at the age of 19 when he was selected for the 1963–64 tour of Australia. His performance in the first two tests of the series was poor. This cast doubts about whether the 19 year old was ready for test cricket. Pollock soon proved himself to be an asset to the team. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury during the tour and was forced to miss two tests in the New Zealand Tour that soon followed.

During the mid-sixties, Pollock established himself as a cricketer of note. He and fellow cricketer and brother, Peter Pollock soon became a force. This was beautifully displayed during the 1964-65 England’s Tour of South Africa. Pollock and his older brother Peter became known as Big dog and little dog. Pollock’s performance during the English tour earned him critical acclaim and The Wisden Cricketer of the year title.

In 1968 England was to tour South Africa but the inclusion of a coloured player, Basil D'Oliveira in the team was against apartheid policies. Prime Minister J.B.Vorster refused England entry into South Africa if D’Oliveira was in the team. South Africa was expelled from international cricket soon after the incident. Their last match was against Australia. Pollock was only 26 years old and his Test career had abruptly come to an end. In 1971, fellow cricketers Mike Proctor and Barry Richards organized a protest against South Africa’s apartheid policies as it referred to cricket. Pollock took part in the protest where all the players walked off after one ball and issued a joint statement: “We cricketers feel that the time has come for an expression of our views. We fully support the South African Cricket Association's application to invite non-whites to tour Australia, if they are good enough. We further subscribe to the view that merit be the only criterion on the cricket field.”

After South Africa’s isolation Pollock played in unofficial Test matches. He was offered many times to play English Domestic Cricket but vehemently refused. He fully retired from cricket in 1988 and got fully involved in cricket administration. Among the positions he held are: Team selector with the Transvaal Cricket Council, President of the South African Cricket Players Association and test Selector for the United Cricket Board. In 2003 he was chosen to present the match awards at the Cricket World Cup in Johannesburg.

Pollock’s career spanned almost three decades and was one of the most successful cricket careers in South Africa. His highlights and achievements include becoming the youngest South African to score a first-class century at age 16, the youngest South African to score a double-century in first-class cricket at age 19 and the youngest South African to score a test century at age 19.  This record still stands. In 2009 he was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame as one of the first 55 players to be honoured.


References:
• ESPN Cric Info Graeme Pollock [online] Available at: www.espncricinfo.com [Accessed on 16 September 2013]
• South Africa Info Graeme Pollock, batsman supreme [online] Available at: https://www.southafrica.info [Accessed on 17 September 2013]
• Cricket 365 Graeme Pollock [online] Available at: www.cricket365.co.za [Accessed on 17 September 2013]

Last updated : 31-Jul-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 25-Sep-2013

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