Graeme Pollock in ICC Hall of Fame

27 February 2009

Graeme Pollock became the 55th player to be inducted into the International Cricket Council Hall of Fame on the opening day of the first test between South Africa and Australia at Liberty Life Wanderers on Thursday.

The induction of players into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame is part of the body’s Catch the Spirit campaign, which celebrates 100 years of the ICC’s existence. Pollock is only the second South African to be included in the Hall. Barry Richards was the first.

“It’s a special moment for me,” said Pollock. “It’s a great incentive for cricketers to aim for, but from my side, to be in the first 55 to be inducted has been fantastic.

“I didn’t get to play against a lot of the West Indian, Pakistan and Indian players but it’s an honour to be among them and the many more that I have looked up to and respected,” he added.

Record setter

Pollock holds the record as the youngest South African player to score a test century at the age of 19, and he was also the fastest South African to reach 2 000 test runs.

His record against Australia was especially impressive. He scored his highest test score of 274 – which was the South African record for 29 years – against the Australians in Durban, and he tallied 1 453 runs against them in 14 tests.

“I enjoy Australian cricket,” said Pollock. “They play cricket the right way. They’re positive and aggressive, which is what I admire about them.

“That 274 was a special moment in my career, that was one of the few times I batted with Barry (Richards) and that day in Durban stands out for me in my career.”

One of the themes of the Catch the Spirit celebrations is to recognise the spirit, sportsmanship and the courtesy in which the game is played around the world, and Pollock admits that the game has changed since his playing days.

“The game has become more professional because there is more at stake. It’s gotten harder and tighter. As a cricketer you have to respect the rules and the human being; people make mistakes. We have seen how the game has progressed with the referral system but the best system has to be in place when there is a great deal involved,” he reckoned.

The Catch the Spirit Campaign

Talking about the Catch the Spirit Campaign, ICC CEO, Haroon Lorgat said they encompass all aspects of the sport, as well as how the game has developed in the past 100 years.

He explained: “If you think about it, Catch the Spirit is everything about cricket. Everybody is excited. They’re into the sport and sharing in the celebrations of the centenary of the ICC.

“It’s not restricted to one date or one event in the year. Everywhere we go across the world people are sharing in the festivities. It’s been fascinating to see how we’ve taken the players across the world, how people have put this initiative into place. We have everyone from kids to elders all getting involved. It’s wonderful,” said Lorgat.

President of Cricket South Africa, Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka said: “Cricket South Africa is very grateful to the International Cricket Council for inducting one of our favourite and famous sons, Graeme Pollock, into its Hall of Fame.

‘A colossus’

“As a player, Graeme strode the cricketing stage like a colossus and it is a fitting tribute to him that he has now been inducted into the ICC’s Hall of Fame. It is through the deeds of the likes of great former players like Graeme Pollock that has helped immensely in taking South African cricket to the top of the international ratings decades later.

“We will not forget this contribution, and being in the Hall of Fame will ensure that history will record Graeme’s proper place in the annals of world cricket.”

Pollock ended his short career with 2 256 test runs at an average of 60.97, which is second only to the legendary Sir Donald Bradman in the history of test cricket.

CEO of Cricket South Africa Gerald Majola believes Pollock, who was voted South Africa’s Cricketer of the Twentieth Century, represents all that the Catch the Spirit campaign stands for.

‘The very highest level of batsmanship’

“Graeme Pollock reached the very highest level of batsmanship when he was active. But one of his greatest assets was that although he played it hard, he also played it fair. It is players like Graeme Pollock who proved that you can get to the top and stay there without going beyond the boundaries of the spirit of the game.

“Cricket South Africa is proud and honoured to have somebody of the calibre of Graeme Pollock in the ICC Hall of Fame – an achievement he so richly deserves.”

Respected cricket commentator and former England international Robin Jackman said it was a pity that Pollock’s international career was cut short.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for him, few more cricketers deserve such recognition,” he said.

“Graeme was a special cricketer and it’s a pity the world didn’t get to see more of him on the international front.”

Source: Cricket South Africa