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I never wanted to quit: Pollock
Faisal Shariff in Durban | March 16, 2003 19:37 IST
Nothing had changed. Shaun Pollock, immaculately dressed in a T-shirt and beige trouser, had the same gangly walk while coming to the presidential suite 15 minutes before the press conference at the Kingsmead ground.
Less than two weeks ago at the same ground, Pollock's destiny had been scripted. A tie with Sri Lanka pushed the home side out of the World Cup and sent a nation into mourning.
On Sunday, a day after being relieved of his duties as skipper, Pollock seemed relieved.
All through the conference, Pollock stressed that he had not resigned.
"I would never step down. I never wanted to quit. I didn't want to quit when things got tough.
"I was informed by [United Cricket Board chief executive] Gerald Majola and [convenor of selectors] Omar Henry that my services as captain would not be required."
Pollock, who led South Africa for three years, said he didn't know he was going to be sacked. And when he went for the meeting on Friday he felt that the decision had already been made.
"I have been criticised for my man management skills. I have always been a captain who led from the front. They did not like the leadership style I brought to the game," he said.
Pollock was severe on Henry, saying he did not get backing from him. "Before he became convenor of selectors he said I wasn't the ideal captain for South Africa.
"It did not seem very promising when the convenor of selectors said that," Pollock said.
He also said the team's performance in the World Cup has nothing to do with his sacking.
"Since the Hansie [Cronje] issue there has been an effort to ensure the captain isn't given too much power," Pollock said in Durban.
"Shared responsibility was the approach they wanted. That hasn't worked out from my perspective. As captain you want full support to be able to do what you want."
The irony was that even while his fate was being decided, he was the only person who didn't know about it.
On Wednesday, when the selectors scheduled a meeting to discuss the team for Sharjah, Pollock was on holiday and offered to fly down to Cape Town. Henry suggested that he stay back and enjoy his holiday.
Pollock said now he would look to bat higher up the order and also focus on achieving some personal goals.
"I will get behind the new captain [Graeme Smith] and make sure that South African cricket moves forward. Smith is a capable person. I had said that he would be the next captain because he has maturity beyond his age. I will always be there to help him."
He reckoned that Smith should have been given some time as vice-captain before being picked as skipper.
Pollock also cleared the air about the confusion during the game against Sri Lanka. He said when he returned to the dressing room after being run-out, there was a lot of debate about the decision.
"I asked my team members not to worry and assured them that we would win the game. I never saw the Duckworth-Lewis paper; it was in front of the coach."
Pollock was rather philosophical and said that the one thing he had learnt as skipper was that you never get an opportunity to defend yourself with regard to the decisions that you make.
"You live and die by your decisions.
"I will have a lot of time on my hands now. I will keep looking to change field placements, having done that for so long, but other than that it will be fine."
As he made his way out of the conference he learnt about the support that his former coach Bob Woolmer had shown.
"At least someone supports me," he said as he drove away.
South African cricket will never be the same again.