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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Pollock made scapegoat: Wessels

Ashish Magotra in Durban | March 16, 2003 14:38 IST

There is a mixed response to Graeme Smith's appointment on Sunday as South African skipper.

It was known that heads would roll and that Shaun Pollock's captaincy was in danger. But to name Smith, who has not played a single Test outside South Africa, has raised a few eyebrows. Pollock has refused to comment on the issue.

"Graeme Smith is a positive young cricketer and he has a lot going for him. He may struggle a little initially but in the long run it will prove to be a good move," said former South African cricketer and Western Province coach Peter Kirsten.

He said: "It is a very bold move by the selectors.

"Smith is young and very enthusiastic, so much like Hansie Cronje. Hansie was a young captain too but he performed very well. Graeme has similar traits; is very confident and is a good reader of the game even though he does not have too much experience at the highest level.

"The captaincy issue was being discussed for around a year and the decision is not really a surprise.

"Shaun took over from Hansie at a very difficult time but I think the decision is in the best interests of South African cricket. He did not bring the decision upon himself but the dismal performance in the World Cup sealed the issue I guess."

Asked about Neil McKenzie, who was also being considered for the job, Kirsten said: "He certainly has leadership credentials, but the selectors have sidelined for the past two-three months.

"The selectors could have opted for the easy way. They could have named Gary Kirsten or Mark Boucher as captain, a temporary solution until the best man was found for the job."

Kirsten burst out laughing when the name of Herschelle Gibbs was mentioned. "Herschelle can never be the skipper.

"Shaun will, however, remain a very important cog in the South African team," he said.

Former South African skipper Kepler Wessels said the selectors had taken the wrong decision.

"They have panicked too early. Graeme Smith needs to establish himself in the team first and only then can you give him the captaincy. He is very young and the stress of captaincy may just break him," added Wessels.

"Pollock has just been made a convenient scapegoat for the mistakes made by the selectors, the team-management and the team. It was the easiest thing to do. People were expecting it so lay all the blame on the skipper.

"Graeme has never captained a side before in his life and I think he will have a tough time."

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: whatz happening??????

now where is south-african cricket heading? it sure isn't going pakistan's way. a player who hasn't been in active cricket in the past is now ...

Posted by kalyan

Sub: Pollock made scapegoat

I don't think South Africa played badly. Their one game was tied with Sri Lanka which they could have won. Against West Indies, it was ...

Posted by Desmond


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