Graeme Pollock Biography
In a Test career that ended at the age of 26, Graeme Pollock plundered 2256 runs in 23 Tests at an average of 60.97 with seven hundreds. Among all the players who turned out in at least 20 Test matches, Pollock’s batting average stands second only to Don Bradman’s 99.94. The Don did not have to look too far behind him when he named Pollock as the greatest left-handed batsman he had ever seen. When he had scored 122 in his very third Test at the age of 19 against Graham McKenzie and Richie Benaud, Bradman had told him, “Next time you decide to play like that send me a telegram.”
One of the first batsmen to use a heavy bat, Pollock scored freely off good deliveries. That did not make him lenient towards the bad ones. Standing upright at his full six feet, two inches, Pollock used his reach to perfection. The long right leg would go down to the pitch of the ball, and the heavy bat would come down on it — sending it screaming through the off-side. If it was a wee bit short of good length, his excellent balance would help him transfer the weight onto his back foot and cut it away through point. He was a fierce puller as well.
What might have been if he had been allowed to continue on the highest stage of cricket is best left to conjecture. However, 20,940 runs in 262 First-Class matches at an average of 54 with 64 centuries do provide some indication. Graeme Pollock was no flash in the pan. He was touched by greatness, and the contact had been substantial. His 26 Tests had been played over six years, due to the few countries that had cricketing ties with South Africa in those days. In its small way, his record had stood the test of time.
During the isolation, Pollock did not emulate the other great South Africans by playing county cricket in England, but continued to represent Transvaal. His final appearance in International cricket came at the age of 42, against the rebel Australian team in January 1987. He hit the ball beautifully for 144. The final moment of poignancy came when he reflected on his career after the match, and said, “I can see the justice of our cricket isolation now, though it was hard at the time.”