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Shaun Pollock

Shaun Pollock ©Reuters
Shaun Pollock ©Reuters

India Let The Game Drift Away After DRS Incident Of Dean Elgar On Day 3 Of The 3rd Test: Shaun Pollock

Shaun Pollock, the former South African player believes India let the game drift away a bit after the DRS incident involving Proteas captain Dean Elgar.

During the 21st over of the fourth innings, Dean Elgar was adjudged out LBW of Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling by Marais Erasmus, the on-field umpire. However, the Proteas skipper reviewed the on-field decision. Hawkeye showed the ball going over the top of stumps and overturned the on-field decision.

Dean Elgar - South Africa Test captain (Twitter)
Dean Elgar – South Africa Test captain (Twitter)

Shaun Pollock: India Lost The Plot For A Brief Time After DRS Helped In Overturning Dean Elgar’s LBW Dismissal

Virat Kohli and other fielders couldn’t believe the technology. Umpire Marais Erasmus as well couldn’t believe that the ball would bounce that high. Shaun Pollock, in his post-day review, said that the visitors lost the plot soon after the event.

“I think they lost the plot for a brief time there,” said Shaun Pollock.Shaun Pollock continued, speaking about Virat Kohli’s emotions: “Virat is emotional captain and that’s often a real positive for the team [because of] the energy he brings. … The team often takes the lead from him. … I think he just got a little bit upset. They thought they have got their second wicket.”

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock also added that the wicket being that of Dean Elgar made it more emotional, saying: “It was Dean Elgar who played so well at the Wanderers. He thought, he brought Ashwin in to the attack and it did the trick. They didn’t see it coming [ball going over the top]. It was a tough pill to swallow for them at that time. After that, there was a period of three or four overs, when emotions were high.”

Ironically, India got Dean Elgar out on the last ball of the day, again with the help of DRS. Albeit, it was just the Snicko meter that was required on that occasion. Shaun Pollock believes the wicket must have given them a bit of hope. Former Indian wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik also spoke about Hawkeye being neutral with the host broadcaster, SuperSport.

He said: “Just to set the record straight, the host broadcaster, SuperSport in this case, has nothing to do with that decision. DRS brings their own cameras to do ball tracking and that has shown the ball to go over the stumps. Obviously, all the tempers flaring is up because of emotions attached with the game. … It was a bitter pill to swallow for Indians.”

South Africa needed 111 runs to win, with eight wickets in hand at the end of Day 3. The situation, as well as the statistics, both are in favour of South Africa. Shaun Pollock believes that the Proteas have their noses ahead.

He said: “I think, South Africa should win this. The position South Africa is in now, India will need a really good bowling performance. India will feel that they have got off the hook, if they win this game. South Africa will feel like they have let themselves down, if they don’t get over the line. 111 runs to get, with 8 wickets in hand [should be easier]. We are not saying anything for sure, but South Africa’s noses are in front.”

Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 100-run knock came off 139 deliveries and was studded with six fours and four sixes. Despite his best efforts, Team India was bowled out for a mere 198 runs in their second innings. South Africa needs 212 runs to win the match and attain a memorable series triumph against the No. 1 ranked Indian team. The Proteas in their 2nd innings is 101/2 at Stumps needing a further 111 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand and 2 days left.

Dinesh Karthik Hopes India Will Come Back Charged And There’s A Twist In The 3rd Test Besides

Dinesh Karthik, on the other hand, expects a twist in the match.

He said: “I genuinely think there is a twist in the tale here. … They [India] will come back a lot more charged, tomorrow. They will know, after that DRS decision, they let the game drift a little bit, which is not something the Indian team is used to.”

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Dinesh Karthik also added that pacer Mohammed Shami will be the key bowler for India tomorrow.

He added: “For a strange reason, I feel, the key man for me will be Mohammed Shami. … I feel, cometh the hour, cometh the man always has been Bumrah, but I feel, tomorrow, Shami will be very special.”

Both the experts believe that Proteas winning the game will be upset considering the competence of both the teams.

South Africa 210 and 101 for 2 (Petersen 48*, Elgar 30, Shami 1-22) need another 111 runs to beat India 223 and 198 (Pant 100*, Jansen 4-36, Rabada 3-53, Ngidi 3-21)

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma[Image-Twitter]

Team Management Need To Be Honest With Ishant Sharma – Shaun Pollock

Former South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock has urged Indian team management to be honest with Ishant Sharma and they should tell him the exact reason why he wasn’t picked for the decider at Cape Town.

Notable that Mohammad Siraj missed the third test due to a hamstring injury so Ishant Sharma was likely to get a go but the team management decided to go with Umesh Yadav so his Ishant’s recent form hasn’t been great and his record in South Africa isn’t encouraging either.

Team Management Need To Be Honest With Ishant Sharma - Shaun Pollock 1
Ishant Sharma. (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP) /

Ishant Sharma picked 14 wickets in 8 Tests last year

However, Pollock insisted that India team management needs to tell him about his future. Noteworthy that India already was playing with 4 pace bowlers and still India didn’t prefer him.

“I think the communication needs to be good. The guy needs to be respected for what he has done,” Shaun Pollock spoke to Cricbuzz.

Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah (Photo-Getty)
Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah (Photo-Getty)

“You need to be honest with him and you need to give him the exact reason. If the reason was ‘we think you would be better suited if there were no left-handers,’ he just has to accept that,” he added.

Ishant picked just 14 wickets in 8 Tests with an average of 32.71 last year. He picked only 5 wickets in 2 Tests against England in Pataudi Trophy last year. He picked just 20 wickets in 7 matches with an average of 40. But Pollock argued that a veteran like him deserves an honest assessment from the team management.

“It’s not easy when you have played that much amount of cricket and have given some really good service. The conditions are good in South Africa and he must be dying for an opportunity, particularly after those two pitches. He must be thinking, ‘Gosh if I could just have a game here, I’m sure I could make an impact,” said Pollock.

“I hope the communication with him has been good because he deserves that and then he has to assess where he is at,” he added further.

India’s next Test assignment will be 2-Test series against Sri Lanka at home in February-March. Then in England, they will have one remaining test of unfinished series which was postponed last year due to a covid outbreak in the India camp. India is currently leading the series by 2-1. The rescheduled match will be played at Edgbaston from July 1.

Also read Somebody Of Mohammed Shami’s Calibre, You Can’t Keep Him Out Of The Game For A Long Time – Sunil Gavaskar

Shaun Pollock ©Reuters
Shaun Pollock ©Reuters

Shaun Pollock Reckons Having A High Backlift Is Making Scoring Difficult For Mayank Agarwal And Aiden Markram

Shaun Pollock, the ex-Protea skipper reckons having a high backlift is making scoring difficult for the opener of India Mayank Agarwal and his Proteas counterpart Aiden Markram in the ongoing 3 matches Test series.

Mayank Agarwal has scored 135 runs in six innings at an average of 22.50, with a solitary half-century. Aiden Markram has fared even worse, managing only 60 runs in five innings at an average of 12.

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock Reckons Mayank Agarwal And Aiden Markram Have Issues On Surfaces Where There’s Movement Off The Air And Seam

Mayank Agarwal was caught behind for 7 off Kagiso Rabada’s bowling in India’s second innings on Wednesday. Analyzing both the openers’ woes, Shaun Pollock said that the duo of Aiden Markram and Mayank Agarwal have high backlifts which cause problems in conditions where there is movement through the air and off the seam.

“I think he’s got a little bit of a similar thing to Markram. I have never been a fan of guys who pick the bat up steep and keep it close. In order to defend or play, you’ve got to, sort of drop it into the slot. Guys who have their backlift quite low to the ground, Kallis, Root, Kohli to a degree, AB de Villiers, they can be soft on what they decide to do. When they want to bail out of a shot, they are not 100 percent committed to the downswing,” said Shaun Pollock.

Mayank Agarwal (left) and Aiden Markram. Pics: Getty Images
Mayank Agarwal (left) and Aiden Markram. Pics: Getty Images

The South African legend Shaun Pollock pointed out that batters can adjust their high backlift in subcontinental conditions, where the ball doesn’t nip around. However, the case is not the same in a place like South Africa.

Shaun Pollock added: “Him and Markram have a similar kind of issue on these surfaces that are nipping around. On flatter surfaces in India, you can rely on your bat speed and get away with it. But when you are asked (questions) by the movement through the air and off the seam, sometimes he (Agarwal) is found wanting. That may be something he has to have a look.”

In his last 14 innings in away Tests, Mayank Agarwal has scored only one half-century, which came in the first innings of the Centurion encounter. In the first innings too, Mayank Agarwal was dropped on 0, before he scored 15 before edging Kagiso Rabada to second slip, where Aiden Markram completed an easy catch.

Mayank Agarwal started the 3 Test series against South Africa on a promising note, scoring a 123-ball 60 in difficult conditions in Centurion. But his form tapered off after that, with scores of 4, 26, 23, 15, and 7 in the next five innings.

Dinesh Karthik Reckons Ravichandran Ashwin Will Come Into The Game Very Much In The 4th Innings

The visitors ended Day 2 of the Cape Town Test with a lead of 70 and eight second-innings wickets in hand. According to wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli-led India should feel comfortable if they score 270.

He stated: “Both teams haven’t batted to their potential. SA have a far lighter batting compared to India. But India, a lot of times, they start well but somewhere they seem to fritter away a bit. For me, if they can manage anything above 270, I think they would be sitting pretty in this Test match.”

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Dinesh Karthik opined that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has had a quiet series in pace-friendly conditions, might finally have a decisive role to play.

He elaborated: “Ashwin will come into the game very much in the 4th innings. Anything under 240, South Africa will fancy themselves. A lot will depend on Dean Elgar. He is the glue that holds South Africa together. If they get him out early, any score is going to be hard enough for South Africa.”

India will resume their second innings on 57 for 2, with Virat Kohli unbeaten on 14 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 9. India bundled out South Africa for a paltry 210, gaining a small lead of 13 runs at the halfway stage of the match. There are still three days left in the ongoing Test match. It will be interesting to see if India can bat throughout the third day or if South Africa will make early inroads.

Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara

It Was A Different Virat Kohli Innings And I Enjoyed It – Shaun Pollock

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock was in awe of Virat Kohli’s gritty knock on the first day of the final test match in Cape Town. Kohli played a gritty knock of 79 off 201 balls, though other Indian batters couldn’t replicate him as India bowled out for 223 in the first innings of the decider.

However, Kohli has been praised by one and all for his patient knock. Shaun Pollock also joined the bandwagon and he said that the Indian captain applied himself to counter the conditions against a challenging bowling attack. Kohli scored his second slowest fifty of his career as he reached the mark in 158 balls. Notable that Kohli hasn’t scored a hundred since November 2019 but as he looked like getting one, he ran out of partners so he chased an outside off-stump delivery in search of quick runs.

World Test Championship, India
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Kohli played a gritty knock of 79 in 201 balls.

Pollock pointed out that Kohli was very watchful and circumspect while choosing his shot in his innings as the Indian captain looked determined to play a big knock.

“Mental application was the key to him. I think he came in with the mindset that, ‘I haven’t got a 100 in a while so I’m going to get stuck in here and try and get a big score and try to get to the three-figure mark.’

“He was very, very watchful about what he did. It was the second-slowest fifty that he’s ever compiled. The slowest was off 170-odd balls, I think it was in Nagpur on a very slow surface. And the third-slowest was off 120 so it just shows on the scale where it fits in,” Shaun Pollock spoke to Cricbuzz reviewing the first day’s play.

Notable that Kohli has been guilty of chasing wide deliveries outside off which caused his many dismissals of late. But in this knock, he was ready to play the waiting game. However, in between, he kept producing some beautiful cover drives.

England's James Anderson (R) celebrates the dismissal of India's captain Virat Kohli (L) during the first day of third Test cricket match at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England. (Photo | AP)
England’s James Anderson (R) celebrates the dismissal of India’s captain Virat Kohli (L) during the first day of the third Test cricket match at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England. (Photo | AP)

“I think also, the shot selection. He didn’t go after anything, was very conscious about waiting for the bad balls. There were a few half-volleys that were bowled to him and every time he got one of those, he put those away. It was a different Virat Kohli innings and I must say, I enjoyed it,” he added.

At the close of the first day’s play, the hosts scored 17/1 as they lost the wicket of Dean Elgar. Aiden Markram (8*) and nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj (6*) remained unbeaten at the stumps.

Also read There Was Never A Concern With The Way Virat Kohli Was Batting-Vikram Rathour

KL Rahul after his century in Centurion. Photo- AFP
KL Rahul after his century in Centurion. Photo- AFP

Shaun Pollock And Dinesh Karthik Rated KL Rahul As Test Skipper After Day 2 Of 2nd Test

Shaun Pollock and Dinesh Karthik have rated stand-in captain KL Rahul’s leadership skills after two days of play in the ongoing second India vs South Africa Test.

KL Rahul got the opportunity to captain after both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were ruled out from the Test due to injuries and Ajinkya Rahane wasn’t trusted enough for the role because of his recent batting form. In his short tenure, he has seen India bowl the hosts out for 229 and takes a lead of 58 runs after stumps on Day 2.

KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock Feels KL Rahul Had Faced Challenges Well In His 1st Test As Skipper While Dinesh Karthik Feels His Good Form Helped In Captaincy

The former Proteas pacer Shaun Pollock was impressed with KL Rahul’s composure against challenges like Mohammed Siraj’s injury and Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami’s brilliant but wicket-less spells.

In this regard, Shaun Pollock said:  “I think he’s been good. He’s had a few challenges, hasn’t he? I mean Siraj getting injured, that’s never easy as a captain when one of your lead bowlers goes missing in action… He would have been scratching his head a little bit after the first session today. The bowlers were brilliant… but as a captain you do feel when you don’t pick wickets, ‘What more am I supposed to do? … Do I have to think out of the box?’ And I don’t think he did and eventually, he got the reward just before Lunch.”

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock also liked KL Rahul’s use of Ravichandran Ashwin and his possible encouraging chats with Shardul Thakur, who bowled a magnificent spell of 7/61. Shaun Pollock said the Karnataka lad has “ticked a lot of boxes”, adding that it will be interesting to see how he handles the final innings of the Test. Shaun Pollock had also praised Shardul Thakur’s wicket-taking ability earlier.

Shaun Pollock said: “The way he used Ashwin was OK, he got him to look in and see if there was any assistance. You never know what goes behind the scenes but obviously, some conversations with Shardul Thakur were important and he got him to believe, kept him going… So I would say he’s ticked a lot of boxes, no problems there whatsoever. It’s going to be interesting next time around. Can he manage his troops to victory, no matter what score they get?”

In the same video, Dinesh Karthik said in-form stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s good batting form has helped his captaincy. Dinesh Karthik also hailed his bowling changes, lauding how the opening-batter never lets his emotions out on the field.

Dinesh Karthik said: “I think he’s handled it well. Obviously, he’s in good batting form which helps. Just the moves that he made… his thought process was right… He’s always looked like a calm and composed captain. He’s a pretty emotional character per se but it never comes out in the field.”

KL Rahul is indeed in good form, currently leading the series charts with 204 runs at an average of 51. However, he failed to cross double digits for the first time in the series on Tuesday, getting out for 8 against Marco Jansen.

Dinesh Karthik Opens Up On Rishabh Pant’s Controversial Catch To Dismiss Rassie van der Dussen

Earlier also there was a caught behind appeal which was not taken cleanly by Rishabh Pant. Dinesh Karthik also opined on the small controversy that unfolded when Rassie van der Dussen was given out caught behind by Rishabh Pant at the stroke of lunch.  The batter walked back immediately after seeing the umpire’s finger go up but slow-motion replays later suggested that it might have bounced off the ground.
Later, South African Test skipper Dean Elgar reportedly met match officials to discuss the incident as well. Dinesh Karthik, a ‘keeper himself, explained that it wouldn’t have been easy for Rishabh Pant to know it. Dinesh Karthik feels that even when HD images can’t give conclusive evidence, it’s better to just stick with the fielder’s word and the on-field umpires’ judgment.
Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant | Twitter

Dinesh Karthik said: “As soon as you get your head away it’s hard to see the ball and because you have a glove there which obviously has a lot of leather in it … what it does is the impact on the ground is not seen so you are not sure if it has come into the gloves or just bounced off the ground and this happens a lot… And in spite of all the HD technology and everything it’s really hard (to judge) so we have to, as a thumb rule, go with what the fielder says and on top of that we have two umpires there [so] trust them…”

Shardul Thakur’s seven-wicket haul however couldn’t stop South Africa from taking a 27-run first-innings lead but India started their second innings positively and was 85 for 2 – ahead by 58 – at stumps on day two of the second Test in Johannesburg.

India 202 and 85 for 2 (Pujara 35*, Rahane 11*, Jansen 1-18) lead South Africa 229 (Petersen 62, Bavuma 51, Thakur 7-61) by 58 runs

Shardul Thakur. (Credits: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Credits: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock Reckons There Must Be A Self Belief In Shardul Thakur’s Performances After The Pacer Picks Career Best Figures Of 7/61

Shaun Pollock was in awe of pacer Shardul Thakur after the all-rounder recorded the best figures by an Asian in South Africa – 7/61 – in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Shardul Thakur, called to bowl after 37 overs, brandished his Golden Arm to break two crucial partnerships and give the visitors vital breakthroughs at just the right moments. His marathon spell of about 18 overs was a mix of consistency and variety and helped India restrict South Africa to a first-innings lead of just 27.

Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.
Shardul Thakur Photo: AFP.

Shaun Pollock: There Must Be A Self Belief In Shardul Thakur’s Performances

Jumping on the trend wagon of the cricket fraternity, former Proteas pacer Shaun Pollock explained that “Lord” Shardul Thakur’s wicket-taking ability is rooted in his self-belief, his use of the bowling crease, a solid game plan, and almost a “magical desire” to succeed.

Shaun Pollock said:  “There must be a self-belief in #LordThakur (chuckles), with the way he’s performed. And a brilliant 7/61… I think just his angle on the crease was the key to his success here. From wide, he was angling in and getting it to shape away, and then if it didn’t do that, it would sort of nip back and get the batters to play at it.”

Shaun Pollock added: “His game plan was pretty good, he didn’t mix it up too much, there was the odd short delivery thrown in but he just kept running in almost like he had this magical or real desire to try and prove a point…”

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Speaking in the same video, wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik said he has a “special place” in his heart for Shardul Thakur. He said he has admired the fast-bowler since his state cricket days for Mumbai, where he had a similar knack for breaking partnerships and went on to become lead pacer along with Dhawal Kulkarni.

Dinesh Karthik added to Shaun Pollock’s points, saying: “I have a special place for him in my heart only because as a domestic player he’s played 60-70 matches for Bombay [Mumbai] which has done phenomenally well… Obviously, he started as the third bowler but went on to become their lead bowler along with Dhawal Kulkarni and did brilliantly well for them.”

“He was the guy who used to pick up wickets early, partnership breaker there as well, so he’s used to this. And just his attitude – I mean, if you just look at him and look at the skills of a Bumrah or a Shami, you go ‘Wow, what’s so special about him?’ But I think his specialty is his self-confidence.”

This was also Shardul Thakur’s maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket. Five of his wickets were South Africa’s top and middle-order batters, with two of them – Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma – half-centurions and the top-scorers of the 1st innings of the Proteas. After his brilliant spell, India lost two wickets but raced to 85-2 (lead of 58) before stumps.

Shaun Pollock: It Will Be A Really Big Ask For South African Team If India Set A Target Of 220 Plus

Looking ahead on Day 3, Shaun Pollock said South Africa will come with a “different” approach – probably a more circumspect one as the bowlers leaked quite a few runs trying to be aggressive. He feels that a target of 220 or more should be defendable for India on a pitch that will only misbehave more and more.

Shaun Pollock said: “I think South Africa’s approach will be a lot different. I think India would go in a lot happier than they would have [expected] after the partnership, the rate at which they scored the runs and the 58 they have on the board. It’s going to be interesting. The wicket is going to continue misbehaving… I think if India can set anything more than 220-225 and up to 250, it will be a really big ask of South Africa to try and knock that off.”

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shardul Thakur marked his best figures with the red-ball, taking as many as seven wickets conceding just 61 runs during South Africa’s first innings. He delivered whenever stand-in skipper KL Rahul called upon him and got India back into the game with his breakthroughs. Shardul Thakur has so far played 6 Tests picking 23 scalps averaging 19.17 besides amassing 204 runs with 3 fifties averaging 25.5.

Shardul Thakur’s seven-wicket haul however couldn’t stop South Africa from taking a 27-run first-innings lead but India started their second innings positively and was 85 for 2 – ahead by 58 – at stumps on day two of the second Test in Johannesburg.

India 202 and 85 for 2 (Pujara 35*, Rahane 11*, Jansen 1-18) lead South Africa 229 (Petersen 62, Bavuma 51, Thakur 7-61) by 58 runs

Quinton de Kock has also been the captain of the South Africa Test team. (Reuters)
Quinton de Kock has also been the captain of the South Africa Test team. (Reuters)

Shaun Pollock Reckons There Might Always Be Calls Requesting Quinton de Kock To Come Out Of Test Retirement

Shaun Pollock believes that South African wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock announcing his Test retirement and the uproar that has followed it “might not be the end of the saga.”

The former Proteas pacer Shaun Pollock said on Monday that like in the case of dashing batsman AB de Villiers, there might be calls for Quinton de Kock to come out of retirement after two to three years. Quinton de Kock, 29, in his official statement said he wants to spare time for his young family, which is set to welcome a child soon.

Quinton de Kock during the 1st Test against India.(Twitter/CSA)
Quinton de Kock during the 1st Test against India.(Twitter/CSA)

Shaun Pollock Reckons There Might Always Be Calls Requesting Quinton de Kock To Come Back Citing Example Of AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers left international cricket in 2018 against a similar backdrop, saying he was “tired,” but later offered to return in 2019 and was unofficially asked to come back in 2021, neither of which could go through.

Speaking after Day 1 of the second India-South Africa Test in Johannesburg, Shaun Pollock shared his “funny feeling,” saying: “I have also got a funny feeling that it might not be the end of the saga. I think two maybe three years down the line, much like an ABD (AB de Villiers) discussion because ‘Quinny’ is such a fine player, there might always be calls for maybe him to come back.”

South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock, announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect. The announcement comes on the backdrop of South Africa’s defeat in the first Test match against India in Centurion, where the visitors won by 113 runs and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Incidentally, Quinton de Kock began 2021 as South Africa’s temporary Test captain and ended it by retiring from the format.

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock admitted that Quinton de Kock’s decision was “sad” and “shocking” but acknowledged that the constant quarantines have taken a toll on the players’ mental health. Shaun Pollock added that keeper Quinton de Kock would have also considered having more fun (not to mention earning more) by playing in lucrative T20 leagues around the world.

Shaun Pollock said: “It is sad and it would have come out as shocking… I think just mentally the bubbles, continuously being away from home are maybe taking its effect on the individuals. ‘Quinny’ is a guy who likes to go hunting, fishing, he likes to spend a bit of time away from the game and he’s not been able to do that.”

“Then obviously, at this stage of his career, he’s 29, you look at what sort of floats your boat, what is the format that you really get excited about, you know, there’s a lot of T20 leagues where he can just stand and deliver and probably have a lot of fun and probably takes a bit of stress off his body.”

Shaun Pollock called upon cricket boards to be considerate of the players’ health and find more efficient ways to preserve the “truest” format-Test cricket.

He said: “So it did come as a surprise but you can understand it. And that’s why we’ve always been concerned about the Test format, we see it as the truest test of the game. But I think the boards need to be very conscious of how they deal with their players, particularly in this Covid time, how they can make the best of them.”

Quinton de Kock finished his red-ball career with 3300 runs, including six hundred and 22 fifties, in 54 Tests at an average of 38.82. He was considered a leader having led for a few games and a star of the Proteas’s Test lineup and has certainly left their cricket poorer. Kyle Verreynne took the gloves in place of the retired Quinton de Kock in the ongoing 2nd Test.

Quinton de Kock had scored 34 runs in the first innings of the Centurion Test, followed by 21 in the second. He also affected 232 dismissals (221 catches and 11 stumpings) behind the wicket besides scoring 3300 Test runs.

Dinesh Karthik Hopes South Africa Could Accept And Move On From Quinton de Kock’s Test Retirement

Speaking during the same interaction, Indian wicketkeeper-batter veteran Dinesh Karthik expressed hope that the Proteas could accept and move on from Quinton de Kock’s sudden Test retirement because “Test cricket needs South Africa” at its best.

Dinesh Karthik said: “He just wants to move on with his family which is very, very interesting and understandable but you know, I just hope that South Africa is able to accept what has happened and move on in a good manner because Test cricket needs South Africa to be firing, a good South African side is very important for world cricket.”

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The Johannesburg Test is piquantly poised with the hosts at 35-1, 167 runs behind India’s total of 202 after Day 1.

Shardul Thakur has put an end to a 74-run stand for the second wicket between Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen as the pacer removed South Africa captain in his second over of Day 2. Shardul Thakur also removed the dangerous Keegan Petersen (62) and Rassie van der Dussen (1). His figures read 3/8 after 4.5 overs. His effort saw South Africa reduced to 102/4 at Lunch.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

Dinesh Karthik Believes Either Cheteshwar Pujara Or Ajinkya Rahane Will Have To Make Way If Virat Kohli Returns For The 3rd Test

Dinesh Karthik believes that one of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will have to make way if regular skipper injured Virat Kohli returns for the final Test against South Africa. The wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik remarked on Monday that Team India’s “long rope” given to the two senior middle-order batters has burnt slowly and is now nearing its end.

The under-fire duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failed once again, scoring 3 (33) and 0 (1) respectively on Day 1 of the second Test in Johannesburg. While Ajinkya Rahane has been under immense pressure since getting stripped of his vice-captaincy, Cheteshwar Pujara completed three years without a hundred on Monday, thus getting under the scanner more than ever.

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Dinesh Karthik: Long Rope Given To Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Slowly Burning Out  And coming To An End

Ajinkya Rahane has scored just 1 hundred since October 2019 and his career average fell below 40 after the repeated failures, while Cheteshwar Pujara hasn’t hit a century since January 2019.

Dinesh Karthik said: “At No. 3 in inarguably the world’s best cricket team, to find a spot there for three years and not score a hundred – he (Pujara) will know he’s got a long, long rope. To a large extent they are playing because of the potential they have, and the performances they have shown, and obviously, they are senior statesmen [in the team] as well.”

“But the long rope they have been given is slowly burning out and you are coming to the end of it. I am very, very sure that they are both aware of it. Also, we have got to see the potential of the players at the back, they have done as well. Now if Virat Kohli returns, you get a feeling that one of the two has to give way,” said Dinesh Karthik.

Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo: Twitter)
Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo: Twitter)

Dinesh Karthik feels that despite being just three-Test-old in his role, head coach Rahul Dravid won’t hesitate in making the “harsh decisions” on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. He said Rahul Dravid must have tried to contribute to their careers initially but will now have to accept that “it isn’t meant to be”.

Dinesh Karthik added: “When Rahul Dravid was at the fag end of his career, it was actually Pujara who came in and did well at that No. 3 spot, put pressure on him to eventually take his spot… Obviously, that circle comes around… I do think Rahul Dravid will have to make a couple of harsh decisions and if that means dropping one or both of them, he’ll be open to it because he knows that they have been given a long rope before…”

“You don’t want to set the ground ablaze by making the big decisions right at the outset so I think he’s waiting and trying to assess what he can contribute to their careers and if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be,” said Dinesh Karthik.

To be fair, only two Indian batters namely KL Rahul (50) and Ravichandran Ashwin (46) crossed 30 on Monday in the team’s total first innings score of 202 in tough batting conditions at the Wanderers. But the fact that Cheteshwar Pujara failed to build on his 33-ball start and Ajinkya Rahane again got out playing a needless stroke called upon specific criticism.

Shaun Pollock: Decision To Axe Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Should Be Before Test Series Against Relatively Easier West Indies And Bangladesh

Speaking in the same video, former Proteas pacer Shaun Pollock said India could make the “decision” on the under-fire duo Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane before their next Test series against West Indies and Bangladesh, to give time for youngsters to settle in.

He argued: “That’s sometimes the time, in many ways, to make a decision. Not before a big, tough series but it can be just a period where you make a call and say, ‘You guys come in and we give you not as highly ranked opponents as Australia or England’ to just settle themselves so they are ready to go for a big series. It could be interesting times.”

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Both players have been woefully out of form with the bat in Tests over the last two years, with Cheteshwar Pujara averaging 20.38 and 28.08, while Ajinkya Rahane has managed 38.85 and 20.83 in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Ajinkya Rahane has managed just 479 runs in 2021 at a paltry average of 20.83 while Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 702 runs at an average of 28.08.

South Africa was 35 for one at stumps on Day 1 in response to India’s 202 all-out. South Africa is currently 100/2 with Dean Elgar losing his wicket to Shardul Thakur. Mohammed Shami had picked a wicket earlier on Day 1. Keegan Petersen is unbeaten on 61 off 110 balls.

India cricket team. Credits: BCCI
India cricket team. Credits: BCCI

Dinesh Karthik : Current Indian Team Arguably Best Test Side The Country Ever Had

Dinesh Karthik termed the current Indian team led by Virat Kohli as one of the best Test sides the country has ever had. Wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik also credited the bowling unit for playing key roles in India’s away wins.

Virat Kohli-led India scripted history on Thursday, defeating South Africa by 113 runs to register their first-ever Test match triumph in Centurion.

Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Dinesh Karthik: Current Indian Test Team Arguably Best For Their Overseas Records

Reflecting on India’s memorable victory, Dinesh Karthik told Shaun Pollock during an interaction that despite the middle-order batting unit not firing and not performing at their best, India is winning many matches overseas. The due credit should be given to the quality Indian pace attack, feels the veteran keeper.

“This is arguably one of India’s best ever Test teams, only because of their overseas record over a period of time. The batting actually hasn’t fired as much as they would have liked. We keep speaking about the fact that the middle-order batters – Rahane, Pujara and Kohli – haven’t got hundreds. Still, they are winning Test matches abroad. And we are talking about the top teams in the world – Australia, South Africa and England.”

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Hailing India’s bowlers, particularly the pace bowling department, for their brilliant performances in the team’s wins, Dinesh Karthik added: “Credit has to be given to the bowlers. They have been fantabulous over a period of time. The fast bowlers – Shami, Bumrah, Siraj now and Ishant, obviously, over a period of time – have been phenomenal for India.”

Analyzing India’s growing success away from home, Shaun Pollock pointed out that past Indian teams haven’t had the luxury of quality backup pacers.

Elaborating on his views, the South African legend said: “India haven’t had that third and fourth bowling options in the past. They had Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad but the back-up seamers weren’t able to do the job. Spinners are obviously not as effective (in South Africa).”

While speaking about India’s current bowling line-up, Pollock added: “India have always had some fantastic batters. The balance to this bowling attack is as good as we have ever seen in this country. That’s why India have had the success. They have got those wickets. You have to get those runs on the board but India have always had guys who have scored hundreds. The balance bowling wise is why India are doing so well.”

Mohammed Shami led the bowling charge for India in Centurion, claiming eight wickets, while Jasprit Bumrah snared five. Virat Kohli-led Team India made light work of the remaining six South African wickets on Day 5 as the visitors registered an emphatic 113-run win against the hosts at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. A disappointing day for South Africa saw them add only 97 runs on the final day as they went on to lose six wickets in the process.

Dinesh Karthik Confident That India Will Win Maiden Series In South Africa

India has never won a Test series in South Africa to date. However, Dinesh Karthik is confident India can break the jinx this time. Referring to India’s record in Johannesburg, the venue for the second Test, the keeper-batter signed off by stating that he is optimistic of India’s chances of a record maiden Test series win on South African soil.

“I am pretty confident that this series will belong to India. I say that mainly because of the record they have in Johannesburg. They have found a way to win in Johannesburg twice. It is one of their happy hunting grounds. The fact that they are going there to play the second Test there will keep them in good stead.”

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

India defeated South Africa by 123 runs in Johannesburg in 2006/07 (their first Test win in the country) and by 63 runs in 2017-18. India wrapped up a memorable 2021 in style by bringing down South Africa’s citadel, the Supersport Park, as they handed the Proteas a 113-run loss in the opening Test.

The quartet of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur shone brightly in India’s historic win over South Africa. KL Rahul received the Player of the Match award for his 123 (260) in the first innings before the Indian pace bowling quartet helped in dismissing the hosts within 200 runs twice in both innings.

India achieved their victory despite the entire second day of the Test being washed out due to rain and taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The second Test will be played in Johannesburg from Jan. 3-7, with the third set for Cape Town from Jan. 11-15. India is seeking a first-ever Test series win in South Africa.

Shaun Pollock ©Reuters
Shaun Pollock ©Reuters

Indian Batsmen Were Slightly Overconfident On 3rd Day Of Centurion Test, Says Shaun Pollock

Shaun Pollock, the former South African all-rounder ex-captain feels that the India batters were a little ‘overconfident’ which resulted in their collapse on the third day of the ongoing Boxing Day Test in Centurion. On Tuesday, India resumed innings on 272 for 3 but they lost all the remaining seven wickets for just 55 runs.

Following their batting show on an opening day, it was expected that tourists might pile up around 400 runs in the first innings. However, the likes of Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada ran through the Indian batting line-up and bundled them out for 327.

South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi (AP Photo)
South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi (AP Photo)

Shaun Pollock Reckons That It’s Concerning That Someone Can’t Stop The Fall Of Indian Wickets

The middle-order is once again under the scanner following another paltry performance on Tuesday. Shaun Pollock was of the opinion that none of the batters took the initiative to avoid the collapse.

“I think it’s always concerning that someone can’t stop the rut. You can always lose 2-3 wickets but the fact that someone can’t stop it is a little bit of a concern…,” said Shaun Pollock.

“Mindset wise the conundrum for a coach is you never want to… overtalk about how things could or couldn’t go wrong [but] you just think maybe Rahul Dravid was tempted at the start of play on Day 3 to say, ‘Listen, guys, we batted superbly on Day 1 but let’s not take it for granted. Let’s apply ourselves, let’s really get stuck in, let’s build it from the beginning once again,'” said Shaun Pollock.

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I think it was a case of maybe they (the batters) were slightly overconfident coming onto the crease and then a combination of your lower-order – Ashwin, Thakur, Shami, Bumrah, Siraj… those guys haven’t had much time in the middle, they need a little bit of game time, additional practices and maybe were just short of a gallop,” Shaun Pollock said.

Despite the sudden fall of the batting line-up, India didn’t lose the grip on the game as they bowled out the hosts for just 197, taking a 146-run lead in the second innings by stumps on day 3. Mohammad Shami (16-5-44-5) and his pace bowling colleagues Jasprit Bumrah (7.2-2-16-2), Mohammed Siraj (15.1-3-45-1), and Shardul Thakur (11-1-51-2) further enhanced their reputation as world-beaters by dismissing the Proteas for mere 197.

South Africa Missed Anrich Nortje And Duanne Olivier

Like in 2018 against India, Lungi Ngidi took a five-for to lead South Africa’s fightback on Day 2 of the Centurion Test, but the hosts missed the injured Anrich Nortje and Duanne Olivier. It took the home side all of 84 minutes on the third morning of the opening Test to run through India’s batting, bowling them out for 327 in their first innings. India’s lost seven wickets for 55 runs, having resumed on their robust first-day score of 272/3.
Anrich Nortje.
Anrich Nortje.- Twitter
The two quicks Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada bowled almost half the first innings overs—50 of the total 105.3 overs—and shared nine of the wickets. But they were leading a bowling attack that otherwise carried no real venom. The X factor Anrich Nortje would have provided with his express pace—he is nursing an injury—was sorely missed. The in-form fast bowler Duanne Olivier, back in the mix, was reportedly not match-fit.
Mohammad Shami bagged a five-wicket haul, the sixth in his career, helping India bundle out the hosts for 197. Mohammad Shami is now the 11th Indian bowler to pick up 200 or more wickets and only the fifth fast bowler to reach the milestone. India had bundled out South Africa for 197 in the third session before the hosts lost Mayank Agarwal’s wicket minutes before the end of the play.
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