Pollock tests journalist reflexes

Shaun Pollock bowled hard despite Brisbane’s infamous humidity and then batted twice during a net session that was unusually hard for the day before a match.

The South African captain seemed to be enjoying the Durban-style heat after the chilly temperatures of Hobart and the quest to find his best form before the tour finishes shows no sign of abating.

South African journalists know the form by now and don’t always spend all four hours at the nets. There were certain things to look out for on Friday before the double-header over the weekend but, like most days, 90 per cent of the practise was ‘routine’.

Jacques Kallis came through his net session unscathed and apparently fit after bowling for the first time since twisting his ankle in the opening game against Australia at the MCG on Sunday.

Allan Donald, however, took no part in the session – at least, not a batting or bowling part – and now seems certain to miss Saturday’s match against New Zealand. “We might consider him for Sunday’s match against Australia if he can bowl without discomfort,” Pollock said.

Donald, meanwhile, was put through some excruciating exercises to strengthen his stomach muscles which involved him lying on his back, arched over an outrageously sized beach ball while attempting to catch a medicine ball. Most individuals would have torn their stomach muscles to pieces, not strengthened them.

Just as the practise was coming to an end, with Pollock last to leave the nets, the routine suddenly changed. Spotting three journalists idly tossing a cricket ball to each other, the skipper suddenly insisted on an organised slip-catching session.

So, Die Burger’s Fanie Heyns was posted at first slip with SABC’s Gerald de Kock at second and Supercricket at third slip. Jonty Rhodes was instructed to throw balls at Pollock who sliced and nicked the deliveries into the cordon.

The very first throw was slashed wildly to third slip where it struck the unsuspecting fielder (clearly standing about six metres too close) on the left hand before hitting the turf. Rhodes smiled. Pollock grinned. The cordon retreated.

De Kock and Supercricket thereafter managed to hang on to a couple but it was destined not to be a day of pride for Die Burger who ‘clanged’ no less than four in a row.

“Right,” said Pollock with a smile. “That means no more criticism from Die Burger for our fielding…and tomorrow we’ll put you in the nets! Just remember, there’s no such thing as a ‘routine’ slip catch…”

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