Neil Manthorp – 01/12/2000
Shaun Pollock’s decision to bat as nightwatchman at the end of the second day of the second Test against New Zealand was the result of a deal struck in Bloemfontein before the series had even begun.
With Mark Boucher and Nicky Boje having proved outstandingly successful in that position, Pollock – who makes no secret of his desire to score a Test century – found himself moving further and further down the batting order.
With Boucher promoted to number six and Boje batting at number eight behind Lance Klusener, Pollock found himself lingering in the basement at number nine, with just Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini behind him.
Chances of scoring a century down there were not good so Pollock exercised his captain’s prerogative and immediately balanced the good news of Boucher and Boje’s promotion with the news that they were both sacked, with immediate effect, from the position of nightwatchman – a position in which Boucher has scored two centuries and Boje 85.
South Africa may be in the unique position of having three men who love the opportunity to bat in the top order while most Test teams have a lower order who try to avoid the duty at all costs.
Stories have abounded through the years of captains desperately trying to unearth hiding tailenders from the darkest corners of the dressing room when a nightwatchman is required but Pollock is there purely on choice.
Don’t bet against him capitalising.
In fact, don’t bet on cricket at all.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.