The headline caught your attention, didn’t it? Well, it’s true.
For about 10 seconds on February 3rd, almost six months ago, Graeme Smith and Shaun Pollock exchanged fiery words and gestures when South Africa played Western Province in a World Cup warm-up match at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town.
Smith slogged a ball into the air and was caught – but promptly gave himself ‘not out’ because Pollock had made a mess of his field placings and only had three men inside in the circle. Pollock told Smith, not entirely politely, to leave the field while Smith may or may not have questioned Pollock’s tactical abilities as captain. Juicy story, you must admit.
Since then they have toured Bangladesh together and spent long hours discussing the many and varied issues that come with being a national captain and, although they are very different characters with sometimes strongly differing views on a number of issues, they each know where the other stands.
Why am I raising this now? Because forewarned is forearmed and the rumours and stories about a split between these two, key men are about to start. The English press may have been a bit slow off the mark but the embarrassing truth (for them) is that they have been caught so off guard by Smith’s honesty and charm on tour so far that they forgot to look for ‘stories’.
Now, with the Test series looming, the time has come to rummage through the dustbins for a few old fish bones and a bit of used toilet paper. The English really, truly believe they can win this series and, by doing so, catapult themselves back into the top flight of international teams. And any little advantage helps, even if the rift in the opposition camp is mostly fiction.
Smith and Pollock may not go out for dinner together and you find them giving each other bear-hugging back slaps after a couple of weeks apart, but they respect each other’ abilities and differences.
Just thought you ought to know…
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