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Pollock sacked, Smith tipped

Durban: Shaun Pollock was sacked as South Africa captain on Saturday after the host nation’s disappointing performance in the World Cup. Pollock, 29, was dismissed from the job after meeting selectors on Friday, reports Reuters.

A statement from the United Cricket Board (UCB) said it had been decided to strip Pollock of the captaincy with immediate effect.

“An announcement Sunday will name a replacement captain,” the statement said.

“Shaun is a valuable member of the national squad and one of the world’s best allrounders,” said UCB chief executive Gerald Majola. “He will continue to play a vital role in the team.”

South Africa, one of the pre-tournament favourites, failed to qualify for the Super Sixes after losing the tournament’s opening match to the West Indies and a rain-shortened game against New Zealand.

They were eliminated after a tie with Sri Lanka in another rain-affected match decided by the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Pollock had said afterwards the South Africans had miscalculated the target.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said he and his squad had been surprised by Pollock’s sacking.

“We don’t know what’s going on in the South African camp, but I’m pretty shocked, and everyone in our dressing room was pretty shocked as well,” he said.

“Listening to Shaun Pollock even through this tournament he said he has been captain for three years and he’s still learning.

“I’m sure in three years I’ll still be learning as well.”

Smith ‘frontrunner’

Our Special Correspondent in Durban adds: Opener and South Africa A captain Graeme Smith is being tipped to succeed Pollock. According to The Telegraph’s sources, the southpaw is “frontrunner” to become his country’s newest captain. Smith is 22.

Had circumstances been different, vice-captain Mark Boucher would have been promoted. As it turns out, even his position is being “reviewed”.

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