| Pollock had predicted his team would win the ODI tri-series and lose the Test series
London: Shaun Pollock predicted, on setting foot in England, that South Africa would win the one-dayers but lose the Tests.
Having got the first part of that forecast spectacularly wrong, captain Graeme Smith and the rest of his team will be hoping Pollock proves equally inaccurate during the five-Test series starting on Thursday. The teams look so closely matched that the contest may depend in large measure on Pollock himself — and his availability — as well as that of Jacques Kallis.
Both are established, world-class performers in young teams. Both also seem set to miss at least one match, for contrasting reasons. Kallis’ father is gravely ill with cancer, while Pollock’s wife is expecting a baby.
The fast bowler looks set to fly home during the fourth Test, leaving an already suspect attack short of a cutting edge.
Kallis, meanwhile, is already at his father’s side.
“It might be a week, it might be a month,” team media manager Gerald de Kock said. “He’s not in our plans for the first Test at least.”
Kallis is one of the world’s leading allrounders as well as South Africa’s in-form batsman. He hit back-to-back centuries in the one-day tri-series against England and Zimbabwe, dedicating those innings to his father before closing the tournament with an average of 109.66.
His absence will leave the tourists struggling for balance. Much may depend on the returning Gary Kirsten, the experienced left-handed opener. Lack of balance has been an English problem over recent years.
Meanwhile, Lance Klusener has described his omission from the squad for the England tour as “a shock and disappointment”.
The 31-year-old is taking legal action against the UCBSA because he says he rejected the chance to play for English Counties after being assured of a place in the tour party.
“It’s like your boss calling you on a Saturday night and saying, ‘Sorry, old chap, but you don’t have to come to work on Monday. You’re fired’,” Klusener was quoted as saying in the South African magazine You.
“Some people may think it’s sour grapes, but that’s not true at all,” added Klusener, the best player of the 1999 World Cup.
“England would have been a highlight for me. I wanted to play at Lord’s again. I played for South Africa with pride for eight years. I gave my all.”
Klusener, who has played 48 Tests and 154 one-day Internationals, has had a reputation as a loner. The new South Africa captain Graeme Smith described him as a disruptive force capable of “ruining a team”.
“Why is it if you don’t want to be part of the crowd you’re always seen as different'” Klusener asked. “I’m a private person, I hate being around lots of people.”
Klusener’s last appearance for South Africa was at this year’s World Cup, where they tied their final group game against Sri Lanka in controversial circumstances to exit the tournament at the first hurdle.