The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I’ll never lead SA again’

Durban: Sacked South Africa captain Shaun Pollock said Sunday he had been handicapped as skipper because of curbs introduced after Hansie Cronje’s fall from grace.

“Since the Hansie issue there has been an effort to ensure the captain isn’t given too much power,” Pollock said. “Shared responsibility was the approach they wanted. That hasn’t worked out from my perspective. As captain you want full support to be able to do what you want.”

Pollock was sacked on Saturday in the wake of South Africa’s first-round elimination from the World Cup. “Whatever Hansie wanted he got in terms of teams, the way forward and how to approach things. They (the board) were very worried about the fact of what had happened,” added Pollock. “I’ll never be the captain again,” he added.

“They didn’t want to give that same power, and maybe that same backing and support. I’m not saying I didn’t get backing and support, but it was probably not as strong as is ideal for a captain leading his country.”

Opening batsman Graeme Smith was named Pollock’s successor. “The captain needs full backing,” Pollock said. “That’s the way I hope they approach it with Graeme. I really hope they give him their full backing.”

Pollock said he remained passionate about South African cricket and would back Smith fully. “Despite not being captain I’m still 100 per cent committed to South African cricket and would like to remain a positive influence in the side. I’ve spoken to my successor and wished him well.”

He did not resign, he said, “as I felt that would be the soft option”. “I think I had the players’ respect. I had a good relationship with each and every one of them.”

But Pollock suggested he had not been helped by the decision of several players, including Jonty Rhodes, Allan Donald and Herschelle Gibbs, to announce they were dedicating the World Cup to Cronje before the tournament began. “In a way I was a makeshift captain to start off with,” Pollock said. “But guys are open to opinion and Hansie was a topic of hot debate. There were no rifts in the side, but it was probably not an ideal situation going into a World Cup.”

“But it’s not ideal when your captaincy is up for debate in the papers a lot of the time, and before Omar Henry was made the convenor of selectors he said he wasn’t sure I was the best captain.”

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