Durban Living Legend – Robert Graeme Pollock

Robert Graeme Pollock is a former cricketer from South Africa, considered to be the nation’s greatest cricketer to have played the game. Born, February 27, 1944, he is considered to be the nation’s greatest cricketer to have played the game. Standing 6 feet 2 inches, Pollock was known for his excellent timing with an upright batting stance. He is also considered to be one of the best left-handed batsmen the game has ever seen.

Pollock has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including being voted in 1999 as South Africa’s Cricketer of the 20th Century, one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1966, as well as being retrospectively selected in 2007 as the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 1967 and 1969. In South Africa he was player of the year in 1961 and 1984, with special tributes in the S.A. Cricket annuals of 1977 and 1987.

He entered the world of Test Cricket at the age of 19 when he was selected for the 1963–64 tour of Australia. His performance in the first two tests of the series was poor. Pollock soon proved himself to be an asset to the team. Pollock was only 26 years old when his Test career had abruptly come to an end when South Africa was expelled from international cricket soon after the incident. Pollock and the South Africans were due to play England at home in 1968–69, but tensions stemming from the South African government’s apartheid policy came to a head when South African-born Basil D’Oliveira—of Cape Coloured ancestry—was chosen in the England touring team to replace the injured Tom Cartwright.. Their last match was against Australia.

He fully retired from cricket in 1988 and got fully involved in cricket administration. Among the positions he held are: Team selector with the Transvaal Cricket Council, President of the South African Cricket Players Association and test Selector for the United Cricket Board. In 2003 he was chosen to present the match awards at the Cricket World Cup in Johannesburg.

Pollock’s career spanned almost three decades and was one of the most successful cricket careers in South Africa. His highlights and achievements include becoming the youngest South African to score a first-class century at age 16, the youngest South African to score a double-century in first-class cricket at age 19 and the youngest South African to score a test century at age 19.  This record still stands. In 2009 he was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame as one of the first 55 players to be honored.

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