TELFORD VICE in London
GRAEME Pollock is sorry. Not for his criticism of South Africa’s transformation policies but, it seems, for the fact that his views were published.
On July 14, AFP quoted apartheid-era batsman Pollock as saying at a function in London, “The major thing is the problem with the politics and interference with the selection of players.
“It’s affecting the performance of the side – they don’t put the 11 best players on the field. It’s never going to change.
“As South Africans we’ve got to accept that South Africa are going to be middle of the road in their future test cricket.
“You are going to pick a guy like Heino Kuhn, the opening batsman, who got a couple of hundreds in first-class cricket.
“He’s not good enough to play test cricket.
“The guys are playing in a bad standard of first-class cricket in South Africa because of the politics and interference in selection.”
The second test between England and that future “middle of the road” team started at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on the same day as Pollock’s comments appeared. South Africa won by 340 runs with more than a day to spare.
Pollock was vilified in South Africa’s media in the wake of his views being aired, and Times Media understands that he has lost a speaking engagement — which he was due to be paid for — ahead of the third test at The Oval, which starts on Thursday.
On Friday, Pollock’s spokesperson, Basil O’Hagan, issued a statement on the former player’s behalf in which O’Hagan claimed Pollock, “extends his sincerest apologies to CSA (Cricket South Africa) board and the South African cricketing public for the manner in which his comments at recent function in London were totally misconstrued”.
Pollock, O’Hagan wrote, “fully supports the endeavours of the transformation process”.
Asked if that meant Pollock was apologising for what he had said or for his opinions being published, O’Hagan said, “Graeme support CSA’s transformation programme. He maintains that this is the way to correct decades of oppression of black South Africans and marginalisation of black cricketers.
“The original article does not state this, and Graeme is apologising to CSA and the South African cricketing public for the overall manner in which the article of a week ago was portrayed.”
O’Hagan did not, neither in his statement nor his subsequent comments, allege Pollock had been inaccurately quoted.
Pollock’s professed support for transformation will, in light of his ideas as reported, puzzle many.