In 2001, Richard Hill, the editor and publisher of Cricket Lore,asked me and a number of other contributors to the magazine to select teams of players that we had never actually seen play, or had only seen play on a very limited basis – in most cases because we were too young – but whom we would have liked to see.
I did, in fact, see Compton, Sobers, Pollock and Bedi play, but I saw the first three in charity matches and Bedi in a Gillette Cup final in which he got hit all over Lord’s by David Hughes. So I never saw him at his best.
I thought it was an interesting idea and came up with this.
1. B.A.Richards (South Africa)
2. C.Milburn (England)
3. P.B.H.May (England) (Captain)
4. D.C.S.Compton (England)
5. R.G.Pollock (South Africa)
6. G.St.A.Sobers (West Indies)
7. K.R.Miller (Australia)
8. T.G.Evans (England) (Wicket-Keeper)
9. W.W.Hall (West Indies)
Graeme Pollock was one of the greatest batsmen of all time. I know that because it’s what everybody says. I know that because I’ve read all the valedictions for the great South African team that never was. I know that because I’ve seen the bits of film you always see when you see Pollock in this country – dismantling the England bowling in grainy monochrome, Trent Bridge, 1965; partnering Sobers at The Oval, 1970; humiliating some poor young South African bowler as he played out his days in the cricketing land that time forgot. That is all there is – fading celluloid and the sparse memories of those who saw the glorious reality of Pollock in action. He never played another first-class match in England from the day that Oval game ended to the time he retired in 1987. In those seventeen years he grew to be an icon for the lost South African game. Although, while everyone knew he was great, no-one outside South Africa could see why.
I would have liked the chance to know.
From Teaming with Dreams, Cricket Lore, Volume 4, Issue 9, November 2001