Coming from great cricket stock through his Dad, Peter Pollock who bowled for South Africa through the 1960s and his uncle, Graeme Pollock, who many regard, despite him having few opportunities to prove it, as the finest left hander the game has seen, Shaun Pollock was almost expected to be a good cricketer.

He was.

Shaun could bat a bit but it was as a fast-medium bowler that he really excelled.

Partnering with Allan Donald, who was a few yards quicker, Pollock helped South Africa to become one of the most dangerous bowling and fielding unites in One-Day International cricket.

Pollock’s attributes were his doggedness and his willingness to do the hard yards that came with running in and putting the ball on a good spot outside off stump, not too close to the batsman for him to come onto the front foot and not so far back that he could afford to hang bat and wait either. The corridor of uncertainty was Pollock’s best friend.

But from that length, Pollock was able to create even more uncertainty with the fact he was able to move the ball in both directions.

Pollock has amost 393 ODI wickets at an average of 24.50. It is no wonder he makes a list of all-time great ODI players.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Shaun Maclean Pollock

Born: July 16, 1973 (46), Port Elizabeth, Cape Province

Major teams: South Africa, Africa XI, Dolphins, Durham, ICC World XI, KwaZulu-Natal, Mumbai Indians, Natal, Warwickshire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

 

ODI Career: South Africa (1996-2008)

Mat    Inns    Balls   Runs          Wkts   BBI     BBM          Ave    Econ   SR          4w     5w     10w

303    297    15712          9631 393    6/35          6/35 24.50 3.67          39.9   12     5          0

 

Career Highlights

  • Secured 393 wickets at an average of 24.50
  • 6th most wickets in ODIs
  • Most ODI wickets at home (193)
  • Took five 5-wicket hauls in ODIs

Imran Khan is the allrounder of choice for the SportsMax Ultimate XI One-Day International team, so says a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone.

The two have combined to pick the current Prime Minister of Pakistan despite significant opposition from Fanalysts.

According to Fanalysts, Jacques Kallis, who finished behind Garfield Sobers in the run-up to the Ultimate XI Test team, is the best ODI allrounder by a long way.

Kallis’ statistics as shown in the Ultimate XI Profiles are impressive. With a 44.36 average with the bat, 17 centuries and 86 half-centuries, as well as 273 wickets at an average of 31.79 with the ball, it is not difficult to understand the fan’s choice.

Imran Khan, on the other hand, averages 33.41 with the bat and 182 wickets at an average of 26.61 with the ball.

The suggestion from the Zone and the panel is clearly they are going for a bowling allrounder with Khan versus the batting bent present in Kallis’ performances.

In fact, Fanalysts do not even have Khan as a serious contender for a place in the Ultimate XI, with Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Australia’s Shane Watson, and England’s Andrew Flintoff, garnering more picks than the famed former Pakistan skipper.

The zone and the panel have continued to play a three-legged race with their voting, so far agreeing on every segment of the XI.

So far, the team of the panel reads Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar as openers; Virat Kohli, Viv Richards, and AB de Villiers as batsmen 3-5, Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the wicketkeeper, and Imran Khan as the allrounder.

Fanalysts have, to date, come up with a slightly different team. They too, have gone with Sharma and Tendulkar at the top, but have decided on Lara to join Kohli and de Villiers in the middle order. The Fanalysts are in agreement with Dhoni as the overwhelming favourite for the wicketkeeping position but have chosen Kallis as their all-rounder.

This evening, the panel and Zone will be picking their bowlers so tune into SportsMax at 4:30pm Eastern Standard Time or 5:30pm in the Eastern Caribbean. You can watch SportsMax on the SportsMax app, download it from the App Store or from Google Play.

Remember, Fanalyst votes count for 40% of the overall vote for places in the Ultimate XI. Just go to the SportsMax.tv home page and click on the banner or click on this link.

Lance Klusener’s swing-for-the-fences approach to batting has fooled many into underscoring his technical ability with the bat, while his military medium pace makes many forget that at one time, the big South African once had enough purchase on his deliveries to either bowl you fullish deliveries or have you fending off bouncers.

With the drop in his pace, Klusener, who was a number-11 batsman, to begin with, adapted well, his average of 41.10 suggesting he could bat more than a bit.

He would score two centuries and 19 half-centuries in his 171-match ODI career. But even with his diminished pace, Klusener was a handful with the ball as well, taking 192 scalps in his career at an average of 29.95. On six occasion he had four wickets or more in a match, suggesting he had the ability to singlehandedly generate a favourable result for South Africa.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Lance Klusener

Born: September 4, 1971, Durban, Natal

Major teams: South Africa, Dolphins, Kolkata Tigers, KwaZulu-Natal, Middlesex, Mountaineers, Natal, Natal Country Districts, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rest of the World XI

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

 

ODI Career (batting): South Africa (1996-2004)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave      BF        SR       100s     50s    4s      6s   

171      137     50      3576      103*   41.10    3977     89.91       2      19      293    76   

 

ODI Career (bowling): South Africa (1996-2004)

Mat    Inns    Balls   Runs    Wkts   BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ   SR      4w     5w    10w

171      164     7336   5751     192    6/49    6/49     29.95   4.70    38.2      1       6       0

 

Career Highlights

  • Scored 3,576 runs at an overage of 41.10
  • Player of the 1999 World Cup tournament
  • Picked up 192 wickets at an average of 29.95
  • He picked up six 5 wicket hauls in ODIs

At no time has Jacques Kallis’ ability as an allrounder and the importance he had in the South African side of the late 1990s and early 2000s been more obvious than was the case when he faced the West Indies in the Wills International Cup.

The competition, which later became known as the ICC Champions Trophy, featured Kallis in the semi-final singlehandedly dismissing the West Indies, first slamming 113 from 100 deliveries before bagging 5-30 with the ball to boot them from the tournament.

He would perform feats of that nature for years to come, and at the World Cup in the Caribbean was South Africa’s leading scorer, notching 485 of them.

But his ODI career, as was the case when he played Test cricket, started slowly. It took two years before he scored his first international ton in the format, scoring 111 against New Zealand at the WACA.

While his strike rate of 72.89 could be higher, it could also be said that Kallis understood that his South Africa needed him to bat that way if they were to do well. His 11,579 runs perhaps tells a better story about Kallis’ importance to South Africa. Add that to his 273 wickets from 283 innings with the ball, and you have the stuff of legends.   

 

Career Statistics

ODI Career (batting): South Africa (1996-2014)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS     Ave      BF          SR       100s    50s     4s      6s      Ct         

328       314    53     11579     139    44.36    15885     72.89     17      86       911    137    131   

 

ODI Career (bowling): South Africa (1996-2014)

Mat    Inns    Balls       Runs      Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave    Econ   SR       4w     5w     10w

328      283    10750     8680       273      5/30    5/30     31.79   4.84   39.3       2        2         0

 

Career highlights

  • Only player over 10,000 runs and 250 wickets in both ODIs and Tests
  • Involved in 50 century partnerships in his ODI career
  • 2nd player to have 10,000 runs and 250 wickets in ODIs
  • Has received 32 Man of the Match awards in ODIs

Real Madrid have made a habit of European success down the years, winning the ultimate prize more times than any other club, and in 2017 they did what no one else could.

But June 3, 2016 will be remembered by many for contrasting reasons, as Muhammad Ali – one of the greatest athletes ever – died, leaving the sporting world in despair.

This day is also notable for South African cricket, and specifically an historic captaincy announcement.

We take a look at the major sporting events to have happened on this day through the years.

2017 – Los Blancos continue their European reign

When Real Madrid and Juventus went head-to-head in Cardiff for the 2017 Champions League final, the omens appeared to be in favour of the Old Lady – no team had ever defended their title in the competition.

But Madrid are no ordinary club and history was theirs in Wales, as they became the first club to retain the Champions League.

Although Mario Mandzukic cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo's well-taken 20th-minute opener with an outrageous over-the-shoulder volley, Madrid romped to a 4-1 victory in the second half.

Casemiro's deflected long-range effort put them back in front, Ronaldo turned in from close range to increase the deficit and Marco Asensio finished Juve off after brilliant work from Marcelo – they would go on to win the competition for a third successive season the following year.

2016 – Sport loses an icon

Arguably the most iconic boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali, died exactly four years ago.

His achievements in the ring were plentiful, Ali's most famous victories came in the Thrilla in Manila (1975) against Joe Frazier, and the Rumble in the Jungle (1974), in which he stunningly defeated George Foreman. The latter attracted an estimated one billion TV viewers.

Ali was renowned for his charisma, showmanship and quick wit, while he also wrote poetry and enjoyed success as a musician.

However, his impact as an activist is what he is best remembered for by many. Ali was stripped of his heavyweight titles after refusing to be drafted to the Vietnam War in 1966 and spent over three years away from the ring as he fought his conviction for draft evasion, which was overturned in 1971. His stance saw him grow into an inspirational figure in the civil rights movement.

He succumbed to Parkinson's syndrome in 2016, 32 years after making his diagnosis public. He continues to be regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated athletes in history.

2014 – An historic appointment for South African cricket

With Graeme Smith recently retiring from international cricket, in June 2014 South Africa made an historic appointment for his replacement as Test captain.

Batsman Hashim Amla got the nod despite many suspecting AB de Villiers – Smith's deputy – to have been the leading candidate for the role.

Durban-born Amla, who is of Indian descent, became South Africa's first non-white permanent Test captain in the process.

Amla retired from all forms of international cricket in August last year following the Cricket World Cup.

1999 – Malone named NBA MVP again

After a stellar 1998-99 season, Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz claimed the Maurice Podoloff trophy as he was named NBA MVP.

It was the second time he claimed the prize, making him – at that point – only the ninth player in NBA history to win it more than once, having also been a standout star two years earlier.

In 1998-99, which had a shortened calendar due to a lockout, Malone averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists as the Jazz went 37-13, but the San Antonio Spurs ended the season victorious.

SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa have welcomed the decision for players to be able to return to training as part of revised lockdown regulations in the country. 

Nathi Mthethwa, minister for sports, arts and culture, announced the changes at a media briefing on Saturday, with non-contact sports cleared to resume both training and playing.  

As for contact sports, Mthethwa revealed while reporting on the department’s COVID-19 sector relief fund that they will be able to go back in a staggered, controlled manner. 

All professional teams now have 14 days to submit proposals to explain how they will ensure the safety of players and officials. 

"This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return to play," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. 

"We submitted a comprehensive, staged return-to-play protocols document to the department five weeks ago and we are ready to begin medical screening of players immediately. 

"We will seek further clarity from the department on the application of the guidelines as they apply to contact training. 

"But this is an opportunity for our players to enhance their lockdown training regimes by increasing their fitness work for an eventual return to play."

South Africa’s cricketers can also now prepare to resume training again, though no individual will be forced to do so if they are not comfortable with the current situation.

The updated conditions only apply to the professional game, too.

"This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket," commented Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul.  

He added: “I have already had discussions with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and I would like to stress that no player, coach, support staff or administrator will be forced to return to training if they are uncomfortable with it at this stage.”

Raised as a baseball player, Quinton de Kock's fearless striking and handy glove work, early in his career, earned him comparisons to greats of the game like Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher.

By the age of 21, de Kock shared the record for the most successive ODI centuries - three - before it was bettered by Kumar Sangakkara. A year later, he had established himself in all three formats.

In November of 2013, de Kock scored his first ODI century against Pakistan and a month later, he reeled off three in a row against India.

By his 20th ODI match, he had already scored five centuries. He became the fourth player to score three successive one-day centuries and the second player to score four ODI centuries before his 21st birthday.

In his 74th ODI, against Sri Lanka on February 10, 2017, he became the fastest player to complete 12 ODI hundreds, bettering Hashim Amla, who had achieved the landmark in 81 innings.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Quinton de Kock

Born: December 17, 1992, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Major teams: South Africa, Cape Town Blitz, Cape Town Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils, Easterns, Gauteng, Gauteng Under-19s, King Edward VII High School, Lions, Mumbai Indians, North of South Africa, Royal Challengers Bangalore, South Africa A, South Africa Under-19s, South African Composite XI, South African Invitation XI, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Titans

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: South Africa (2013 – Present)

Mat Inns NO Runs HS  Ave       SR   100  50  Ct St

121 121  6  5135  178  44.65  94.84 15  25  164 9

 

Career Highlights

  • 164 catches and 9 stumpings in ODIs
  • Fastest South African to reach 1,000 ODI runs
  • 4th player to score 3 successive one-day centuries
  • fastest to complete 12 ODI hundreds (74 ODIs)

Christopher Henry Gayle is arguably the greatest One-Day International batsman the West Indies has ever produced but today his innings in the Ultimate XI ODI edition came up short.

Gayle had, yesterday, avoided the cut and made the final six among contestants vying for the honour of being one of the two best openers the game has ever seen.

According to the SportsMax panel of experts, Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar would form the greatest partnership the game to ever grace an ODI cricket pitch.

That would leave other greats like South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan, Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar, and, of course, Gayle as bystanders.

According to the SportsMax Zone, Sharma and Tendulkar are also the best it could come up with from the shortlist of 12, of course, the Zone did not do the culling of the herd the panel did yesterday.

For the unitiated, Rohit Sharma has scored as many ODI double hundreds as there are people who have scored them, while Tendulkar is by far and away, the heaviest ODI runscorer in the history of the sport and their picks may be hard to disagree with.

Unless, of course, you’re a Fanalyst.

Fanalysts have, so far, chosen Chris Gayle as one of their two openers and have also disagreed with the choice of Tendulkar to be the man to join him, instead going for Sharma.

Tendulkar, is at this point, the reserve option for the Fanalysts, but that could all change.

Have your say in the conversation by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

Boucher was a genius behind the stumps that kept wickets to the likes of Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn in their absolute prime.

As a lower middle-order batsman, he was symbolic of how traditionally deep South Africa have always batted. While not a holder of startling averages, he has produced plenty of well-played cameos. His career highlight came in 2006 when playing Australia; Boucher scored the winning runs in what is regarded as the greatest ODI ever played, when his team successfully chased the then-record ODI score of 434, quickly refreshing record-books.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Mark Verdon Boucher

Born: December 3, 1976, East London, Cape Province

Major teams: South Africa, Africa XI, Border, Cape Cobras, ICC World XI, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warriors

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: South Africa (1998-2011)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS     Ave     BF       SR        100s    50s     4s      6s      Ct     St

295      221     57      4686      147*  28.57   5528   84.76         1      26      356     83     403    22

 

Career Highlights

  • Most catches taken by a wicketkeeper in all forms of international cricket (952)
  • First place when paired with Makhaya Ntini for most successful bowler/wicketkeeper combinations with 75 dismissals.
  • Most dismissals in international cricket (998)
  • 4th most dismissals in ODIs (424)
  • 2nd fastest ODI century by a South African (44 balls)
  • 4th fastest half-century in World Cup history (21 balls)
  • 5th fastest half-century in World Cup history (22 balls)

World Rugby has ruled out the possibility of holding an international invitational tournament in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2021 to provide relief following the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron had proposed the one-off 16-team competition to raise money "for keeping the game of rugby alive around the world", with sport suspended in recent months due to the global crisis.

The event, held in the UK in order to avoid disrupting France's 2023 Rugby World Cup preparations, would see 31 matches across June and July and prompt the postponement of the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa.

The suggested tournament - dubbed the 'Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby' as Baron revealed his plan to the Telegraph - would reportedly aim to bring in up to £250million to support the sport as it recovers from the pandemic.

However, the  idea has been dismissed by governing body World Rugby.

A statement read: "World Rugby notes a proposal by former RFU CEO Francis Baron suggesting the organisation of a major international rugby event in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on global rugby.

"World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal.

"All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global COVID-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France."

World Rugby has already postponed all July Tests and set aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.

A batsman of breathtaking enterprise, AB De Villiers was a cricketer overflowing with talent and the temperament to back it up.

De Villiers is a 360-degree batsman who can hit any ball, anywhere, against any bowler. Indeed, his range of inventive shots has grown as his career has unfolded.

He has been ranked among the top Test and ODI batsmen in the world.

He holds the records for the fastest 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls) of all time in One Day Internationals by any batsmen, and also holds the fastest hundred by a South African in Tests and the fastest 50 by a South African in T20Is.

He is a three-time ICC ODI player of the year, winning the award in 2010, 2014 and 2015.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Abraham Benjamin de Villiers

Born: February 17, 1984, Pretoria

Major teams: South Africa, Africa XI, Barbados Tridents, Botha XI, Brisbane Heat, Delhi Daredevils, Jacques Kallis Invitational XI, Lahore Qalandars, Middlesex, North Eastern Transvaal, Northerns, Pretoria University, Proteas, Rangpur Riders, Rest of South Africa, Royal Challengers Bangalore, South Africa A, South Africa Under-19s, Titans, Tshwane Spartans

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: South Africa (2005-2018)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS          Ave        BF           SR         100s        50s     Ct        St

228          218        39           9577      176        53.50     9473      101.09          25          53     176        5

 

Career Highlights

  • Holds the record for the fastest ODI century (31 balls)
  • Holds the record for the fastest ODI 50 (16 balls)
  • Holds the record for the fastest ODI 150 (64 balls)
  • Named ICC ODI Player of the Year thrice

Regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time, South Africa’s Hashim Amla currently holds the record for being the fastest ever to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs. He also became the fastest cricketer to reach 10 ODI centuries.

His ODI history is a repository of records.

Having made his debut against Bangladesh in March 2008, Hamla quickly established himself as a class above the rest and by 2014, he had become the fastest cricketer to reach 15 ODI centuries, doing so in 86 innings.

That year he also became the fastest cricketer to reach 16 centuries, achieving the feat in his 94th ODI inning and fastest cricketer to 17 centuries in ODIs in his 98th innings.

On January 18, 2015, he became the fastest cricketer to score 18 centuries in ODIs in his 102nd innings. He was also the fastest to 20 ODI centuries.

Amla has scored ODI centuries against all Test-playing countries and is only the fourth person to do so.

 

Career Statistics

Name: Hashim Amla    

Born: March 31, 1983, Durban, Natal

Major teams: South Africa, Barbados Tridents, Cape Cobras, Derbyshire, Dolphins, Essex, Khulna Tigers, Kings XI Punjab, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa XI, Trinbago Knight Riders, World-XI

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

 

ODI Career: (2008-2019)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS     Ave        BF           SR           100s        50s           4s           6s              

181         178          14          8113      159    49.46     9178        88.39          27           39           822          53  

 

Career Highlights

  • Fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs
  • Fastest to 25 ODI centuries
  • 1st South African to score 25 centuries in ODIs
  • 4th cricketer to score 25 centuries in both Test and ODI cricket

Dean Elgar would be open to taking the South Africa Test captaincy and believes his experience should stand him in good stead for the role.

Over three months after Faf du Plessis stepped down as skipper, there has been no confirmation of a successor.

Quinton de Kock took over as white-ball captain, but South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith stated that he would not lead his country in the longest format.

Aiden Markram has expressed his desire to take charge of the Test side and his opening partner Elgar suggested he would not turn down the chance to replace Du Plessis.

Elgar, who turns 33 next month, said in an interview released by Cricket South Africa on Monday: "I have done the captaincy thing in the past and I have done it from school level and provincial level‚ and now in a few professional franchise teams‚ and I have extremely enjoyed it.

"If I was asked to do the captaincy‚ definitely I will think hard and long about it because it would mean a lot to me."

The left-hander, who has twice stepped up to captain the Test side, thinks both his leadership experience and playing alongside influential characters can only be a positive.

He added: "I think my learning has definitely been quite vast in that regard because of the personnel that I have had before me in the change room.

"It has definitely been an eye-opener for me‚ a great learning curve‚ which I am extremely grateful for.

"As a person you never stop growing really. There is still a lot of growth coming and hopefully what I have learned I can pass it on to the younger guys."

The Rugby Championship could be played in a hub in Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Rugby Australia (RA) interim chief executive Rob Clarke.

With travel restrictions in place around the world due to COVID-19, a new format could be needed if Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina are to play the annual tournament.

The possibility of all teams relocating to Australia, which has more than 7,100 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 102 deaths, is an option.

Clarke, named RA interim CEO earlier this month, said Australia could host every team later in the year.

"We can do it in the October-November timeframe," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"If we can fly international teams into a hub like Australia that sits in the middle of our territories, and put together a competition structure that might well be more towards a Rugby World Cup-type structure where there might be midweek games and weekend games, try to condense it as much as possible, we're looking at that as a potential solution.''

South Africa won the Rugby Championship last year, ending the All Blacks' run of three straight.

Ten of the leading international rugby union teams are exploring the possibility of a new aligned schedule.

South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina - the nations that make up SANZAAR - and the half a dozen countries that compete in the Six Nations are aiming to collaborate for the sport's benefit.

Several unions have been affected by the impact of coronavirus, with World Rugby having postponed all July Tests and setting aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.

Now discussions are ongoing between SANZAAR and Six Nations boards over a new calendar designed to limit club-versus-country rows and create more lucrative games between the world's best teams.

A joint statement read: "Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish."

It added: "The nations, together with other key stakeholders, remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path."

Last month World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont suggested a Nations Championship - similar to cricket's recently formed ICC Test Championship - could get off the ground after being met with initial resistance.

 

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