Graeme Pollock’s SOS to India
South African cricket legend Graeme Pollock – perhaps the world’s greatest living cricketer – has had serious health problems for 10 years now, and at the age of 75, has found ways of generating income more and more difficult, according to his manager Basil O’Hagan.
Speaking exclusveily over his telephone from SA, he said, Pollock’s agent said, “Over the last 10 years Pollock was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer and also suffered a stroke. These illnesses curtailed his earning capacity greatly, which in turn had adverse effect on his quality of life, adding financial stress and pressure and a mountain of medical bills to pay with less than limited resources”.
The 75-year-old Pollock was voted South Africa’s player of the 20th Century in 1999. He is often called the greatest left-hander who ever played the game, and holds a Test batting average of 60.97.
Although his playing career predated the ODI era, the big-hitting Pollock would have thrived.
He played first-class cricket from the age of 16 in 1960 until retiring in 1987 at the age of 43.
Pollock also took part in a cricketers’ protest against apartheid in 1971, when two first-class teams walked off the field after only one ball was delivered in the match in Cape Town. The players delivered a memorandum protesting that merit should be the only criteria in selection of South African cricket teams irrespective of colour.
The players were severely criticized by the then Nationalist Government, however the players felt very strongly that it was a time for change, for a development program to be introduced, to aid non-white cricketers and to ensure all players would be chosen on merit.
Pollock was 26 and in his prime when South Africa were barred from international cricket due to their government’s apartheid policies. He had played just 23 tests. However he bore no ill feelings, “It was necessary,” says Graeme. “It helped bring democracy to our country and for the betterment of South African Cricket and our sport.” – even though it torpedoed his own test career.
“At present, no financial assistance has been forthcoming from Cricket South Africa, in the form of a pension or the likes”, the manager added.
The manager hopes that the Indian board, fans, corporates and IPL teams
“Financially, Graeme is taking strain and fights to keep the wolves from the door. It’s really sad to see someone who brought so much joy to cricket, in this position.”
“It’s complicated. Maybe the administration doesn’t want to be seen supporting someone who played during apartheid. But Graeme spoke out against it when he needed to.”
“Graeme is unassuming and humble of his status, however he is highly respected by numerous International cricketing countries and he is often invited as a guest to spend time in their cricket environment, he always draws a crowd, as they ask him to relate accounts of his illustrious career and hang on to every word”.
“His name is listed among the Cricketing Greats in various International Halls of Fame including the ICC original 54”.
“Cricket is his life, it is his passion, what he knows best and enjoys the most.
Graeme spends many hours watching the Indian IPL T20 competition, he is very interested in the transformation of the game, he feels there are very real innovations to the game of batting and progress can still be done in this direction”, the manager signed off.