In-form Shaun Pollock joins dynamite Dolphins bowling attack

2007-12-04 00:00

Pollock’s inclusion gives the selectors 14 players from which to choose the final XI for Kingsmead in this sixth-round SuperSport Series match.

If the wise men were intending to tinker with a winning team, they could not have asked for a more ideal cricketer than the in-form Polly.

As Dolphins skipper Hashim Amla said that, after the 47-run win over the Cobras, the side’s batting has not been up to scratch.

“Our middle order [number five Wayne Madsen and six Jonathan Vandiar] is inexperienced, while the top four are not achieving the consistency we would like,” he said.

The vastly experienced Pollock would be ideal at number six, with one of Madsen or Vandiar sitting out. Madsen is handy behind the stumps when Amla gives wicketkeeper Daryn Smit a bowl — the more-than-useful leg-spinner took three for 28 in the Cobras second innings — so he has the edge on Vandiar.

Polly would also add another option to an already successful bowling attack. Pollock plus the in-form Johann Louw, Quinton Friend and left-arm seamer Saidi Mhlongo, along with Englishman Liam Plunkett, makes for an attack ideally suited to Kingsmead conditions. With “Don’t forget I’m a [fine] wicketkeeper first” Smit adding the leg-spin, the Dolphins could not be better placed to take on Neil McKenzie’s Lions.

“The difference when compared to last season is like chalk and cheese,” said Amla in reference to the Dolphins bowling attack.

Louw, whose three man-of-the-match awards from five outings is a phenomenal achievement, agreed: “Last season we had an attack bowling at around the 125 km/h mark whereas this season it’s in the region of 135 km/h. The hard off-season work by all the guys has paid off. I am bowling quicker and the strong bowling unit we now have [South Africa A left-arm paceman Yusuf Abdullah is waiting on the sidelines] is maintaining pressure on the batsmen from both ends. The attack is more disciplined in its line and length than last season and there’s real competition for places now”.

After five matches the Dolphins remain in second place on the log, just over six points behind the Eagles. They must make sure the two-point penalty for a slow over rate against the Eagles in round one does not come back to haunt them.

KZN Dolphins squad

Doug Watson, Imraan Khan, Hashim Amla, Ahmed Amla (capt), Wayne Madsen, Shaun Pollock, Johann Louw, Liam Plunkett, Daryn Smit, Quinton Friend, Saidi Mlongo, Yusuf Abdullah, Jonathan Vandiar, Rivash Gobind.

SuperSport Series log (at the halfway stage):

1 Free State/Griquas Eagles 67.16 points; 2 KZN Dolphins 60.88 pts; 3 Eastern Cape Warriors 40.46 pts; 4 North-East Titans 28.98 pts; 5 Highveld Lions 28.92 pts; 6 Western Cape Cobras 28.60 pts.

• Dolphins docked two bowling points for slow over rate against Eagles.

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