Middle order November 24, 2009

The dependables

Six contenders for South Africa's three middle-order spots - none of whom was in the habit of letting the side down
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The middle order is the archetypal South African batsman's natural habitat, the place where push comes to shove for him. Not for him the epic stoicism that seems bred into the purehearts of the top order, nor the haphazard existence that is the lot of those who take guard amid the precariously tilting debris of what is kindly called the lower middle order. Far rather ask him to score his runs quickly while there are still wickets in the bank, and don't put too much emphasis on aesthetic considerations.

Some South Africans seem stifled by technique, while a few make a mockery of it. The majority take the coaching manual as their guide to varying degrees, and conjure the rest as they go along. These are the denizens of the middle order.

There is something in the national character that relishes proving people wrong. South Africans appear to be better than most at realising that the light they see at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, even when the rest of the world is convinced that it bloody well is.

This is, after all, the country that should have been broken by centuries of race hatred and inequality. It wasn't. Then it became the country that should have been destroyed in the aftermath of those centuries of race hatred and inequality. Again, it wasn't.

Instead, the centre of South African society held firm thanks to the leadership of a man whose north star was fairness and justice for all. In another world, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela would have made a middle-order batsman of the highest order. He's not on our list of contenders for South Africa's middle order, but those who have made it aren't in the habit of letting people down either.

Jacques Kallis
Blessed with an impregnable mind and the forthright technique to make the most of being built like a rugby forward. A master batsman, a wicket-taker of note, and an unsurpassed slip fielder. A modern colossus.

Daryll Cullinan
That rare thing: a South African batsman imbued with natural flair. Essayed his strokes in the grand manner. Broke Graeme Pollock's record as the youngest South African to score a first-class century.

Dudley Nourse
Never mind his Test average of 53.81. Rather remember that he batted for nine hours with a broken thumb in Nottingham in 1951, scoring 208 and leading South Africa to their first Test win in 16 years. Respect.

Graeme Pollock
Could have felled a large tree with one swoop of his cover drive. With his feet planted wide apart and his chin resolutely forward, he stirred something in every soul. Genius.

Herbie Taylor
Not many had the gall to farm the strike when Sydney Barnes was bowling. Taylor did, and scored 91 and 100 for Natal in MCC's only loss on their 1913-14 tour. A batsman of superb technique, and by all accounts - even EW Swanton's - a bloody good bloke.

AB de Villiers
A dasher, smasher, crasher and basher, who is as adept at sending the ball scything through the covers as stopping it from doing so. Has a handy sideline in keeping wicket. If this cricket gig doesn't work out, there's always the pro golf circuit.

We'll be publishing an all-time South Africa XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your middle-order batsmen click here

Telford Vice made his Test debut as a cricket writer in Barbados in 1992 - the match that marked the end of South Africa's isolation

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Curlybrownitem on November 27, 2009, 23:30 GMT

    I have to express astonishment at all the comments in favour of Hanse Cronje. As a batsman, his main "claim to fame" was that he played Warne probably as well as anyone, taking the attack to him and ensuring he hit the rare bad balls to the boundary - unlike many who let the great man get away with the odd loose one without taking full advantage. He was, however, a poor player of quick bowling (especially for a South African) and an average of 36 says it all. But irrespective of his playing limitations, I find it hard to see how anyone who would claim to love this greatest of games could possibly consider him for an all too obvious reason, an act that would rule him out of my XI even if he'd been as good as Pollock.

  • MaraudingJ on November 27, 2009, 20:09 GMT

    South African cricket has always been blessed with an overabundance of three things: allrounders, fast bowlers, and middle order geniuses. The list above could be expanded to double its size and it would still be a tough pick. But when I say "a tough pick", I mean picking the backups. It seems almost a travesty to not be able to pick a guy like Herbie Taylor, but the simple fact is that we're faced in this list -- if I may be so bold as to overlook Barry Richards for a minute -- with the three best batsmen South Africa has ever produced on the Test stage. Those three men are (in terms of statistics over a span of 15 or more Tests, series-by-series contexts, correlation with South African cricket's greatest achievements, and first-hand anecdotal account by those who witnessed their play): Jacques Kallis; Graeme Pollock; Dudley Nourse. After that comes an even more difficult task: deciding their order in the batting lineup!

  • P.J.T. on November 27, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    Given the format: I'd like Taylor to open with Richards. Then I can have Nourse, Pollock and Kallis in the middle order. I hope I get a chance to select Irvine as w/k - he is probably worth a shout in the middle order just as a batsman.

    Given the versatility of the SA players, one could consider Kallis for the allrounder slot, Procter at 8 to open the bowling, and then leave Mitchell as opener and Taylor at 3. Forcing us to select players in particular slots will not allow for the best side to be chosen.

  • sabbir_ahmed_sajib on November 27, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    are you kidding?A B is nominated and Collin bland is not ! if A B is eligible then so is Ashwell Prince and Hashim Amla. Prince has a far better record than A B. Prince - 11 century in 48 tests with average of 47. A B - 9 century in 53 tests with average of 43. Whenever S A is in trouble Prince stands like a rock . most of his centuries are scored when other batters ( including A B ) fails miserably . His record in bowling friendly pitches is superb. Anyway here is my team = 1. Barry Richards , 2 . Graeme Smith , 3 . Graeme Pollock , 4. Dudley Nourse , 5 . Jack Kallis , 6 . Aubrey Faulkner , 7 . John Waite , 8 . Mike Proctor , 9 . Shaun Pollock , 10 . Allan Donald ,11 . Hugh tayfield .12 Th man Colin Bland.

  • DWP1 on November 26, 2009, 18:20 GMT

    Those people surprised at not seeing Hansie Cronje's name on the list simply need to look at his average of 36 to know why. When you compare that to players like Kallis and Pollock it really is not even close. Even a player like Ashwell Prince far eclipses Hansie's record. Hansie was an good batsmen and a useful bowler, but captaincy aside he probably wasn't a GREAT player, which is what this list is about. As for AB: I think it's a little early to have him on this list, even if most of us will be surprised if he doesn't end his career as one of SAs greats. However if the list was based on potential then a few of the isolation era players could perhaps rather have been included.

  • bays17 on November 26, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Personally I am a huge AB fan but at the moment I dont think he deserves to be there. In say three or four years he should almost be a certainty but hardly now, as he has only recently got his average above 40. His fielding does definately add to his credentials but you dont pick a middle order for fielding. Will be a superstar in a few years though but isnt quite there yet!

  • L.Pearce on November 26, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    1 G.Smith 2 H.Gibbs 3 J.Kallis 4 AB de Villiers 5 D.Cullinan 6 S.Pollock 7 M.Boucher 8 N.Boje 9 D.Steyn 10 A.Donald 11 M.Ntini Just a pre-selective list of the greatest modern South Africans in my opinion. Tough not to include the likes of Kirsten, Klusener, Rhodes etc. Please post comments ASAP and let me know what you think. P.S. All opinions welcomed! =)

  • kailash1987 on November 26, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Hi everboby. My ALL Time XI : 1) Garry Kristen. 2) Barry Richards. 3) Daryll Cullinan 4) J Kallis 5) Hanse Cronje 6) Graeme Pollock 7) AB de Villiers 8) Shun Pollock 9) Mark Boucher 10) Styne 11) Donald 7)

  • Optimistix on November 25, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    Having De Villiers in here is even more ridiculous than having Atherton as a potential opener for the English all time XI.

    Were the panelists influenced by Obama's Nobel, perchance?

  • amoghv on November 25, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    Why is Cronje not even considered? As much as I love watching AB bat, Cronje was a class apart altogether.

  • Curlybrownitem on November 27, 2009, 23:30 GMT

    I have to express astonishment at all the comments in favour of Hanse Cronje. As a batsman, his main "claim to fame" was that he played Warne probably as well as anyone, taking the attack to him and ensuring he hit the rare bad balls to the boundary - unlike many who let the great man get away with the odd loose one without taking full advantage. He was, however, a poor player of quick bowling (especially for a South African) and an average of 36 says it all. But irrespective of his playing limitations, I find it hard to see how anyone who would claim to love this greatest of games could possibly consider him for an all too obvious reason, an act that would rule him out of my XI even if he'd been as good as Pollock.

  • MaraudingJ on November 27, 2009, 20:09 GMT

    South African cricket has always been blessed with an overabundance of three things: allrounders, fast bowlers, and middle order geniuses. The list above could be expanded to double its size and it would still be a tough pick. But when I say "a tough pick", I mean picking the backups. It seems almost a travesty to not be able to pick a guy like Herbie Taylor, but the simple fact is that we're faced in this list -- if I may be so bold as to overlook Barry Richards for a minute -- with the three best batsmen South Africa has ever produced on the Test stage. Those three men are (in terms of statistics over a span of 15 or more Tests, series-by-series contexts, correlation with South African cricket's greatest achievements, and first-hand anecdotal account by those who witnessed their play): Jacques Kallis; Graeme Pollock; Dudley Nourse. After that comes an even more difficult task: deciding their order in the batting lineup!

  • P.J.T. on November 27, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    Given the format: I'd like Taylor to open with Richards. Then I can have Nourse, Pollock and Kallis in the middle order. I hope I get a chance to select Irvine as w/k - he is probably worth a shout in the middle order just as a batsman.

    Given the versatility of the SA players, one could consider Kallis for the allrounder slot, Procter at 8 to open the bowling, and then leave Mitchell as opener and Taylor at 3. Forcing us to select players in particular slots will not allow for the best side to be chosen.

  • sabbir_ahmed_sajib on November 27, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    are you kidding?A B is nominated and Collin bland is not ! if A B is eligible then so is Ashwell Prince and Hashim Amla. Prince has a far better record than A B. Prince - 11 century in 48 tests with average of 47. A B - 9 century in 53 tests with average of 43. Whenever S A is in trouble Prince stands like a rock . most of his centuries are scored when other batters ( including A B ) fails miserably . His record in bowling friendly pitches is superb. Anyway here is my team = 1. Barry Richards , 2 . Graeme Smith , 3 . Graeme Pollock , 4. Dudley Nourse , 5 . Jack Kallis , 6 . Aubrey Faulkner , 7 . John Waite , 8 . Mike Proctor , 9 . Shaun Pollock , 10 . Allan Donald ,11 . Hugh tayfield .12 Th man Colin Bland.

  • DWP1 on November 26, 2009, 18:20 GMT

    Those people surprised at not seeing Hansie Cronje's name on the list simply need to look at his average of 36 to know why. When you compare that to players like Kallis and Pollock it really is not even close. Even a player like Ashwell Prince far eclipses Hansie's record. Hansie was an good batsmen and a useful bowler, but captaincy aside he probably wasn't a GREAT player, which is what this list is about. As for AB: I think it's a little early to have him on this list, even if most of us will be surprised if he doesn't end his career as one of SAs greats. However if the list was based on potential then a few of the isolation era players could perhaps rather have been included.

  • bays17 on November 26, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Personally I am a huge AB fan but at the moment I dont think he deserves to be there. In say three or four years he should almost be a certainty but hardly now, as he has only recently got his average above 40. His fielding does definately add to his credentials but you dont pick a middle order for fielding. Will be a superstar in a few years though but isnt quite there yet!

  • L.Pearce on November 26, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    1 G.Smith 2 H.Gibbs 3 J.Kallis 4 AB de Villiers 5 D.Cullinan 6 S.Pollock 7 M.Boucher 8 N.Boje 9 D.Steyn 10 A.Donald 11 M.Ntini Just a pre-selective list of the greatest modern South Africans in my opinion. Tough not to include the likes of Kirsten, Klusener, Rhodes etc. Please post comments ASAP and let me know what you think. P.S. All opinions welcomed! =)

  • kailash1987 on November 26, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Hi everboby. My ALL Time XI : 1) Garry Kristen. 2) Barry Richards. 3) Daryll Cullinan 4) J Kallis 5) Hanse Cronje 6) Graeme Pollock 7) AB de Villiers 8) Shun Pollock 9) Mark Boucher 10) Styne 11) Donald 7)

  • Optimistix on November 25, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    Having De Villiers in here is even more ridiculous than having Atherton as a potential opener for the English all time XI.

    Were the panelists influenced by Obama's Nobel, perchance?

  • amoghv on November 25, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    Why is Cronje not even considered? As much as I love watching AB bat, Cronje was a class apart altogether.

  • rohit_sud on November 25, 2009, 17:25 GMT

    In my opinion,hnsie cronje was the most dependable of all south african batsmen listed for the middle order spot!!!

  • legsidetickle on November 25, 2009, 17:04 GMT

    Let's talk about the top five of the order. Only two Players of those mentioned would be automatic choices. Richards at 1 and G.Pollock at 4. I would go for Bunter Barlow as my other opener as he had the ability to steer the ship appropriately and given the ball, could turn the shape of a match within a few minutes. I would go for Dudley Nourse at 3 and he would be my captain. Spin a coin for the others but I would pick Cullinan simply because I think he is the most exciting of the bunch. I perceive a few sad ommissions. Trevor Goddard -Ol' Man River was Barry Richards' nickname for him - you could depend on him with the bat even though he was not flashy and the man could bowl! Kepler Wessels Peter Kirsten Let's see what they bring us next - I would not have played Coin Bland in the top 5 but as no 6 he could well be my choice

  • Engle on November 25, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    Middle order has to be the 3 best batsmen and those are none other than Kallis, G.Pollock and Dudley Nourse. The fact that Kallis can bowl well, leaves open the option of an extra batsman at the No. 6 position. Now, we know that we must have Faulkner to complement Tayfield. So either he goes in at the #6 position or we add an extra batsman and bump down Faulkner. If extra batsman, that could be Barlow, Bland or Taylor. Bacher may be a consideration for captaincy. In any event, methinks Faulkner will take the #6 position leaving room for a bowler.

  • Curlybrownitem on November 25, 2009, 13:51 GMT

    Pollock is as easy a selection as Richards: these two form a class of their own and either would be a strong contender for all-time no 2 after The Don. Of the others made available to us, I'd have to go for Kallis and Nourse. That said, I agree with several other contributers who wonder why Colin Bland has been omitted. I suspect that, because he was the doyen of modern fielding (was he better than Jonty? - I'd say yes, arguably the best "arm" the game has ever seen), one can forget how fine a batsman he was. The stats corroborate that observation too - an average of nearly 50 in his day was rare. Would I pick him ahead of Kallis? Tough call, glad I don't have to decide. In answer to ksekha on Barlow - maybe because he's in the openers' list: but I'm with you - he's got to be in the team, be it at 2, 3, 5 or 6. In this side, fitting some players into categories is difficult, there being so many genuine all-rounders.

  • King_Anish on November 25, 2009, 12:41 GMT

    It is rather surprising not to see Hansie Cronje but AB DeVilliers in the short list. I do believe Hansie was a better batsman than some of the names in the list.

  • Alan James Sanders on November 25, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    @Xollie- that is absolutely inspired, and in the same vein, why wasn't the Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominated as an opener? Richards could just give him the strike at the start of every over and South Africa would never lose a wicket. But seriously- who no Martin Luther for England? By the way, I agree with everyone else about Colin Bland. My dad says he's never seen a better fielder, and his average is a very healthy 49. Imagine him prowling the covers, waiting to throw down the stumps from cover or midwicket, and taking the attack to the bowlers from 5 or 6- a very handy player indeed, who wouldn't look at all out of place in an All-Time South Africa XI. But you never know- if you incorporate the "Old Rhodies" into the Zimbabwean XI we may be able to vote him in yet.

  • ksekha on November 25, 2009, 1:32 GMT

    Why has the great Eddie Barlow been overlooked by almost everyone? His average of 45 would be 55 in today's terms due to the flat pitches, new lbw rules, covered pitches and many other new laws favouring batsmen. Most of his excellent performances came against Australia in Australia. He was more than a handy bowler too.

  • Yusuf.Raja on November 24, 2009, 22:09 GMT

    Does anyone have an opinion on Ray Jennings as the best wicketkeeper that SA has produced??? i certainly rate him as the best gloveman - not too sure about his batting prowess though...

  • MattBlake on November 24, 2009, 19:40 GMT

    I don't understand how Colin Bland can be omitted from the list, but agree that 3,4,5 are Pollock, Nourse and Kallis. Having Kallis here rather than in the allrounders section (also Barlow as an opener rather than an allrounder) suggests they are freeing up the no. 6 slot for Faulkner, offering a second spin option.

    Final side : Richards, Mitchell, Pollock, Nourse, Kallis, Faulkner, wk, Procter, Pollock S, Tayfield, Donald

    I don't have a clue about who the best keeper is - any of Cameron, Waite, Lindsay and Boucher will score runs, but with Shaun Pollock batting at 9 in this side, keeping ability alone should be the deciding factor, and it's hard to compare across eras.

  • mansoorkayani on November 24, 2009, 18:59 GMT

    kallis and Pollock are certain but i personally think that AB Devilliars shouldn't,t even make this list.

  • nafzak on November 24, 2009, 16:21 GMT

    Dear Emran Essani, BERRY Richards never played Test cricket, however his distant relative BARRY Richards was an pretty darn good OPENING batsman...one of teh best ever!

  • BellCurve on November 24, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    (3) Kallis; (4) Pollock; (5) Mandela. It certainly is a bit left field but the idea has grown on me. In fact, it may be the most inspired bit of selection since Mike Brearley. Particularly Mandela at no5. He would have been all but unstoppable. I mean, he is practically a saint. No-one would have wanted to take his wicket and risk being made a pariah and called a racist. Bowlers would bowl underarm and aim in the opposite direction. Fielders would deliberately stare into the sun to blind themselves. Umpires would call no-ball every time just to be safe. And the rest of the team would have been inspired to the point where even the strongest opposition would wither away before them like snails on the salt plains of the Kalahari. Coming to think about it, why not select Mandela now? He may be a bit old, but he would be almost just as effective as when he was in his prime. Why hasn't anyone thought about this earlier? Telford Vice you're a genius.

  • ImranEssani on November 24, 2009, 15:36 GMT

    A South African Middle order without even mentioning Berry Richards?????????????

  • Clodbuster on November 24, 2009, 14:53 GMT

    Where is Colin Bland?????

    Those selecting Boucher over Lindsey need to shake their heads. Lindsey was selected as a middle order batsman before nudging out Johnny Waite for the wicketkeeping duties in an era when keeping ability was more important than batting. Not that Bouch would let you down.

  • BellCurve on November 24, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    @Alan James Sanders -- I agree the bits about racial hatred, oncoming trains and national character are a bit baffling and a tad unnecessary. It is also somewhat strange that the author refers to the north star -- given that you cannot see the north star from the Southern Hemisphere.

  • AB_DeVilliers on November 24, 2009, 14:01 GMT

    I can pick the South African team: 1. G Smith | 2. B Richards | 3. G Pollock | 4. J Kallis | 5. D Nourse | 6. M Boucher | 7. S Pollock | 8. P Pollock | 9. H Tayfield | 10. D Steyn | 11. A Donald

    Touch decisions will be: D Steyn vs M Ntini and S Pollock vs M Proctor. I chose D Steyn as he was quickest to 100 wkts and if he is injury free, will probably end up the highest test wicket taker. S Pollock was a bit easier as he had a better opportunity to prove his skills at INT level. Besides, an all time great SA team should have S Pollock...surely? :P

    Good balanced bowling team: 3 out and out fasts (Donald, Steyn and P Pollock); 2 swingers (S Pollock and Kallis); and 1 great spinner (Tayfield).

  • BellCurve on November 24, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    If you include Kallis in the side you could probably accomodate another specialist batsman at no6. If you include both Kallis and Bunter in the side you could most certainly accomodate another specialist batsman at no6. What about (1) Barry (2) Biff (3) Kallis (4) Pollock (5) Nourse/AB (6) Bunter? That gives you depth, variety and two proven bowling options.

  • RezaThahir on November 24, 2009, 13:05 GMT

    My all time XI

    1. Greame Smith 2. Barry Richards 3. Greame Pollock 4. Jacues Kallis 5. Hansie Cronje (C) 6. Clive Rice 7. Dave Richards 8. Shaun Pollock 9. Makhaya Ntini 10. Dale Steyn 11. Allan DOnald

    I would play pat symcox in a flat wicket replacing makhaya ntini.

  • lobengula on November 24, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Posted by MCSJCW..."and I would never pick Cullinan against Australia (says something about his temperament doesn't it?) "

    Of course it also could say something about Australia's batting in that era...even Kallis has a dire debut series and follow up Vs. australia. Though in all fairness to hem - he went on to steadily raise his batting stats vs Aus whereas Cullinan didn't.

    Clearly, three are obvious picks here - agreeing on the other three will be more passion than reason.

  • stabby02 on November 24, 2009, 12:55 GMT

    How about Jonty Rhodes for the Middle Order??South Africa's Hallmark is Good Fielding and Jonty was the BEST EVER!!

    I choose Kallis,Jonty and Graeme Pollock!

  • Sanders101 on November 24, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    but think of the team you could pick from those who missed out through the late 70's and 80s. Think of the old Transvaal Mean Machine - they'd have made most other test sides give up the game!

    Cook (in his prime), P. Kirsten, Ken McEwan, Kevin McKenzie...even Fothers at his best. Prime Clive Rice, Adrian Kuiper 'Jet" Jennings, Hugh Page and Garth Leroux...do I dare add Alan Kourie! All or certainly most of these guys laid waste to every county cricket record there was while they were in England playing for their living. When you then add to these guys the likes of Proctor, and the guys named above in Kallis, Pollock, Smith and Nourse.

    Goodness me - we didnt half miss out on watching some glittering cricket. Surely the all time best team must include these guys - talent beyond question and that they would make up a fearsome test side surely beyond any reproach!

  • skUUr on November 24, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    I agree with deedubnz, where is Hansie?

  • MCSJCW on November 24, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    So AB has ONE good season and he is a great all of a sudden! Even Ashwell Prince has a better Test record than AB. (Prince is averaging 47 in Test Cricket vs AB at around 43). Prince is not far off AB in the fielding department and is an excellent captain backup.

    Personally, I would go for Peter Kirsten ahead of AB. Didn't play much test cricket but still did better than Cook!

    No argument on Kallis, Pollock, Nourse and I would never pick Cullinan against Australia (says something about his temperament doesn't it?)

  • Sussie on November 24, 2009, 10:15 GMT

    ABdeV hasn't been around long enough to cement his place in an 'all time XI' at all. Perhaps in another 5 years. Pollock and Kallis are a shoe in - but why isnt Kallis picked in the 'all-rounders' category instead?? Also..where are Peter Kisten, Kepler Wessels, and Jonty Rhodes?!

  • Godof86 on November 24, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    Kallis, Pollock and Nourse of course. Question is, will we be toting the same list five-ten years from now? With AB, JP and Hashim coming in? Each of the three could be an alltime great.

  • Hoggy_1989 on November 24, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    I completely agree with all said below, except I'd have Pollock at 3, Kallis at 4 and Nourse at 5. I always was told that you put the best batsman in your middle order at 3; and that is Pollock without question. I'm interested to see that Kallis is not considered an all-rounder in this selection (probably the best modern day all-rounder currently playing the game), and why Herschelle Gibbs isn't in this selection. Looking forward; who could they possibly put up for wicketkeepers against Mark Boucher?

  • Alan James Sanders on November 24, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    I vote Kallis, Pollock and Nourse too, but it is really strange how South Africa haven't produced a great specialist no. 3, but plenty of outstanding 4's and 5's instead. Just one criticism of this section is that I can't really see the relevance of Mandela here in discussing a South African middle-order. Expressing your admiration for him is all well and good, but what's he got to do with a hypothetical cricket team?

  • sean_kelly on November 24, 2009, 9:11 GMT

    Pollock, Kallis and AB

    So far it is 1. Biff 2. Barry 3. Kallis 4. Pollock 5. AB

    What a (half a) side!

  • riteshjsr on November 24, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    Even I would go with Pollock, Kallis, and Nourse. However, leaving AB out is going to be very difficult. Not only is he an outstanding batsman, in my book, he is the best fielder in the world at the moment. Can we pick 4 in the middle order?

  • buntyj on November 24, 2009, 9:00 GMT

    theres a bias in favour of recent batsman; endean would be a contender as well nourse snr and others from pre ww2 days for south africa but of these 6 pollock, nourse jnr and kallis are easy picks

  • geedubnz on November 24, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    where's hansie??????????????

  • Nduru on November 24, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    Mate, please stick to cricket and leave the cringe-worthy stuff about South Africa's history, politics and society out. Any excuse to bring Nelson Mandela in, eh? On second thoughts, maybe you're on to something! I think I shall write an article about Robert Mugabe and how he should have been an opening batsman for Zimbabwe. At least he likes cricket (unlike Mandela who prefers boxing and even rugby it would seem), and one could convincingly argue that he would have been an excellent opener, given his proven talent to stick around for so long and totally destroy the opposition!

  • vnvaditya on November 24, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Yes easy call .... Kallis , Pollock , Nourse !!!

  • Idol on November 24, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Totally agree with wapsting. It does sound a bit harsh, especially on De Villiers because unlike Cullinan he is now proven to be an all-season, all-circuit player with a reasonable amount of success. Having said that, like Barry Richards - Pollock and Kallis - in that order, will walk into a SA All time XI with doors being held wide open, confetti being showered, tears of joy being wiped. The third slot has to be Nourse. True grit, is an under-estimated skill in today's age and Nourse has oodles of it. SO far, the amazing abilities of the batting line-up and awe-inspiring - Richards, Barlow, Pollock, Kallis, Nourse. Try bowling to these blokes!!

  • ashishkumar36 on November 24, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    So Easy, J.H.Kallis, R.G.Pollock and A.D.Nourse...

  • Nipun on November 24, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Oh boy,what a tough selection.I guess it'll be Kallis,Pollock,& Nourse,but leaving out Cullinan & AB is so difficult,especially someone like AB is such an asset with his outstanding batting,even more outstanding fielding(perhaps 2nd to only Ricky in the current world),plus he can keep wickets as well.....hang on,for me,it has to be a coin toss between Nourse & AB....!!!

  • CricFan78 on November 24, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Gotta agree with wasps. Has to be Kallis, Graeme Pollock and Nourse

  • Chinmuzic on November 24, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    I cant believe they neglected Russell Endean. A great fielder, a damn good batsman. From his cricinfo profile: "Endean's century (162 not out) in this Melbourne Test was to be the South Africans' only one of the series. Endean's second-innings 70 also helped South Africa to a rubber-equalling win when they returned to Melbourne for the final Test. Endean scored two other international centuries: 116 at Auckland in a draw and 116 not out at Leeds when the 1955 South Africans won to level the series at 2-2 before falling to Laker and Lock in the final Test." Its almost incomprehensible they neglected him. Now it would be Kallis-Pollock DeVilliers for me. Btw i m waiting for the fast bowlers debate.

  • Rydham on November 24, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    Of course you can not neglect Kallis. Cullinan is also a strong contender and an under rated player but I strongly believe that Cullinan can distruct any bowler's line and length. Better somebody should ask Shane Warne !! AB should be taken for the sixth spot where u need somebody who can roatate the score board fast as well as can bat steadily in required condition. Greame Pollock may be one of the better batsman but these three players have proved their worth by playing a long inning of their life into cricket. One can check their stats for proofing !!

  • waspsting on November 24, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    Easiest choice ever. There's no way there can be anyone but Kallis, Pollock and Nourse!

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  • waspsting on November 24, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    Easiest choice ever. There's no way there can be anyone but Kallis, Pollock and Nourse!

  • Rydham on November 24, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    Of course you can not neglect Kallis. Cullinan is also a strong contender and an under rated player but I strongly believe that Cullinan can distruct any bowler's line and length. Better somebody should ask Shane Warne !! AB should be taken for the sixth spot where u need somebody who can roatate the score board fast as well as can bat steadily in required condition. Greame Pollock may be one of the better batsman but these three players have proved their worth by playing a long inning of their life into cricket. One can check their stats for proofing !!

  • Chinmuzic on November 24, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    I cant believe they neglected Russell Endean. A great fielder, a damn good batsman. From his cricinfo profile: "Endean's century (162 not out) in this Melbourne Test was to be the South Africans' only one of the series. Endean's second-innings 70 also helped South Africa to a rubber-equalling win when they returned to Melbourne for the final Test. Endean scored two other international centuries: 116 at Auckland in a draw and 116 not out at Leeds when the 1955 South Africans won to level the series at 2-2 before falling to Laker and Lock in the final Test." Its almost incomprehensible they neglected him. Now it would be Kallis-Pollock DeVilliers for me. Btw i m waiting for the fast bowlers debate.

  • CricFan78 on November 24, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Gotta agree with wasps. Has to be Kallis, Graeme Pollock and Nourse

  • Nipun on November 24, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Oh boy,what a tough selection.I guess it'll be Kallis,Pollock,& Nourse,but leaving out Cullinan & AB is so difficult,especially someone like AB is such an asset with his outstanding batting,even more outstanding fielding(perhaps 2nd to only Ricky in the current world),plus he can keep wickets as well.....hang on,for me,it has to be a coin toss between Nourse & AB....!!!

  • ashishkumar36 on November 24, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    So Easy, J.H.Kallis, R.G.Pollock and A.D.Nourse...

  • Idol on November 24, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Totally agree with wapsting. It does sound a bit harsh, especially on De Villiers because unlike Cullinan he is now proven to be an all-season, all-circuit player with a reasonable amount of success. Having said that, like Barry Richards - Pollock and Kallis - in that order, will walk into a SA All time XI with doors being held wide open, confetti being showered, tears of joy being wiped. The third slot has to be Nourse. True grit, is an under-estimated skill in today's age and Nourse has oodles of it. SO far, the amazing abilities of the batting line-up and awe-inspiring - Richards, Barlow, Pollock, Kallis, Nourse. Try bowling to these blokes!!

  • vnvaditya on November 24, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Yes easy call .... Kallis , Pollock , Nourse !!!

  • Nduru on November 24, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    Mate, please stick to cricket and leave the cringe-worthy stuff about South Africa's history, politics and society out. Any excuse to bring Nelson Mandela in, eh? On second thoughts, maybe you're on to something! I think I shall write an article about Robert Mugabe and how he should have been an opening batsman for Zimbabwe. At least he likes cricket (unlike Mandela who prefers boxing and even rugby it would seem), and one could convincingly argue that he would have been an excellent opener, given his proven talent to stick around for so long and totally destroy the opposition!

  • geedubnz on November 24, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    where's hansie??????????????