Shaun Pollock

The No. 10 who ran

Edgbaston 1999 comes back to haunt at a race track in Durban

Shaun Pollock

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Lance Klusener takes a run for Allan Donald fails to make his crease at the other end, Australia v South Africa, 2nd semi-final, World Cup, Birmingham, June 17, 1999
If only El Picha was in the No. 10 shirt © PA Photos
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After the 1999 World Cup, the entire South African team was feeling battered and bruised. I returned to Durban for a break, and during my time off decided to go to the Durban July, the year's most popular horse race.

At the race, someone came up and asked me which horse I was going to bet on. I am not a betting man, but this is one of the country's more traditional events, and I usually have a small wager.

I really wasn't sure which horse I was going to put my money on, so I told the man that I didn't know yet. He offered me some advice: "Whatever you do, don't bet on number 10. He doesn't run."

I knew that was a reference to Allan Donald not running in the semi-final against Australia. I knew we wouldn't be able to escape the jokes about our semi-final mishap for a while.

I don't remember which horse I bet on, but what I do know is that number 10, El Picha, won the race, and I hadn't bet on it.

As told to Firdose Moonda, a freelance writer based in Johannesburg

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