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January 13, 2008
Pat Symcox, the former South Africa spinner, has blamed South Africa's selectors for Shaun Pollock's sudden retirement from international cricket.
Pollock, 34, announced his retirement midway through South Africa's innings-and-100-run victory over West Indies on his home ground in Durban. And although he said "the time was right" to leave the game, Symcox is convinced that the selectors have forced his hand.
"He was chosen in May last year as the South African player of the year, but in October his contract at Cricket South Africa was downgraded from A+ to A status," Symcox told the South African newspaper Sondag.
"Add to that the fact that he wasn't chosen to play against New Zealand or Pakistan, nor in the first two Tests against the West Indies. Why? He had an [batting] average of more than 40 in the last 12 Tests and his bowling average was less than 18.
"His omission doesn't make any sense. If a player in such a position can still make such a contribution to the team - especially because he is the top allrounder in the world, and the top bowler in one-day cricket - then why don't you give him any chances?
"I don't understand why he was treated this way. Without Pollock, South Africa can go down to No. 6 after the Tests against India and Australia."
Although the decision came as a shock, there was no indication from Pollock that he had been forced out, and he said that he "made the decision at the start of the season that the West Indies series would be my last". And his former coach, Graham Ford, was sad to see him go but said "it was typical Pollock that he left like this. His timing was perfect".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough