South Africa news May 19, 2010

Changing captain for the sake of it not clever - Pollock

Shaun Pollock, the former South Africa captain, has a short, sharp view on the leadership debate that is beginning to bubble in South Africa following their disappointing performance at the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

"Who takes over?" Pollock asked. "Is there someone who can do a better job? If Graeme [Smith] has had enough and wants to get out, that's a different thing. But change for the sake of change is not clever."

South Africa are under fire after a disappointing performance at the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean. They were eliminated in the second round to stick to the script of failing to fulfil their highly-ranked potential in ICC tournaments. Questions are being asked about Smith's future as captain, and the first sign that major changes are underway was the announcement that AB de Villiers will keep wicket in the two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals South Africa will play on their current tour to the West Indies. de Villiers replaces Mark Boucher, 33, a fixture in the team who has played 131 Tests, 291 one-day internationals and 25 Twenty20 internationals.

Pollock's tenure as captain ended after South Africa bowed out of the 2003 World Cup, which they played at home, in the first round. Smith took over the reins from Pollock, and he still holds them. The former allrounder suggested that the support structures around South Africa's captain may need attention.

"There were still goals I wanted to achieve and things I wanted to do with the team when I resigned," Pollock said. "But I remember [former captain] Hansie [Cronje], towards the end of his time as captain, saying he was running out of ideas.

"The people around the captain need to make sure they are giving him different ideas. It's a collective effort, and the South African team has always worked that way."

Pollock's career continued as a player under Smith's captaincy. What did he make of him as a leader? "If there was ever any issue between us, it was because I was just getting used to his style of captaincy," Pollock said. "He likes to lead from the front, but he was always open to ideas and searching for new ways to take the team forward."

South Africa will also play three Test matches in the Caribbean. The first Twenty20 international is in Antigua on Wednesday.

Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa