Daryll John Cullinan
March 04, 1967, Kimberley, Cape Province
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
Top order Batter
Less of an enigma than is sometimes claimed, Daryll Cullinan was the centrepiece of South Africa's batting from the early to mid-1990s. He came out second best in his duels with Shane Warne, but although much was made of the animosity between the two, a more sober assessment of Cullinan suggests that his failures on two Australian tours were largely the result of an almost desperate desire to prove himself against a cricketing nation he held in high regard.
Against all other attacks in all kinds of conditions he scored runs, as demonstrated by his century in Galle in 2000 against Muthiah Muralidaran operating on a turning track. In 1994, when South Africa were decimated by Devon Malcolm and bowled out for 175, Cullinan made a graceful 94 and was the only South African not to lose his wicket to Malcolm.
Equally adept against pace or spin, Cullinan had the priceless gift of timing. He made even a forward-defensive prod look stylish. He took some time to shake off a reputation earned as a schoolboy as the "new Graeme Pollock", a label placed on him when he broke Pollock's record as South Africa's youngest first-class century-maker. Cullinan went on to break the record for the highest first-class score by a South African (337 not out against Northern Transvaal in 1993, which has since been overtaken) and at Eden Park in 1999, he edged past Pollock's highest Test score of 274 by one run to claim the South African record, which he held for about four years.
Cullinan made 14 Test hundreds in all. More importantly, he accepted the role of senior batter, and it is surely no coincidence that when he scored first-innings hundreds in the first and fourth Tests against England in 1999-00, South Africa went on to win both matches.
He scored two more hundreds in his final Test series, in the Caribbean in early 2001, and retired from international cricket after some back and forth with the board.
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