South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has dismissed suggestions that Shaun Pollock's international career is over after the allrounder was left out of the side for the first Test against New Zealand in Johannesburg last week.
Rumours had circulated after Pollock was released from the squad to play for the Dolphins in the SuperSport Series that he would not be called on again. Arthur, however, said that he still had a role, admitting the two had had an "emotional meeting" about his future.
"We discussed every aspect of Polly's contribution to South African cricket and we went as far as talking about what lies ahead for him in the Test arena," Arthur told the Mercury newspaper. "I want Polly to be part of our plans for the next 18 months. He's too valuable a player to be dumped at this stage even though it may seem that we are not utilising his services.
"He's valuable around the younger players when they need guidance and that's where he plays a huge role. And I've realised how well he has served South Africa, with honesty, integrity and with dignity, and I wouldn't want to see his career end in tears."
But Arthur went on to say that Pollock would need to fill a holding role rather than being a strike bowler as the selectors envisaged a strategy of playing three genuine fast bowlers plus one spinner whenever possible.
"If and when the time arises - and the time will come - then Polly will certainly play in a Test match again," Arthur said. "He could very well be our ideal man during our tour to England in the middle of 2008. That's where a Pollock-type bowler comes into play.
"Hence the reason for me to say that he is needed by South Africa for at least the next 18 months. And that would include the tour to Australia and the return leg of matches against them in this country."