South Africa ponder over Pollock

Mickey Arthur, South Africa's coach, has indicated that Shaun Pollock might not play the first Test against New Zealand starting at the Wanderers on Thursday. According to Arthur, the winning XI who won the Test series against Pakistan in October would probably take the field.

"We're very much a squad and there's always going to be one guy that misses out," Arthur was quoted as saying by the Independent Online website. "The spinner [Paul Harris] has made a huge impact for us - he's bowled particularly well - so I don't think we'll tinker too much. We'll have a look at the conditions later and see where we go, but it's still very much a squad system. If conditions warrant it, Polly [Pollock] will play."

Pollock was dropped for the first time in his 107-Test career during the Pakistan series with captain Graeme Smith explaining that it was a tactical decision to rest Pollock and give some young fast bowlers exposure to alien conditions.

That successful series over, Arthur was not very worried about his bowlers having to switch from Pakistan's flatter surfaces to the bouncier ones at home. "We need to get back into our own conditions quickly, and prepare accordingly," he said. "The guys are skilled and good enough to make the change quickly.

"That's part and parcel of international sport - you change disciplines pretty quickly. We just have to tighten up our defences and tighten up our skills in the nets, so we'll be fine. I'm hoping by the end of today the players will be back in Test-match mode."