Already 1-0 up in the Test series, South Africa's confidence has been further boosted by Shaun Pollock's return to the squad. However, while Pollock insisted that he had recovered completely from a chronic inflammation in his left ankle, a final decision hasn't yet been made on his inclusion in the team, and doubts still loom over whether the South Africans would want to change the combination which won the second Test in Trinidad.
Pollock, who has missed the last three Tests and three ODIs, joined the squad on Monday ahead of the third Test in Barbados, which starts on April 21. "My ankle feels better with every ball I bowl, but it's not my decision," said Pollock. "There isn't much I can accomplish in the two days before the Test, but for the selectors to be able to see me bowl might ease the decision they have to make."
Pollock holds an exceptional record against West Indies. He has played 14 Tests against them and has captured 65 wickets at 21.70. He bowled without any discomfort at the nets on Tuesday.
"There was nothing more I could do at home," said Pollock, who has played domestic cricket since his return from injury. "I still have a little discomfort, but it's not going to go by the end of the summer. It's either have a go now, or take the rest of the season off."
South Africa won the second Test by eight wickets, assisted by a magnificent spell from Makhaya Ntini, who returned figures of 13 for 132 - the best by a South African in Tests.
"I remember from when we here last time [in 2001] that the pitch does a bit in the morning, and then tends to calm down," Pollock said, referring to the track at the Kensington Oval. "It was one of the nicer wickets we played on, it had some pace in it." If Pollock is selected, it is likely to be at the expense of Monde Zondeki.
While there were doubts in some quarters about whether Pollock should be included, Colin Croft, the former West Indian fast bowler, emphatically supported him. "I would select him anytime. Apart from the opening bowlers the others have not really done much," Croft was quoted as saying in The Mercury. "Andrew Hall and Charl Langeveldt in Guyana, and Monde Zondeki in Trinidad, did not impress, so the South Africans need Pollock to back Andre Nel and Makhaya Ntini."
West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Wavell Hinds, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Brian Lara, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul (capt), 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Ryan Hinds, 8 Courtney Browne (wk), 9 Daren Powell, 10 Fidel Edwards, 11 Reon King.
South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 AB de Villiers, 3 Jacques Rudolph, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 Herschelle Gibbs, 6 Ashwell Prince, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Shaun Pollock, 9 Nicky Boje, 10 Andre Nel, 11 Makhaya Ntini.