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India, South Africa deserve to play a 5-Test series: Graeme Pollock

Graeme Pollock, arguably the greatest batsman South Africa has produced, cannot wait for the India vs South Africa series to kick off on Thursday when both teams clash in the first of three one-day internationals at Kingsmead in Durban.

He tips India to win the one-day series considering the scratchy limited overs form of the hosts and of course the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian team’s one-day depth. But when it comes to the two-match Test series, he says India will encounter a very good all-round South African side.

Pollock (69) underwent a cancer operation a couple of months ago, but says things are on track on the health front. Watching the Tests will give him a special thrill, but he doesn’t hide his disappointment over the short, two-match series.

Graeme Pollock
Graeme Pollock in front of the new Pavilion in Port Elizabeth. Pics/Getty Images


He was honoured last week at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, where the pavilion was named after him. Sir Don Bradman believed Pollock was one of the two finest left-hand batsmen he saw. The other was Sir Garfield Sobers. In 23 Tests, Pollock averaged 60.97. Pollock spoke to MiD DAY from Johannesburg yesterday.

Excerpts:

 

Backing India...
India has a good team. With South Africa losing the one-day series to Pakistan recently, India must have a good chance to win the series. I would fancy India, with South Africa in this disappointing one-day form. The Test side is a good one, but they have been experimenting too much in the one-day set-up.

Durban
A picturesque view of the Kingsmead ground in Durban where India play South Africa in the second Test on December 26

The problem with SA...
Not batting people in the positions they should be in is getting South Africa into trouble. They have to start picking the best combination and try to win games. A guy like AB de Villiers should not be batting at No five, but at three and Quinton de Kock, who has done well in the opening position, should be left to open. Also, you have to be playing your best bowlers.

SA’s powerful Test force
South Africa have an all-round attack. Graeme Smith has been very successful, Jacques Kallis is back in the middle order, AB has been playing well. It’s a good balanced side and there is a leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who has done really well.

India shining all the way
It’s good to see your guys do well. Indian cricket is as good as it’s been. Everybody is getting runs and it’s a good attack with off-spinner R Ashwin doing well. It will be a good series and I am looking forward to seeing some good cricket. It’s a pity it is a short series and there is no Test action over the New Year which they were going to have at one time. It’s a pity. We need the long tours. You need a five-match series. There are too many of these short series and a whole lot of T20 and 50-over games. You need more Test cricket. Today’s players are not playing enough of it.

R Ashwin gives India an edge
R Ashwin gives India an edge

Longer series, please!
India and South Africa deserve to play a five-Test series because they have good teams. There is too much 20-over cricket. Look at the Ashes series – the first Test at Brisbane was very interesting and it is nice to have keyed-up Tests between two countries. We need more of that. You’ve got to keep the Test game alive. I would like to see a bigger series. I’m just tired of these 20-over games and slogging. There’s too much of it.

Good sides will attract crowds
I think the crowds will come. There is no doubt that Test cricket is still popular and when there are good sides, there will always be people to watch. India has a good side, the Aussies are always popular and England bring along their own supporters. We need some more Test cricket.  

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