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South Africa will field the same team that drew the second test against Pakistan in Lahore last month to win the series and captain Graeme Smith admitted it was tough on Pollock to leave him out again.

"We have a lot of respect for Shaun Pollock but the team that did really well in Pakistan deserves another chance," Smith told reporters on Wednesday.

"I would not have liked to go into the match without a spinner, because I think we might need Paul Harris through the test. You need an attack to win test matches," he said.

The 34-year-old Pollock has taken 416 wickets in 107 tests.

He was South Africa's leading bowler in the home tests last season and was named the Cricketer of the Year.

He was left out of the side for the two tests against Pakistan but played in the one-day series which South Africa won 3-2 last month.

The absence of Pollock, who also averages 32.31 with the bat, leaves South Africa with a telling lack of batting depth, but Smith said he was confident some useful runs could come from numbers eight and nine, Harris and Andre Nel.

"It has been an asset having a frontline batsman at number eight but the top six really took responsibility in Pakistan and there were also good contributions at eight and nine, Nella got a 30 and Paul Harris scored 46," Smith said.
 

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South Africa's selectors are a disgrace, really. I know that Shaun Pollock is reaching the end of his career, however I'd like to point out a few things, with regard to the SA line-up & Shaun Pollock's exclusion...

Shaun Pollock:
  • Currently ranked the best ODI all-rounder in the world.
  • Currently ranked the 3rd best Test all-rounder in the world.
  • Currently ranked the best ODI bowler in the world.
  • Currently ranked 5th best Test bowler in the world.
  • Of all current ODI bowlers, Pollock has highest ever ranking - even higher that Muralidaran.
  • Of all current Test bowlers, Pollock has the 2nd highest ever ranking.
In contrast:
  • Andre Nel is currently ranked the 23rd best Test bowler - behind the likes of Chris Martin (106 wickets at 34.3, over 106 innings)!
  • Dale Steyn (also included in SA's squad) is ranked 28th.
  • Paul Harris is ranked 34th, as a Test bowler.
Paul Harris has conceded 248 runs from his last 4 innings, from 55 overs. That's 4.5 runs per over, which is not exactly 'miserly'; & when you've got guys like Nel & Steyn in your bowling ranks, you really do need someone to stem the flow of runs that they're likely to concede.
I can only assume that SA are working on the premise that NZ are still a soft target in the Test arena (as they always have been), & that SA is using this opportunity to blood some new players. However, that being said, wouldn't you want to blood your new players with your best & most experienced players? Looking at the facts I've listed above, there's no doubt that Pollock falls into that category!

I certainly hope that if SA were playing Australia or India, SA's line-up would look quite different... or else they would, without a doubt, be on the receiving end of another hiding like the one they received from Australia during 2005/2006.
 
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