Cricket World Cup 2011
Pollock: SA will make final
Shaun Pollock (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Former captain Shaun Pollock is confident South Africa can overcome their past agonies at the World Cup and make the final in this year's edition on the sub-continent.
"I have a firm belief that we will definitely make the final, I've got that feeling. We're only ranked fourth, but maybe that's what we need, it's going to be a very open tournament. We need to plod through the opening round and then put three good performances together at the end and there's no reason we can't win it," Pollock said at SuperSport's World Cup dinner in Bryanston on Wednesday night.
South Africa's leading ODI wicket-taker, with 387 in 294 matches, believes the seeds of success lie in the team not being particularly highly-rated and the fact that lady luck is overdue to smile on them.
"We've been extremely unfortunate in the past, so we are due some luck, we all hope for a happy ending this time. At some stage, things will run for us and we always have a team that has an excellent chance of winning the competition," Pollock said.
The great all-rounder said although the squad of 15 provided numerous options, it would be up to a dozen players to produce the goods.
"They're going to depend on 12 players, players 13, 14 and 15 - the only ones whose places there was some debate about - will probably play very little part. It's very difficult to play all of them, maybe they'll get a chance against the minnows," Pollock said.
The Natalian said he did not support the exclusion of fellow all-rounder Albie Morkel, but added an extra spin bowler could fulfil the same role.
"As one myself, I have a soft spot for the seam-bowling all-rounder and I would have liked to have had Albie Morkel in the squad. But he's had a lot of opportunity and you could say he should have solidified his place in the team by now.
"But they'll probably play two spinners, they'll be your all-rounders. Having Jacques Kallis back allows it," Pollock pointed out.
South Africa's leading ODI wicket-taker, with 387 in 294 matches, said co-hosts Sri Lanka also had a very good chance of winning the World Cup, despite their lack of fast bowlers.
"Sri Lanka have a real chance, they've been under the radar, although playing against the West Indies will not be ideal preparation.
"But the conditions will suit them, even though they have no real pace, Lasith Malinga does a job for them and then their spinners will be a handful. The opposition don't know much about a lot of their players and they've all matured quickly in the last couple of years," Pollock said.
"India will be under a lot of pressure at home, while England are low on confidence at the moment and the injury to Eoin Morgan will be a huge loss.
"Australia have their problems too. There's no doubt they'll be competitive, but they've had a few wobbles in recent history that have rocked their foundations. They used to have guys that they could depend on to quickly turn games around, but now everyone needs to be at their best and contributing for them to win.
"Michael Hussey won't be there and they will miss him, but Australia have been there and done it before, which counts for a lot. A lot of their players already have a World Cup under the belt.
"And Pakistan are like the French rugby team - you just never know how they'll be on the day," Pollock said.