South African Cricketer Shaun Pollock is a champion. He has taken more wickets than any other South African player including Allan Donald, his bowling mentor in the early part of his career. When Pollock retires (he is nearly 33) he will rightly look back on his career with pride and deserve all the accolades he receives.
But in the back of his mind will always be the nagging thought that he was unable to fully unleash his potential when it was most needed - in tests against Australia. In the recent series just gone by, Pollock played in all three tests, sent down 550 legal deliveries and took 4 wickets at the unflattering average of 66.25. Hardly the mark of a champion.
Moreover, an analysis of Pollock's career figures tells a similar tale. All up, Pollock has played 13 tests against Australia and taken 40 wickets at 36.85. Contrast this to his magnificent career figures of 389 wickets at 23.21 and you can see what the difference is.
But then all champions leave the game with personal desires unfulfilled: Allan Border retired before Australia defeated the West Indies in a test series; Steve Waugh retired before Australia defeated India in India; even Bradman himself was denied 4 vital runs to give him the perfect batting average.
Pollock has one, perhaps two more series against Australia up his sleeve. It would be good for him, for South Africa, and for cricket generally, if he were able to successfully impose himself on these future Aussie batsmen.