The cricket-loving Indian public has come to the aid of the ailing and financially-troubled Graeme Pollock.
Pollock, arguably the greatest batsman ever produced by South Africa, has fallen on tough times after suffering substantial losses in his brokerage business. He is looking to the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) to help him out of the hole.
Last week, the Mumbai Mirror reported that Pollock is struggling to pay his medical bills and may lose his home in Johannesburg. For nearly two years, Pollock has battled colon cancer and Parkinson’s disease. A recent stroke has also restricted his movements.
Basil O’Hagan, Pollock’s agent, said he was confident that Pollock will add value in the IPL as a mentor and motivator, a position Mike Horn has successfully performed at the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The front page story in the Indian newspaper provoked a fantastic response from readers across the cricket-mad country. Pollock’s agent has been swamped with emails and offers of help. It was unexpected, but the family is very grateful for all the support.
Speaking to sacricketmag.co.za on Monday, South Africa’s cricketer of the 20th century said he had been touched by the response.
‘It really has been overwhelming,’ Pollock told this website. ‘These past 18 months have been a nightmare. It’s been one thing [going wrong] after another, and so to see a response like this … well, I can’t thank everybody enough.’
Pollock added that he was thankful for the backing he received in India, and hoped that the exposure in the Mumbai Mirror would lead to a few opportunities.
‘The game has changed a lot since I played, but I still believe I can add value [as a mentor],’ he said.
O’Hagan told the Mumbai Mirror, ‘The response from India has been greater than expected. It appears as though the Indian people and the cricketing community have embraced our plea to give Graeme a respectful and dignified retirement. The sentiment towards the plea is so positive, from India and its people.’