Neil McKenzie could not have ended his first-class career on a better note than winning the Sunfoil Series with the Lions.
I was happy to see the Lions win the Sunfoil Series. They seem to be back on track and competing for trophies and have been good for a few years now. They are a good side with some very good players and coach Geoffrey Toyana has done a great job so far.
It was sad to see Neil hang up his boots, but he’s had a long, great career. He is Mister Nice Guy and a great team man. He took some knocks during his career, but he made some incredible contributions to South African cricket and the Lions in particular.
Neil ended his Test career as an opener where he did a helluva job. He was picked to play for South Africa at an relatively young age as a middle order batsman, and for him to have made his comeback to the Test team as an opener years later was special.
Looking at the Lions in general, I think Chris Morris moving to the Titans is a big loss. He was a big contributor and will be missed.
Stephen Cook has done really well over a couple of years now and he must be close to opening the batting for the Test team in the future. I know he is not that young anymore, but there is a history of batsmen playing Test cricket well into their thirties. Stephen is a fit guy so I don’t think his age is a problem.
The truth is there is a vacancy in the top order in the Test side so there’s an opportunity there.
I am also very worried about the state of domestic cricket in South Africa. The current standard of cricket in the domestic series isn’t good enough. I am also very weary and concerned about the new quota system that has been announced. There is too much interference from the top. I think quotas will make the standard of cricket even worse because I don’t think every franchise has two good black players.
There is no interest in local franchise cricket because of the poor quality. Having quotas won’t help, but one way to try and renew the interest would be to get the Proteas players more involved. I know they have busy schedules, but the national players must play domestic cricket at every opportunity. It rubs off on the franchise cricketers and will keep players sharp in between national team commitments.
Graeme Pollock played 23 Tests for South Africa, scoring 2256 runs at an average (60.97) that remains second only to Don Bradman’s. He was voted South Africa’s Player of the 20th century in 1999, and inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009.