ICC Champions Trophy 2017
Pollock gets payback on World Cup sledge
South Africa's former skipper enjoys his chance to get his own back at Kumar Sangakkara during the Champion Trophy
11 June 2017, 02:47 PM AEST
Clearly Shaun Pollock has a long memory.
As Sri Lanka headed towards a famous victory over India in Thursday's ICC Champions Trophy clash at The Oval, Pollock approached co-commentator Kumar Sangakkara.
It was the moment he'd been waiting more than 14 years for.
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Ever since March 3, 2003, to be precise, when Sri Lanka knocked South Africa out of the World Cup in a rain-affected tie.
Pollock had skippered the Proteas in that match, now famously remembered for his team's miscalculation of the runs required under the Duckworth-Lewis system that saw them fall a single short of progression and instead resulted in another ignominious exit from the showpiece ODI event.
Emerging from that contest was a piece of footage that has since become a staple on all 'classic sledging' YouTube clips, in which Sangakkara, standing behind the stumps, welcomes Pollock to the crease with the score at 6-212 and reminds him of both the gravity of the situation as well as the pressure he is under.
— ICC (@ICC) June 10, 2017
"Lots of pressure here for the skipper, yeah," Sangakkara can be heard to say. "He's going to let his whole country down now if he fails.
"Lots of expectations, fellas. The weight of all these expectations, fellas. The weight of the country, chaps.
"Forty-two million supporters right here, depending on Shaun."
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Pollock made 25 from 37 balls before being run-out and forced to watch on from the sidelines as the subsequent drama unfolded.
So on Thursday – and with tongue firmly in cheek and a big grin spread across his face – he approached Sangakkara with a dilemma: the Sri Lankans were looking good things to beat India and possibly progress to the semi-finals, however with Upul Tharanga suspended for an over-rate offence, the same fate potentially awaiting Angelo Mathews, and injury to Kusal Perera, they were running out of leaders.
Consequently, Pollock couldn't resist. He seized his moment.
"Sri Lanka going really well here in their run chase, looks like they could get over the line," the South African said, setting the scene.
"(They've got) Tharanga banned, Mathews maybe going to get banned, Perera out injured … now we've just got to ask the question to Kumar Sangakkara: All the expectations of your country sit on your shoulders. Twenty-one million people, all depending on you. Will you answer the call, and come back and play in the quarter-final against Pakistan? All the country's expectations on your shoulders."
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A laughing Sangakkara thanked Pollock for the reminder of the '03 World Cup, before adding with a grin: "The pressure is not on me. There is no pressure sitting in the commentary box, and that's exactly how I'd like it to stay."
Pollock had the final say.
"Twenty-one million people disappointed with Kumar Sangakkara for not taking the pressure on his shoulders," he said.
And while it left no doubt as to Sangakkara's decision to remain happily retired from the international game, the hilarious exchange at least gave Pollock a semblance of payback for that fateful day all those years ago.
Champions Trophy 2017 Guide
Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation
2 June – New Zealand v Australia, No Result
4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs
5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, No Result
6 June – England beat New Zealand by 87 runs
11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (D)
12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)
14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)
15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)
18 June – Final, The Oval (D)
19 June – Reserve day (D)