Former South African Test cricketer Colin Bland, who passed away at the age of 80 in England (colon cancer) was the spearhead in the fielding department, according to Peter Pollock, one of his team mates.
Speaking exclusively, he says, Colin Bland, Eddie Barlow and I all made our Test debuts on the same day, against New Zealand at Kingsmead in 1961. It was the start of a new Springbok cricket culture which saw the country move from being ranked 7th in the world to number one in 1970″.
“A major part of the culture was fielding and of course Colin Bland was the spearhead in this department”.
“He was a fine physical specimen and his strength was evident in his ability to throw. He patrolled the covers in the main but if he had to chase the ball to the boundary, his return was hard, low and direct!! He introduced a new dimension in this aspect of the game particularly in a day and age when fitness and athleticism was not regarded as a necessity”.
“Colin, Eddie and I were all fitness fanatics which did draw comments like “this is a cricket match not an athletics meeting” But discipline and fitness became a very real part of this team and the results speak for themselves”, Pollock added.
Interestingly, Colin Blande was arguably the greatest fieldsman of all time, nicknamed the ‘Golden Eagle’.
“Colin was of course a fine batsman averaging just under 50 from his 21 or so Tests. He was a part of a group of Springboks who never lost a series to Australia. He was a quiet soft spoken man who preferred to along his skills to do the talking”, he concluded.