JOHANNESBURG, Nov 7 (Reuters) South Africa have omitted leading wicket-taker Shaun Pollock from their starting XI for the first test against New Zealand starting in Johannesburg today.
South Africa will field the same team that drew the second test against Pakistan in Lahore last month to win the series and captain Graeme Smith admitted it was tough on Pollock to leave him out again.
''We have a lot of respect for Shaun Pollock but the team that did really well in Pakistan deserves another chance,'' Smith told reporters yesterday.
''I would not have liked to go into the match without a spinner, because I think we might need Paul Harris through the test. You need an attack to win test matches,'' he said.
The 34-year-old Pollock has taken 416 wickets in 107 tests.
He was South Africa's leading bowler in the home tests last season and was named the Cricketer of the Year.
He was left out of the side for the two tests against Pakistan but played in the one-day series which South Africa won 3-2 last month.
The absence of Pollock, who also averages 32.31 with the bat, leaves South Africa with a telling lack of batting depth, but Smith said he was confident some useful runs could come from numbers eight and nine, Harris and Andre Nel.
''It has been an asset having a frontline batsman at number eight but the top six really took responsibility in Pakistan and there were also good contributions at eight and nine, Nella got a 30 and Paul Harris scored 46,'' Smith said.
Team: Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn.
REUTERS RAR KP1818