NEWS | Anne Lim
Wednesday 27 May 2015
Illustrious South African fast bowler Peter Pollock achieved his lifelong dreams through cricket but found them hollow.
The former Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1966 played every Test for South Africa between 1962 and 1970, achieving success and fame alongside his brother Graeme.
“Cricket was a wonderful medium for me,” Mr Pollock told Eternity during a recent visit to Australia when he shared a stage in Brisbane with former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson.
“But I think the most important thing about cricket was the fame and the success, and then to come to grips with the fact that life isn’t about that. It was the medium through which the fame and the success came.
“As a kid I always wanted to be a cricketer – I wanted to beat Australia, to beat England; I wanted to be part of the best cricket team in the world. And all those things came – only to find out that it’s a chasing after the wind. There isn’t peace and fulfilment there. You can achieve all those things but something’s still missing.
“King Solomon was only the richest, wisest guy ever and he came to grips with that, that it was a chasing after the wind – except you find God. And finding God isn’t just knowing about him; it’s actually meeting him.”
Mr Pollock, who played a Test match at the Gabba on his first tour of Australia in 1963, met Christ in a dramatic way after his wife was born again. Scornful of her “happy, clappy” new friends, Mr Pollock watched a TV programme in the hope of convincing her of the errors of her ways but ended up seeing a reflection of his own sin and arrogance. He began the day as a critic of “this born again stuff” and ended it as a sinner who “sobbed like a baby” after praying a prayer at the bottom of his garden. He then became what he calls “God’s fast bowler” – a full-time evangelist, travelling the world and taking any opportunity to preach the gospel for the past 30 years.
The former cricketing great discovered a kindred spirit when he met Mr Anderson at a Governor’s prayer breakfast in Perth a few years ago. The forthright South African impressed Mr Anderson with his “uncompromising commitment to faith that shines through”. The pair have since become friends, with Mr Pollock staying at Mr Anderson’s farm on one of his many visits to Australia.
Speaking to Eternity before they shared a platform, Mr Anderson said Mr Pollock was one of several people who had encouraged him to speak more boldly in the public sphere about his concerns for an increasingly atheistic society and the erosion of Christian beliefs.
“As I’ve watched our own culture slide away faster and faster into chaos, economic and social, it’s added greatly to my own sense of conviction that Christ is the answer, and that there is an urgency in the context of the aggressive new atheism,” he said. “That’s been the great driver for me – the aggressiveness of the new atheism.
“My point is this: the new atheists have the same problem as the old atheists had – they can’t point us to a proper way to live. They want to burn down the little that is left of the cultural house we live in, and they don’t even have a slab hut for us to move into as an alternative. I fear for our culture; I fear for our freedoms but, above all, I am convinced that each of us needs to ask ourselves ‘Who is this Christ?’ The most significant man who ever lived, who made extraordinary claims. He tells us that we’re lost and we don’t want to hear it. Even when all the evidence tells us that we’re lost, we don’t want to hear it.”
Mr Anderson and Mr Pollock spoke to several hundred Christians and non-Christians at various events during a men’s weekend organised by Kenmore Baptist Church in Brisbane on May 15-17.