17 Facts about Daryll Cullinan - The elegant South African batsman

17 Facts about Daryll Cullinan – The elegant South African batsman

Daryll Cullinan
South African cricketer Daryll Cullinan. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Daryll Cullinan was the centrepiece of South Africa’s batting from the early to mid-1990s. He came out second best in his duels with Shane Warne, but although much was made of the animosity between the two, a more sober assessment of Cullinan suggests that his failures on two Australian tours were largely the result of an almost desperate desire to prove himself against a cricketing nation he holds in high regard. Against all other attacks in all kinds of conditions, the right-hander scored runs with poise. Equally adept against pace or spin, Cullinan had the priceless gift of timing. He made even a forward defensive prod look stylish.

1. Birth:

Daryll Cullinan was born on 4th March 1967 in Kimberley in the Cape Province of South Africa.

2. New Graeme Pollock:

Cullinan took some time, it is true, to shake off a reputation earned as a schoolboy as the “new Graeme Pollock”, a label tagged on him when he broke Pollock’s record as South Africa’s youngest First-class centurion at the age of 16.

3. The unusual stoppage:

Cullinan was also involved in an unusual stoppage when ‘calamari stopped play’. During a regional match in South Africa, Cullinan hit fellow SA international Roger Telemachus for six, whereupon it ended up in the kitchen and straight into a pan of fried calamari. According to Wisden, “Daryll Cullinan hit a six into a frying pan. It was about ten minutes before the ball was cool enough for the umpires to remove the grease. Even then, (the bowler) was unable to grip the ball and it had to be replaced.”

4. At The Oval in 1994:

In 1994, when South Africa was decimated by Devon Malcolm and bowled out for 175, Cullinan made a graceful 94 and was the only South African not to lose his wicket to Devon Malcolm who took 9/57 in a hostile spell of fast bowling. Cullinan’s gutsy knock though couldn’t prevent his team from losing the match by 8 wickets.

5. Highest first-class score in South Africa:

Cullinan set the South African mark for the highest first-class score in 1993 when he scored an unbeaten 337 for Transvaal against Northern Transvaal. This record stood until 2009 when Lion’s opener Stephen Cook scored 390 against Warriors in East London.

6. Overtaking Pollock:

At Eden Park in 1999 Cullinan edged past Graeme Pollock’s highest Test score of 274 by one run to claim the then South African record. This record stood until Hashim Amla hammered an unbeaten 311 against England in 2012 at The Kia Oval in London.

7. Shane Warne’s bunny:

Despite a first-class career spanning almost 20 years, sources such as the Herald Sun quote Cullinan as being Shane Warne’s bunny. Cullinan averaged 12.75 against Australia, falling to Shane Warne on four occasions. Cullinan also fell to Warne eight times in One-Day Internationals.

8. 2001 season:

Cullinan tried to opt out of one-day cricket at the end of the 2001 season, but the South African board put pressure on him to sign a new two-year contract. However, he retired from all international cricket in 2002 under a cloud of dispute with the board. It was later revealed that the board had had been unable to meet certain demands made by Cullinan.

9. Indian Cricket League:

Cullinan retracted his retirement, but the board found itself able to resist the temptation to bring him back Cullinan moved on and became the coach of the Kolkata Tigers team in the Indian Cricket League in the year 2007.

10. Sledging:

Cullinan was well known not just for being a bunny to Warne’s bowling but also as someone who always had a few words to rattle the opposition. The two hadn’t played each other for some time so when Cullinan walked out to bat in a match, Warne couldn’t resist heckling him: “I’ve been waiting two years for another chance at you”. Cullinan got him back with a ripper: “Looks like you spent it eating…”

11. Foe turned friend:

Cullinan invited Shane Warne to his benefit dinner two days before the 2003 World Cup. He stated that Warne was brilliant and everyone involved had a great time.

12. Commentary stint:

Cullinan was a television commentator for SuperSport post his retirement. Cricket South Africa (CSA) though, withdrew his accreditation in 2008 for the series between South Africa and West Indies because of his involvement in the Indian Cricket League.

13. Confrontation with HD Ackerman:

Cullinan found himself in trouble after a well-publicised confrontation with countryman HD Ackerman during a domestic match when. Cullinan, who captains Titans, was summoned along with Ackerman, skipper of Lions after the pair clashed during a match between the two sides at Potchefstroom in 2004. Cullinan spoke to Ackerman as he came out to bat and the latter was upset by the comments and got involved in a heated confrontation, later making a formal complaint to the umpires. Cullinan was banned for one match while Ackerman was severely reprimanded for his part in the incident.

14. The Gibbs controversy:

Former team-mate Herschelle Gibbs had accused Cullinan of informing the team management about a marijuana-smoking session in the West Indies in 2001 in his autobiography To the Point. But Cullinan denied the charge in a guest column on the website sport24.co.za.

15. Favourite cricketer:

Cullinan considers Brian Lara as the best player of his era. He admires Lara for his footwork, his strokeplay, and his sheer brilliance and reckons that Lara was the batsmen to do the impossible when the situation demanded.

16. Memorable knocks:

In the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2000, Cullinan scored a hundred against Muttiah Muralitharan, the world’s best offspinner, on a turning track. He scored first-innings hundreds in the first and fourth Tests against England in 1999-00 and South Africa went on to win both matches.

17. International stats:

Daryll Cullinan played 70 Tests scoring 4554 runs at an average of 44.21 including 14 tons and 20 fifties with a best of 275 not out against the Kiwis in Auckland. He played 138 ODIs and scored 3860 runs at n average of 32.99 and a strike rate of 70.28. He made 3 tons and 23 fifties in the format with a best of 124 against Pakistan in Nairobi.