Brief profile of Daryll Cullinan
by Matthew Reed

Player:DJ Cullinan

DateLine: 12th December 2005


Daryll Cullinan was a rare example of a cricketer who was able to build a substantial career on the foundations of prodigiously early exploits. His First-class debut for Border came as a schoolboy, and his compilation of a First-class century two months before his seventeenth birthday is still a record. A Test average of 44, with 14 hundreds (in five different countries) clearly demonstrates Cullinan’s pedigree. However, many memories of him will revolve around his ill-fated war of sledges with Shane Warne. Their spat had been started by Cullinan, after he had unwisely explained how he was going to best Warne, and despite him holding his own in their legendary on the field sledging, there was only one cricketing winner. In seven Tests against Australia he averaged just 12.75, with his average in Australia being a barely believable 4.42. Although Warne dismissed him just four times out of eleven, the whole saga had clearly wound him up into a state of paralysing intensity. Despite (or perhaps because of,) his outstanding talent, Cullinan often found it easy to fall out with people. In his first spell in county cricket in 1995, he found the practical jokery of the Derbyshire dressing room (and the English game in general) to be wearisome. He also found it hard to settle with a South African state, frequently uprooting himself to play elsewhere. He retired from international cricket in 2002 after falling out with the South African cricket board. Despite being recalled and earmarked to replace the injured Shaun Pollock as captain against Australia in the 2nd Test in March 2002, Cullinan withdrew on the eve of the match after being refused a senior contract. He apologised for this eight months later, and dropped unsubtle hints about once again being available for selection. However, his absence had given a certain Graeme Smith his Test match debut, and despite South Africa creaking under the pressure of racial quotas and the fall out from Cronjegate, time had passed Cullinan by, although maverick (and short term) coach Ray Jennings had wanted him to tour India at the age of 37. For all his prickliness, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Cullinan was a vital cog in the wheel of the South African side of the mid-late 1990’s, a time when they were arguably the second best Test team in the world.


December 2005

(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)


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