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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
Former South African allrounder Shaun Pollock has been announced as this year’s celebrity guest cricketer at the 2013 Philadelphia International Cricket Festival. The annual social event, now in its 21st year, will see 18 club teams from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida and the United Kingdom take part in a series of Twenty20 matches from May 2-5 at some of the best cricket facilities in America including the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Germantown Cricket Club and Merion Cricket Club.
Pollock is South Africa’s all-time leader in Test wickets and eighth overall in Test cricket with 421 at an average of 23.11 in an international career that spanned from his debut against England in 1995 until his final match, a Twenty20 fixture against the West Indies in 2008. He was also a steady contributor with the bat, averaging 32.31 in his Test career with two Test centuries and 16 half-centuries.
The appearance of Pollock continues a longstanding tradition of former international cricketers to appear at the festival, South Africans in particular. Last year’s celebrity guest was former South African spinner Paul Harris while previous guest cricketers at the tournament have included Jonty Rhodes, Mark Boucher and Gary Kirsten.
Sarasota (FL) Cricket Club comes back to the tournament this year as the reigning champion. Sarasota CC also earned a share of the title in 2009. Along with the matches, the Philadelphia International Cricket Festival serves as a fundraiser by auctioning off autographed cricket memorabilia with the proceeds going to benefit youth cricket.