Kallis: The most valuable

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Saturday, July 5, 2003, 13:39 [IST]
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Bangalore: Jacques Henry Kallis was always a class act but watching him bat in the recent triangular series in England gave the impression he has found a higher plane. Sometimes I wonder... we keep talking so much of Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Waugh, Hayden and so on but somehow don't tend to include Kallis in the same league. I do agree Kallis is an all-rounder but his batting skills alone can match that of any of the top genuine batsman - his stats bare ample testimony to that fact. He averages an excellent 50.40 in the Tests (4486 runs) and 45.17 in the One-dayers (6279 runs) added to that he has picked up a combined 300 plus wickets in both forms of the game. He is also an excellent slip fielder and an equally good outfielder.

Boy! Whether or not this man features among the top bats, he definitely must rate as the most Valuable player.

Statistics apart, there are few players in world cricket who come across as purists and Kallis is one of those rare breeds. Overdose of One-day cricket has definitely not corrupted his style of play. Be it the initial stages or the slog overs Kallis, more often than not, exhibits classic cricketing strokes and yet scores at a fair clip.

I found time to watch only one of those three knocks in the triangular series (the second one) and what impressed me the most was the way in which he dispatched the ball off the square in the slog overs. Most batsmen tend to favour the leg side during the death - heaving across the line, but Kallis slogs accordingly.

For balls pitched on the off or outside the off he plays through the line and smashes them over extra-cover and cover-point and invariably finds the ropes which, kind off, had a soothing effect on the eyes - his recent form in the triangular series along with that of Trescothick's makes for good watching.

Kallis is no doubt the backbone of South African cricket but he has also been a regular contributor to world cricket with his class and consistency.

If South Africa have to regain their lost sheen then a lot will depend on how, Kallis not only performs but also on how, he is able to guide South Africa's young and upcoming batsmen.


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