South Africa in Australia 2012-13

Experience bumps up Kallis' value

Jacques Kallis may not have dabbled much in captaincy, but his vast cricketing knowhow makes him invaluable to South Africa

Firdose Moonda in Brisbane

November 7, 2012

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Smith embraces Jacques Kallis after his sharp catch, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day, August 17, 2012
Gary Kirsten on Jacques Kallis: "He has reached the point where he is adding good value to the team environment" © AFP
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When Jacques Kallis' credentials are compared to those of other legends, they stand up in every way. He is fourth on the all-time run-scoring list and the only allrounder to have scored over 11,000 runs and taken more than 250 wickets. Statistically, Kallis is unmatched but the reason he shares his 'greatest' tag with the likes of Garry Sobers is not only because they played in different eras but because there is one thing Kallis has not done: captain.

In 17 years as an international cricketer, Kallis has officially led the team in 15 times, all in the latter third of his career. In 2006, Kallis captained in three ODIs against Zimbabwe and the next year, he was the designated leader in a tri-series involving India and Ireland.

Test captaincy has been even more rare. He took on the role in two matches against Australia in 2009 and would not have done so if not for extreme circumstances - Graeme Smith was ruled out with a broken hand and Ashwell Prince refused to lead the team because he was being made to open the batting instead of play in the middle-order, which was his preference. Kallis was the emergency replacement and has never been approached to do the job in any form since.

As a result, he is perceived as reluctant to be in charge and someone who prefers to focus on his own game. While that may have been true for the Kallis who ate up balls in the 2007 World Cup against Australia when he should have been pushing the run-rate, it does not reflect the Kallis of today. "He has reached the point where he is adding good value to the team environment," Gary Kirsten, South Africa's coach, said.

Kallis' ability to influence team direction is not overt. He is hardly ever seen assisting in field placings or chatting to bowlers before they run up, and those who have batted with him have revealed that he is a man of few words in the middle. What he brings is experience few cricketers on the world stage can match.

Consider that on Friday Kallis will become one of only three players - Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar being the other two - to have played at 50 Test venues, and you will understand the vastness of his cricketing acumen. By sharing that, Kallis leads in his own way.

"It's an important thing to do for guys who have been to places like England or Australia - you have knowledge that you pass on to guys who haven't been here," Kallis said. "It's about being a captain of your own environment, because it grows you as a person and a cricketer. I've never been one that likes to compare players or eras, especially with the amount of cricket we play. It's an honour to be compared with those guys, but I just love playing and I love winning and I want to contribute as much as I can contribute to winning matches."

Kallis' ability to influence team direction is not overt. He is hardly ever seen assisting in field placings or chatting to bowlers before they run up, and those who have batted with him have revealed that he is a man of few words in the middle. What he brings is experience few cricketers on the world stage can match.

Occasionally, Kallis will dip into some of that wall of wisdom in front of the media and recently he has been doing it with increasing frequency. He launched an attack on DRS in New Zealand and showed prudent sensitivity during Mark Boucher's forced retirement in England.

In Australia, Kallis took the opportunity to express the need for longer Test series. "It would be nice to have more Tests against Australia. I thought the two-Test series we had last year was crazy," he said. "It's about scheduling but we need to find a way for series between top teams to turn into four or five-match series."

The reality is that this series is comprised of only three Tests but it could have the intensity of a longer contest as South Africa are involved in their fourth battle for No. 1 since 2010. This time South Africa are the title-holders and their opposition the challengers.

Kallis knows all too well the feeling of being the latter and thinks South Africa's experience of being nearly-men for so long will be an advantage, even though it could be seen as the opposite. "It does feel slightly different coming to Australia as No. 1 because you come with that at the back of your mind," he said. "But we also come with knowing how hard we had to work to get that success and I don't see any reason why we can't get ourselves into positions to win."

Another of the obvious ticks in South Africa's column is the presence of Kallis himself, whether or not he is contributing in a leadership role. With no allrounder in the Australia XI, Kallis' ability to be, as Kirsten said, "two players in one who would make any team in the world whether as a bowler or a batsmen", could prove a telling divide between the two teams.

It's that, rather than considering whether Kallis is providing inside information that Ricky Ponting said Australia will focus on. For that reason, Australia will treat Kallis as their "No. 1 opponent" for the next week. "He has had a lot of success with bat and ball and we've got to find ways of breaking him down," Ponting said.

Kallis took the warning as a "compliment" but issued one of his own back, in rather captain-like style: "We've got 11 guys in our side who are match-winners. The guys are hungry to do well here and we've set ourselves high standards."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by PhillDag71 on (November 8, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

Botham still has and when Callis retires, will have him in my opinion. Kallis may be more proficient with the bat, but Botham has him hands down in the field, and I hate to say it but it's in the field where you win a game. Botham was my hero growing up. They both average about 1.2 catches per game, but Botham with 53 less tests than Kallis had taken 103 more wickets. I don't know how ANYONE can say that Botham's bowling let him down in the latter stages of his career. He was the youngest player to score 1,000 test runs and take 100 test wickets of my generation. On 3 seperate occasions Botham scored >250 runs and >20 wickets in a test series - Kallis has only done this once.

Posted by Beertjie on (November 8, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

@Biggus on (November 08 2012, 01:48 AM GMT) you echo my sentiments completely. It's not really fair to compare players from different eras but having seen Sobers play there's no question of his genius. Like Kallis, captaincy did not come naturally, but unlike him he was too much of a gambler!

Posted by Basil777 on (November 8, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

Its an unfair comparison Sobers played in an era where batsman-analysis was'nt so sophisticated. Sobers had to perform to prove a point and led from the front. Kallis on the other hand had nothing prove to anyone. Kallis is greatest underrated player of all-time; he produce all the time. When we speak about Sachin we agree he is the greatest batsman of all-time; but somehow it's difficult people to say Kallis is the greatest allrounder of all-time. Kallis is King it time cricket supporters accept that.

Posted by hst84 on (November 8, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

Gary Sobers and Jacques Kallis have played in completely different perspectives. In those days, the quantity of cricket played was low compared to today so this statement brings upon many different questions which one needs to ponder upon. Nevertheless, Kallis himself stated that he wasn't in the criteria of players who like to compare and comment, that remains the greatness of a cricketer who respects everyone on the field and off the field and remains adamant to play for his country and win.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Ponting a cheap captain Australia ever had and now the cheapest player .... King Kallis, a legend of this game...SA beat Aus 3-0

Posted by Samar_Singh on (November 8, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

Three greatest crickter ever : 1: Bradman 2. Sobers and Kallis

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

sobers could bowl left arm ortho, left arm chinaman (extremely rare), medium pace, he was 100 times better fielder than kallis could ever be. sobers was in lines of jhonty rhodes. he would take absolute blinders almost in every match. if your comparing odis/tests u should remember back then FC matches were of equivalent value as odi's today. stats were stacked up on entire tour including FC matches. not to mention playing on uncovered pitches. and the numbe of big sobers had, kallis has one double in 17 years. sobers scored 365 in his 3rd yr of his test career. anyone who says kallis's stats speak for themselves is blind. sobers higher averages, bigger hundereds. also Kallis averages 67 with he bat in SA wins with the bowl in 136 inns he has 176 wkts in SA wins. Sobers in only58 inns has 104 wkts and averages 77 with the bat in WI wins. there is not comparison, kallis is a great player, but a in skills and as a complete cricketer he will never be close to sobers. & u cant change that

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 8, 2012, 2:58 GMT)

When you compare Kallis to Sobers I suggest using your eyes ! Anyone who saw Sobers bat in Australia would know he was better than Lara. Anyone who saw Kallis and Lara bat would say ? It may be the end of the equation, but anyone who really had any idea would realise Sobers bowled spin (both wrist and finger btw) when WI wanted fast bowlers and Sobers bowled seam when WI wanted spinners. Kallis (historically) = perhaps Sth Africa's 3rd best batsman and not even close to Goddard or Barlow (maybe even Proctor?) as their best allrounder. STATS lie nearly as much as those of you promoting them, with no concept.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (November 8, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

Kallis is a class act, under rated around the world. He doesn't need to captain to earn respect from the cricketing public. He has faced some of the all time great bowlers and dismissed some of the all time great batsmen. That's all that matters. His achievements at all three forms speak for themselves.

Posted by Biggus on (November 8, 2012, 1:48 GMT)

Kallis may not be fashionable and I've certainly been guilty of under-rating him over the years, but the numbers do no lie. He's been prolific over a great period of time and must rate very highly as an all rounder although I do agree he's perhaps more properly a batsman who bowls a bit better than the average batsman. He does however, bore me senseless. I just can't quite put my finger on why but he does, nevertheless we'd select him every time if he was an Aussie, his numbers are just that good, and therein lies his value.

Posted by Paulk on (November 8, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

I remember in the 80s Ian Botham was often compared to Sir Gary. Gary Sobers was a little before my time but I think of him as more of a batting allrounder and Botham was more of a bowling allrounder. Personally, I used to compare Botham favorably with Sir Gary because I thought he was a more complete allrounder. Statistically, Botham's figures suffered terribly during the latter parts of his career, especially his bowling. Jacques Kallis is a slightly different case IMHO. He is incredibly consistent over a long period of time and that puts him right up there with the best allrounders. However, I dont see him single handedly turning a game on its head like Ian Botham would do either with batting or with bowling, sometimes both in the same game. A match-winning allrounder. Kallis strength as an allrounder is he is far more consistent. Have great regard for all three of them but Ian Botham is the one I'd pay good money to watch.

Posted by jabrankundi on (November 8, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

When you compare sobers to kallis, don't forget that Kallis has porformed in both formats of the game, hence his workload is more than twice that of sobers, especially with so much cricket being played these days. And then he has to worry about the odd T20 too.

But i still think its useless comparing two players of different eras...

Posted by   on (November 8, 2012, 0:27 GMT)

I see people saying things like "Sobers was God-like, but Kallis was more human" I'm sorry but the stats disagree with you. If you're going to argue with nothing but sentiment, in spite of the facts, then I could also use your style of argument to say that my uncle was the greatest batsmen of all time. He had this "presence" he was "more exciting" etc. etc.

Posted by TheRisingTeam on (November 7, 2012, 23:43 GMT)

I checked Kallis stats and he not actually a 'proper' shall I say all-rounder because when you compare both his batting and bowling there's a clear and big difference. Rather he's a specialist batsman one of the best around. Taking only five 5 wicket hauls in a staggering 150 something test matches does not suggest to me he's an all-rounder in my view rather just an okay bowler whose main attribute is batting. 250 test wickets yes but like I pointed mainly because of 150 tests.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 23:36 GMT)

sbers played 93 test with anverage of almost 58. played against greater bowlers. sbbers bowled spin as well as quickies. kallis is no match to sberes. according to boycott sobers ids the best batsman of all times .

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 20:59 GMT)

The Greatest all-rounder (No One can match him), Greatest Batsman, Greatest Bowler and Wonderful Catcher period.................

Posted by MianMoosa on (November 7, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

from my memories in last 10 ,12 years ppl,s are talking great allrounders like sobers botham hadlee imran kapil,,,,, i saw no one of them playing,,,,, but i watch kallis & he is an absolute beauty,,,, a silent man,,, despite his mouth his bat talks ,,,,,i dont know who is better but to me IMRAN KHAN is greatest ever bowling allrounder & JACQUES KALLIS is greatest ever batting allrounder

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

@kh1902 1) Kallis and Sobers' averages in Australia differ by 1 run. 2) Kallis averages more in England than Sobers does in Pakistan and New Zealand even though he played a similar proportion of his innings in England to what Sobers did in New Zealand and Pakistan. 3) Please remind us who Sobers' bowling partners were.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

And who were Sobers' bowling partners?

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

@kh1902: "IF" he were a spinner in subcontinent he would've taken 500, "IF" he opened the batting in tests he would've got more runs, tired of hearing all the "IF",s, lets focus on the fact. If sachin played more in saf he would have much less average, that doesn't mean he is not one of the greatest ever.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

in batting sachin in bowlling murali and in allronders kallis.they became legends not only by their game but also by their charecter

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

kh1902, I'm not sure how your logic works, when there's 10 wickets available for the bowlers, it certainly doesn't help you get wickets when you're surrounded by Steyn, Morkel, Philander etc.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (November 7, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

By far the best allrounder of the modern game. Textbook batting technique and does the business with the ball when needed most...any test side would love to a Kallis in their line up thats for sure.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

sobers was just a batsman who could bowl a bit who wouldnt have taken a 100 wickets if he was fro the subcontinent

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Lets hope Kallis has a fantastic series and regain his number 1 all-rounder ranking. No doubt a legend in Cricket and respected!!!

Posted by Unomaas on (November 7, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Everyone talking about Sobers vs Kallis...? You know my world 11, they both get a spot :P. Who says you can't have the best of both :P

Glad that Kallis is getting the recognition that he so rightfully deserves. The only question is can he rectify his rather average looking Australian record? He is due after all and Punter has declared that the aussies are rather weary of his prowess. I'll put my head on a block and say that Kallis will either score a double hundred in this serries or 2 individual hundres with 4-6 wickets!

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 7, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

KALLIS The greatest all-rounder, the world had ever seen...i am really blessed to born in this era and blessed to see legends Like Sachin,kallis,ponting,dravid,Lara played in this era...sadly the era is going to come to an end soon:-(

Posted by BellCurve on (November 7, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

@kh1902 - Hmmmm. If you want to penalise Kallis' bowling stats for not playing so frequently on the flat tracks of the susubcontinent, then you also have to add some runs and centuries to the batting stats. That's the beauty of all-rounder statistics: you cannot knock the one department without implicitly crediting the other.

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 7, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

Kallis is a wonderful player. But somehow I never felt he is a STAR player and match winner. His batting or bowling never had that charm like Ponting,Lara of course SAchin. Never the less he is a valuable player for SA. I think he takes his own time to make his runs,like, Dravid which made him less recognized.

Posted by ThumpingWin on (November 7, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Whatever people say about him.. Scoring 10,000+ runs in both ODI and Test cricket along with 250+ wickets in both is what we call legend.. Doing this over a span of 15 years is not a joke its demanding and people get all sort of injuries then either become a bowler or a batsman only...You are the greatest player ever in history of cricket..A true legend and greatest than any other cricketer ever born...

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 7, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

In all the debates about 'great allrounders', I've never heard captaincy mentioned once. Not sure where this theory comes from.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 7, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

Anyone who has lasted the rigours of top level cricket for over more than a decade and a half is obviously a great player because it calls for many qualities to be have been selected for so many years. Kallis is indeed a legend in his lifetime. I have been fortunate to see Kallis on the play in the Bangalore Test in 2000 and of course in the IPL on many occasions.He can bowl really fast and/or fast medium of the highest quality with as many variations as Shaun Pollock was capable of.Because he was a quality batsman who is a pillar in the South African team his bowling has been low profile.If he had been a bowler alone, he would have been in the same bracket as Alan Donald.I have seen Gary Sobers as well in Delhi in 59 and in the Madras Test in '67.I was young then but saw sheer majesty in Gary. Batting, bowling, fast,fast-medium or spin of different varieties and fielding Sir Garfield seemed almost God-like in his abilities. Kallis is more of the human spieces.They cannot be compared

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Supremely talented and still extremely humble. This guy adds a lot more value to his team than the figures indicate. I expect him to be the key to SA's success on this tour...

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

People up here- Before you marginalize His achievements. Got to see where have likes of SRT and Dravid piled up their averages (on Flat tracks) and what is their records as Captain and above all how much particularly SRT was shielded in the later half of his career to literally pick and choose as to what he wants to play , when he wants to play and where he would have liked to play. I say No comarision of him with Kallis!

Posted by CricketMaan on (November 7, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

@kh1902 - dont know which country you support, but to use your own argument, even the likes of Ponting or McGrath were no legends as Ponting always went into bat when the scoreboard read 150-1 or McGrath had Dizzy, Warnie supproting him and made 250 look like 500+ score. But im sure you wont take that..this guy has been awesome for cricket when there is none in his mould that play the game today. We have bits and piecies (and some broken) all rounders today. For those like me never got to see or hear when Sobers played he is the mordern era Sobers. I've enjoyed every bit of his game and when you get entertainment + enjoyment from a cricketer can't ask for more. IMHO - He is a LEGEND.

Posted by kh1902 on (November 7, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

People calling him the greatest ever are getting a bit over-excited. Obviously haven't seen Sobers play. Kallis has been underwhelming in Australia and until his 180 odd on a flat track in England was underwhelming in England too. As for his bowling, it helps to be surrounded by the likes of Steyn, Morkel and Philander (not to mention Donald and Pollock before). People forget that cricket is a team sport and pressure is applied by the other SA bowlers and their quality fielding. If he played for a team from the subcontinent he wouldn't have got 100 wickets let alone over 200.

Posted by HumzaRafaqat on (November 7, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

He perform or not,but his only presence does for the team.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

The man is a Legendary All Rounder; the best then, now and for a while to come I think. It is players like this that make a nation like South Africa such a dominance in Cricket.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

Kallis is a class above anything that the Aussies have in their lineup. He will love the ball coming onto him and the bog average bowling attack.

Posted by masoodali150 on (November 7, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Kasllis is the legend and can not be forgettable.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

I am agree with all those guys who talking in the fever of Kallis,an all rounder i never seen in my cricket watching life.Watching a match sometime i never think that someone will able to send him to pavilion.

Posted by Romanticstud on (November 7, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

It is Jacques Kallis we are speaking about here ... but as he says any of the 11 players can win the game ... Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis all got 100s against England ... De Villiers, Rudolph, Duminy are all capable batsmen ... Philander, Steyn, Morkel are proven fast bowlers and Tahir, although he hasn't made much of an impact yet can still have his day ... Kallis has also the ability to take wickets when nobody else looks threatening ... maybe because he is underrated by the batsmen ... normally coming on behind the three quicks ... Another thing that was not mentioned is that Kallis has a great number of catches mainly at slip ... Statistics do not tell the whole story ... His strike rate is relatively lower than most because of the fact that he has been the anchor in which South Africa have played around ... often saving the team from being in a worse situation ... eg against India in Cape Town 2011 ...

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 7, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

@Greatest_game. Great insight there and analagy - well said. Best allrounder in the modern game in my view. A test average to envy, oustanding slipper and a bowler with almost 300 test wickets - scary! All Hail King Kallis and Lord Hashim Amla - all hail, all hail !!!

Posted by mfmfaiq on (November 7, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Watson Struggling With Hit Fitness But Kallis is Looking Very Good.. Now Only Some Fellows Will Understand How Great Kallis Was!! He is the Worlds Best ALL ROUNDER!!!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (November 7, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

This assessment of Kallis is borne out by his consistent ability to take important wickets. Kallis is often the "impact" bowler, his impact, based on knowledge of players & assessment of conditions, is the ability set traps for batsmen. Eng's chase in the recent Lord's test was looking viable, & Broad - a Lords centurion - was in form, taking fours and sixes off Steyn, lasted 3 balls from Kallis who bounced & then offered a tempting short ball. Broad obligingly hooked down the throat of fine leg. In the Oval test, Kallis tempted KP with 3 short balls. 1st two down leg, & KP went hard at them, but the 3rd was straight on the body. KP took the bait, swung hard & gloved through to the keeper. Watson, on 88, perished in exactly the same way in the 2nd 2011 test in SA. Early 2011 Raina, in both inns, perished guiding a Kallis ball to slip - facing a total of 6. All key wickets gone in a few balls of a new spell, trapped by the canny & wise old campaigner.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

He is been there, he knows all..may the King Kallis coninue to REIGN!!

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Kallis is truly a master-class cricket teacher who can teach others through his body language in the playing field; not only to his team mates but opposition members can also gain lessons on focusing him. I love to watch him perform well in Australia.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

Some people are born wid leadersip n kallis was as a cricketer he's LIVING LEGEND of CRIKET without him the world cricket wud b incomplete

Posted by cricprasu on (November 7, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

the greatest all rounder that cricket have ever produced

Posted by stormy16 on (November 7, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

It's time to talk of Kallis on the same terms as Bradman I reckon. He hardly gets credit for what is surely the greatest cricketer of all time - a title enjoyed by Sorbers for so long. Kallis is 4th on the all time run scorers behind Sachin but this guy has over 250 test wickets, which is great record on its own. Strangely the rest of the world seems to give him more credit than is own. Its time to give Kallis the greatest ever cricketer.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

In the modern era Jacques Kallis is the best all rounder for a decade now. Man he's got 43 test hunderds and close to 300 wickets.. He's the best in the business. This series will be really exciting.. Lets hope and see how both teams fight till the end.

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