Stephen Gelb July 31, 2008

Kallis King

Kallis’ real problem is that he hasn’t ‘marketed’ himself well
96

I owe Fox a response to his observations on South Africa (with which I largely agree). But first I must pay tribute to Jacque Kallis. Recently I’ve been on a private little ‘Kallis watch’ as he approached 235 Test wickets, Sobers’ mark. His 3/31 yesterday took him to 236.

Kallis passed Sobers’ 8032 career runs ages ago, and now he’s above him on the wickets table. So Kallis is officially the top allrounder in cricket history.

I hope I have your attention now. Let’s discuss.

Sobers’ record was 93 tests, 160 innings (21 n.o.), 8032 runs at 57.78 with 26 hundreds, 30 fifties, best 365*. His 235 wickets were at 34.03 runs each, one every 91.9 balls (surprisingly high), best 6/73, 109 catches.

Kallis to date: 122 tests, 205 innings (33 n.o), 9681 runs at 56.28, 30 hundreds, 47 fifties, best 189*, SR 43.9. Plus 236 wickets at 31.25, strike-rate 66.8 balls, best 6/54, and 127 catches. After 93 tests, Kallis had slightly fewer runs than Sobers – 7337 – and a lot fewer wickets – 189, but averaged 56.87 and 31.6.

Strikingly similar records. On the crude test of all-round ability – batting average minus bowling average – Kallis just shades it, 25.03 to 23.75, but they’re both way above all other contenders. Over such long careers, the numbers surely don’t lie. Kallis is as good as Sobers was.

Yet this is never acknowledged – Kallis seems as unloved amongst fans and ‘fundis’ alike as Sobers is loved and revered. His failings are repeated so often they’ve taken on the status of ‘facts’.

a. Cheap runs against minnows: Excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, Kallis’ average drops, but only to 53.6. But look at Sobers through the same lens: excluding India, Pakistan and New Zealand (the minnows of the time), he drops to 53.1. (Even Bradman suffers, averaging ‘only’ 89.8 against England, his only non-minnow opposition.)

b. Shirks his bowling duties: It beats me how people know that Kallis is reluctant to bowl – I’ve never heard anything like this over a stump mike or from a commentator. Somehow the idea took root. For the record, his 21.7 overs per test as 5th bowler doesn’t compare too badly with, say, Flintoff’s 31.3 overs as 3rd or 4th bowler – only 5 overs per innings fewer. And since Kallis has also been SA’s batting mainstay almost from day one, one could argue that bowling him a little less has shown (surprisingly) good resource management by South Africa. Perhaps that is why he was able to bowl 15 overs today at age nearly 33.

c. Bats for himself, not the team, and is slow/boring: I have often been frustrated watching Kallis, especially in ODIs, just wanting him to get on with it. Yet his ODI strike rate is over 70 and one feels he has carried South Africa to victory with a few balls to spare innumerable time. He has 29 ‘Man of the Match’ awards in 274 matches. Ricky Ponting’s strike rate is 80 with 28 ‘Man of the Match’ awards in 301 matches.

But this is the main point: Kallis is not Ponting or Lara or Sehwag. He is not Viv Richards or Barry Richards or indeed Garry Sobers. He came into the South African team when ‘90 for 5’ was our all-too-regular scoreline. In his seventh Test, he had to bat all day against a full-strength Australian attack in Melbourne to save the match. This is how his playing personality was shaped. Kallis took the approach of Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid, the path of Steve Waugh, not Mark – eliminating risk, protecting his wicket, allowing others to bat freely by being ‘Mr Reliable’. Calling this selfish is to misunderstand the interplay that cricket imposes between team needs and personal goals. Calling it slow or boring is to ignore one of cricket’s delights, the inch-by-inch battle for domination, as different from the Lara or Sehwag approach as trench warfare is from mounted charges, but no less enthralling. Criticising Kallis for not batting like Lara is like criticising Thelonius Monk for not playing piano like Duke Ellington – it is beside the point.

Kallis’ real problem is that he hasn’t ‘marketed’ himself well. Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid are rightly revered for their role and contributions – but Kallis is Waugh together with Jason Gillespie in a single player, Dravid and Javagal Srinath rolled into one. He deserves his spot up there with Sobers.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mevlud on October 10, 2012, 2:08 GMT

    Clark is STILL ranked the 7th best Test boelwr IN THE WORLD despite only playing a couple of Tests over the last year yet hilditch and co obviously don't rate him in the top dozen in Australia.What a joke!! I know Clark isn't the future of Australian cricket, due to his age, and I know he's injured now anyway, but seriously, what has the guy done wrong!? PICK THE BEST SIDE YOU STOOGES!!!

  • Siddhartha Gupta on December 21, 2008, 21:38 GMT

    Kallis is also a motivation in the dressing room. Everyone remembers the famous '438' Jo'burg ODI victory for SA, one that almost single-handedly revived interest in the sport around the globe. But very few people are aware of the fact that despite not playing,even Kallis had a hand in the win. When the SA players were sitting depressed in the dressing room after Aussies massacred through to 434 , he entered the room and joked " C'mon Guys, I reckon this is a 450 pitch , they've fallen 15 runs short" . He might have got incredulous looks then , but what happened later was something enough to bring anyone close to tears of boundless joy, to make anyone laugh and cry at the same time. It was the best ODI ever...

  • Siddhartha Gupta on December 21, 2008, 21:28 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with you Stephen , I have always enjoyed watching Jacques Kallis bat. He has an awesome technique and is almost robotic in his shot-making.He is a terrific bowler, and can get valuable breakthroughs for his captain. One can't doubt his match winning abilities, as he showed in the Perth win today. Kallis can be aggressive too when required, as he took on the hapless Jason Krejza yesterday and smashed him for many runs towards the day end. I remember a match against New Zealand when around 24 runs were required of the last over (bowled by Kyle Mills, a competent bowler)and he almost pulled it off , in the end falling short by 2 runs. He is a top-class slip fielder as well and a very experienced campaigner who can come handy to a captain in need of advice.

  • madhusudan on August 19, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    garry sobers and kallis in same class is like saying that anges frazer in same class as sir richard haddlee . kallis will never get to that level . don't go at numbers they r like mini-skirts they reveal more than they hide but hide the important thing . he is nevber choosen in any all time world 11 of test or odi cricket . his biggest weakness r as follows a - he hardly dominates attacks

    b - hardly does well vs quality bowlers

    c - not a big occasion player

    and last not the leat the best way as ian chappell says to judge a player/sportsman is ask the players who play against him .....ask guys of sobers era about sobey and than ask about akllis of this era , u ll get the answer

    kallis even in his dream can't even think of knock like 254

    even if kallis end at 14000test runs and 400 wi8ckets he ll remain lightyears behind the greatest cricket ever "garry sobers " ,

    flintoff on his day is far better/dangerous than him

  • Hitchhiker on August 11, 2008, 19:01 GMT

    I rather think that when the full count is made, Jacques Kallis will be seen as one of the greatest and most consistent South African cricketers of all time. How many other teams today have a medium-fast second string strike bowler, who can be called on to - and does - take wickets, rather than just contain runs? There is not a batsman in the world who can afford to take Jacques Kallis lightly, much less relax when he is bowling, and likewise the world's leading bowlers when he is batting. It's about time that credit was given where credit is due.

  • P.L on August 11, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    I'm a big fan of Kallis but i have to go with Sir Garfield Sobers. Sir Garfield Sobers was voted the second greatest cricketer of the 20th century. Kallis will certainly not be considered the greatest or second greatest cricketer of his generation let alone the entire century. He may not even be no.1 on S.A's list since readmission (Donald and Pollock may have something to say about that).

  • Engle on August 5, 2008, 13:53 GMT

    All-rounders are a sexy lot, especially the pacers. They are the spark-plug of the team and are looked upon to 'make things happen' with either bat, ball or both.

    If one were to come up with an 'excitement index', then the great all-rounders of yore would fit the bill nicely. Sobers, Miller, Imran, Botham, Greig, Kapil etc.Somehow Kallis doesn't fit in with that lot.

  • Julio de Cruz- Buenos Aires on August 5, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Kallis is not as good as Garry Sobers, of that there is no doubt. But there is no doubt that Kallis is the second greatest all-rounder of all time. To compare him with Michael Clarke is an insult to Kallis. Any who cannot realize that Kallis deserves to be remembered as a great are not cricket fans!

  • the big dog on August 3, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    I have just trawled the stats following my earlier comments on Kallis's 'red inkers' Kallis 1 in 6 is a * - Sobers 1 in 8. That will have had a significant effect on the comparison between averages. Another point on this one is the relative score total expectations then against now. Par for a day (with better over rates!) was 240 / 250.Now it is 300+. My money is also on better tracks and better bats now. Sobers' 50 average would be worth 10 or so more now. Heaven knows wher that puts Bradman!

  • the big dog on August 3, 2008, 22:20 GMT

    Kallis cannot be mentioned in the same breath as Sobers - much as Watson and Clarke cannot bear the same test. Great players are always allowed the luxury of 'playing for themselves' Kallis did this too much. For me, he would always have taken 100* and the draw rather than an agressive 60 and victory. I don't have the stats but would bet on him having a significant proportion of red inkers. Sobers was touched with genius (and heavily touched at that!)and played with his foot off the gas too often, however he did produce the genius and fitted the bill of champion. People crossed islands and even continents to watch Sobers and (oldies such as me) remember that. As for Jacques - I don't think I would have crossed the street. May seem harsh, but essentially he never put a fire in supporters hearts. There's a name missing here as all rounder even though his stats aren't in the same parish. Basil d'Oliveira - genius deprived by apartheid and a joy to watch.

  • Mevlud on October 10, 2012, 2:08 GMT

    Clark is STILL ranked the 7th best Test boelwr IN THE WORLD despite only playing a couple of Tests over the last year yet hilditch and co obviously don't rate him in the top dozen in Australia.What a joke!! I know Clark isn't the future of Australian cricket, due to his age, and I know he's injured now anyway, but seriously, what has the guy done wrong!? PICK THE BEST SIDE YOU STOOGES!!!

  • Siddhartha Gupta on December 21, 2008, 21:38 GMT

    Kallis is also a motivation in the dressing room. Everyone remembers the famous '438' Jo'burg ODI victory for SA, one that almost single-handedly revived interest in the sport around the globe. But very few people are aware of the fact that despite not playing,even Kallis had a hand in the win. When the SA players were sitting depressed in the dressing room after Aussies massacred through to 434 , he entered the room and joked " C'mon Guys, I reckon this is a 450 pitch , they've fallen 15 runs short" . He might have got incredulous looks then , but what happened later was something enough to bring anyone close to tears of boundless joy, to make anyone laugh and cry at the same time. It was the best ODI ever...

  • Siddhartha Gupta on December 21, 2008, 21:28 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with you Stephen , I have always enjoyed watching Jacques Kallis bat. He has an awesome technique and is almost robotic in his shot-making.He is a terrific bowler, and can get valuable breakthroughs for his captain. One can't doubt his match winning abilities, as he showed in the Perth win today. Kallis can be aggressive too when required, as he took on the hapless Jason Krejza yesterday and smashed him for many runs towards the day end. I remember a match against New Zealand when around 24 runs were required of the last over (bowled by Kyle Mills, a competent bowler)and he almost pulled it off , in the end falling short by 2 runs. He is a top-class slip fielder as well and a very experienced campaigner who can come handy to a captain in need of advice.

  • madhusudan on August 19, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    garry sobers and kallis in same class is like saying that anges frazer in same class as sir richard haddlee . kallis will never get to that level . don't go at numbers they r like mini-skirts they reveal more than they hide but hide the important thing . he is nevber choosen in any all time world 11 of test or odi cricket . his biggest weakness r as follows a - he hardly dominates attacks

    b - hardly does well vs quality bowlers

    c - not a big occasion player

    and last not the leat the best way as ian chappell says to judge a player/sportsman is ask the players who play against him .....ask guys of sobers era about sobey and than ask about akllis of this era , u ll get the answer

    kallis even in his dream can't even think of knock like 254

    even if kallis end at 14000test runs and 400 wi8ckets he ll remain lightyears behind the greatest cricket ever "garry sobers " ,

    flintoff on his day is far better/dangerous than him

  • Hitchhiker on August 11, 2008, 19:01 GMT

    I rather think that when the full count is made, Jacques Kallis will be seen as one of the greatest and most consistent South African cricketers of all time. How many other teams today have a medium-fast second string strike bowler, who can be called on to - and does - take wickets, rather than just contain runs? There is not a batsman in the world who can afford to take Jacques Kallis lightly, much less relax when he is bowling, and likewise the world's leading bowlers when he is batting. It's about time that credit was given where credit is due.

  • P.L on August 11, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    I'm a big fan of Kallis but i have to go with Sir Garfield Sobers. Sir Garfield Sobers was voted the second greatest cricketer of the 20th century. Kallis will certainly not be considered the greatest or second greatest cricketer of his generation let alone the entire century. He may not even be no.1 on S.A's list since readmission (Donald and Pollock may have something to say about that).

  • Engle on August 5, 2008, 13:53 GMT

    All-rounders are a sexy lot, especially the pacers. They are the spark-plug of the team and are looked upon to 'make things happen' with either bat, ball or both.

    If one were to come up with an 'excitement index', then the great all-rounders of yore would fit the bill nicely. Sobers, Miller, Imran, Botham, Greig, Kapil etc.Somehow Kallis doesn't fit in with that lot.

  • Julio de Cruz- Buenos Aires on August 5, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Kallis is not as good as Garry Sobers, of that there is no doubt. But there is no doubt that Kallis is the second greatest all-rounder of all time. To compare him with Michael Clarke is an insult to Kallis. Any who cannot realize that Kallis deserves to be remembered as a great are not cricket fans!

  • the big dog on August 3, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    I have just trawled the stats following my earlier comments on Kallis's 'red inkers' Kallis 1 in 6 is a * - Sobers 1 in 8. That will have had a significant effect on the comparison between averages. Another point on this one is the relative score total expectations then against now. Par for a day (with better over rates!) was 240 / 250.Now it is 300+. My money is also on better tracks and better bats now. Sobers' 50 average would be worth 10 or so more now. Heaven knows wher that puts Bradman!

  • the big dog on August 3, 2008, 22:20 GMT

    Kallis cannot be mentioned in the same breath as Sobers - much as Watson and Clarke cannot bear the same test. Great players are always allowed the luxury of 'playing for themselves' Kallis did this too much. For me, he would always have taken 100* and the draw rather than an agressive 60 and victory. I don't have the stats but would bet on him having a significant proportion of red inkers. Sobers was touched with genius (and heavily touched at that!)and played with his foot off the gas too often, however he did produce the genius and fitted the bill of champion. People crossed islands and even continents to watch Sobers and (oldies such as me) remember that. As for Jacques - I don't think I would have crossed the street. May seem harsh, but essentially he never put a fire in supporters hearts. There's a name missing here as all rounder even though his stats aren't in the same parish. Basil d'Oliveira - genius deprived by apartheid and a joy to watch.

  • weez on August 3, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    Dear Chris - just thought I'd point out that Kallis had a very slow start. He struggled with the average until about his 3rd season. Under Smith he's scored more than 5000 runs at almost 63. In fact he's been averaging 60 for nearly a hundred tests. It's just been pulled down by his first 20 tests (he was 21 then, give him a break). This season he has been more positive - Ask Pakistan, he surely dominated them and NZ. Not bad for a "wall" who bowls a bit. He ironically also holds the fastest test fifty. He is still the one player in the world that Australia wish they could have.

  • Guruprasad S on August 2, 2008, 19:03 GMT

    To be called a great, Kallis needs to play a more dominant role in his team's victories, not merely a 'holding' role that he often plays. To be counted, he needs to win matches for SA against Aus, simple. In the last 18 tests b/w Aus-SA, it is 13-2 to Aus. In the last 22 tests b/w Ind-Aus, it is 10-8 to Aus. The main reason, SA batsman led by Kallis havent stepped up, while India, with a lesser bowling than SA but with some awesome batting led by Dravid, Laxman and Sachin, have competed well. Dravid's monumental innings at Adelaide (233+72), Rawalpindi (270), Kolkata (180), Kingston (on a devil of a pitch) and Headingley (146) have firmly put the stamp of greatness on him. Kallis needs to be a bit more than mere accumulator. And with ball, he is no force like Flintoff who, inspite of lacking stats like Kallis, is already close to being called great after 'Flintoff's' Ashes in 2005, because he won it for Eng. Kallis needs to win the big ones for SA. Till then, the numbers can wait.

  • M.K. on August 2, 2008, 16:31 GMT

    How many people leave their homes or villages to watch Kallis perform? Do you remember any breathtaking performances by Kallis? Jacques is a very steady professional but watching him at the crease is as exciteing as watching grass grow. Sobers was just different. As a bowler, check his runs per over average. Check the number of occasions when he bowled over 30 overs an innings and 21599 balls in a career.Note that he also bowled wrist spin on many occasions and did not spend time bowling at a batsman's feet. He was an attacking bowler who bowled to get batsmen out ! Check the fact that he averaged over 50 runs per innings batting at No. 1 to No. 7.------ not bad for someone who started his career batting at No. 9. And Sobers had a fertile and imaginative cricket brain. No disrespect to Jacques.

  • ak on August 2, 2008, 13:46 GMT

    Regarding Mr. Bethell's comment, we must add the great WG Grace to the all-time best conversation.

    As for Kallis and Sobers; Sobers is a far better batsmen (for his ablility to play HUGE innings) and bowler than kallis (For his versitility and his far far superior first class record).

  • anton on August 2, 2008, 11:53 GMT

    It has always been the case that players from bygone era are always rated more highly than current players. In 20-30 years time Kallis' stock will have risen at which point he will be regarded as an all time great.

    I have seen footage of Sober's bowling and it was no faster than Corey collymore he was true medium pacer) whereas Kallis regualary hit the high 80's and at times even topping 90 MPH in his heyday as a bowler (during his 20's when he was fitter).

  • Geoff Bethell on August 2, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    This is not meant as yet another Kallis-bashing comment - I merely want to make two points about Sobers which I can't see have yet been made. Firstly he was an outstanding CAPTAIN and maintained the standards that Worrell had set before him. Secondly about his bowling average. It must not be forgotten that spinners always have a higher average than seamers and Sobers bowled a good proportion of his overs as a spinner. I've always felt (like most of my era) that the best cricketer of all time was a toss-up between Sobers and Bradman. Nothing that's happened since 1970 has caused me to change my mind.

  • Vijay Kumar on August 1, 2008, 16:00 GMT

    Numbrers alone are inherently limited. Hence Sobers style smothers Kallis'lack of personailty for kallis comes across as mechanical toy who is simply wound up and released. No emtion, no flair no style. Sobers will always be the greatest and Kallis will be an accomplished cricketer albiet a very good one at that.

  • anton on August 1, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    I would take Sobers with the bat and Kallis with the ball, especialy when he was in his 20's. kallis was deceptively very quick, regualrly touching 90MPH. It is only in the last few years his bowling average has gone down becuase it was under 30 for a long time.

  • eddy on August 1, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    Stats show the hard cold facts, they show little else. Kallis' stats suggest that he is right up there with the greatest allrounders ever, so why is he never spoken in the same light as Botham, Sobers, Khan? WHAT you do in the game is just as important as HOW you do it! thats where he fails.

  • Walter on August 1, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    Kallis may not have been all inspiring on the pitch but if any of you have seen the full DVD of the 438 game you would hear that Kallis's inspiration comes off the field. After the aussies posted 434 the first thing that was muttered was by Kallis: looks like there 15 runs short guys. That eased the pressure and the rest is history..Kallis might not be the most flamboyant person but thats what makes him so great. He gets about his buisiness and goes to work.

  • Chris on August 1, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    Kallis is the backbone of SA batting lineup since '96. He does not have the luxury of an strong batting lineup as the Aus & Ind legends had/has.(Ponting,Hayden,Gilly,Tendulkar,Dravid,Laxman). He has had to graft and be there at the end to win games for SA. Here in SA some say that he cannot be mentioned as one of SA's greatest batters alonside his fellow countrymen Graeme Pollock's or Barry Richards. They also played in a great team. Therefore all these other players mentioned had the freedom to express themselves and play the flashy innings,cause there was always someone else who could score the runs. Kallis had to carry SA over the last 12 yrs. Imagine Kallis in the Aus lineup of the last 8-10 yrs. He would have expressed and dominated. No, to all those doubters out there, KALLIS IS A LEGEND! He might not be remembered for that flashy innings, but he has carried SA his whole career. Ponting can't say that as he has been part of a strong Aus batting line-up. Long live KING KALLIS!!

  • NealT on August 1, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    I think the current bowling performance against Engalnd proves just how valuable he is. And, it's always the crucial big wickets. And you can never keep him out of runs for too long. If you do, you know a big knock is just around the corner. The stats speak for themselves. He is the greatest, and for some time to come.

  • Grant on August 1, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    Fantastic article. Stats don't lie, but perhaps Sobers had to bat on more difficult wickets those days which makes his batting seem better., however his bowling on those wicket may have assisted as well. Difficult to compare eras like that. Some people commenting on that fact Kallis has a "boring personality"?? Since when does having a boring personality matter when out there scoring runs or taking wickets. Kallis has never been one for the limelight. And I bet if you speak to any test team in the world, Kallis' wicket will be their most prized one in pretty much every test.

  • SHAHZAD from Karachi on August 1, 2008, 8:05 GMT

    I think KALLIS is one of the finest all rounders the world has seen, but he is a bit unlucky to be gracing the cricket fields in an era of T- 20 and ODI,s with 400 plus totals. Due to this fact most of the 'so called CRICKET FANS' are unable to appreciate a true technican (batting) like KALLIS and rather prefer slogers like Fredie, veru etc. As for the fact Kallis along with Lara, Sachin, Ponting,Hayden, would be considered as the BEST BATSMEN of the decade. so I will just put a simple question to all the doubters of Kallis and that WHAT THEY WILL BE WILLING TO HAVE PONTING OR LARA OR SACHIN IN THEIR TEAMS WHO WILL GET THEM 200 plus test WICKETS as well. CHEERS PS try to appreciate real game and not consider every thing in T -20 mode

  • jondavluc on August 1, 2008, 7:47 GMT

    would of got him four simply wasn't really a good enough performance even if it wasn't aginst australia

    patrick davis i might of been a little unfair but in all fairness even compareing him to garry sobers or steve waugh is simply laughable and to tell you the truth i have seen slow crickets like chanderpaul win games all the time if not save a game for west indies ad i haven't seen enough from kallis to even be considered a great cricketer a good cricket yes but not great.

  • jondavluc on August 1, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    Anthony i haven't seen him win many games in fact i haven't really seen him save a game.Yeah kallis is a reliable cricketer who can get you a few runs or can get you a few wickets but the facts are i haven't seeen him make a good bowling spell that changed the game i haven't seen him take a excellent catch that put you back in contention and i haven't seen him bat 10 runs off the last two balls in a one day game or even close to that.He is mr reliable thats it and he is not that interesting to watch on tv.Micheal clarke can i have seen it many times in his short career save and win games for australia.oh and the truth is i can't think of any but i can think of world cup 07 australia vs sa they were chasing over three fifty and what was kallis doing batting as if he was playing backyard cricket he wasn't trying to score big runs he wasn't trying to get singles so he could put gibbs at the bat no he was just scoreing at test pace even though the grounds was a small ground where a nick

  • Matthew on August 1, 2008, 7:27 GMT

    I would suggest that Kallis' stats are undermined by his record against Australia - he averages under 40 against the dominant team of the era. Even against England his record is comparatively low...all in an era when batting averages are inflated - as such he cannot be put on the same plane as Sobers (or Lara/Tendulkar from his contemporaries) as a batsman. On the other hand, his bowling is clearly superior to Sobers. However, even a dominant series against the Aussies may not change perception given the retirement of Warne and McGrath and their subsequent move back towards the pack.

  • kevin sawers on August 1, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    One of the reasons why we remember someone like Stephen Waugh with a lot more fondness to Kallis is that Waugh has pulled off some amazing match changing/swaying/dominating innings that fans of the game will remember for the rest of their lives with joy and satisfaction and delight. Kallis is a fine player. I am not a south african and havnt seen all his games but in those that i have and those that i have read about i havnt seen any inspiring innings that leave you loving the game more. Good player but not great is my assessment.

  • Sreekar Tanuku on August 1, 2008, 6:11 GMT

    Nice article. Agree, Kallis deserves more that what he achieved. Glad to know that you feel Dravid is revered.I feel Dravid too deserves a lot more. But, Dravid/Steve/Kallis are as effective as a Lara/Sehwag/Ponting, if not more.

  • Geoff on August 1, 2008, 4:14 GMT

    I am an aussie, and I admire Kallis. We perhaps dont see his best, as our attack has been so sominant. But his average is higher than steve waughs, and people say waugh batted for himself. Whether kallis does or not, his average stacks up with the very best. And gilly always said it was hard to keep and bat, would be hard also to bowl 30 overs in an innings and bat at number 4 or whereever he bats. He deserves accoldaers, ok he is not sobers, but who is? Sobers number 2 all time, there can only be one number 2.

  • rastawookie on August 1, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Kallis would easy make my world XI. How valuable it is to have a top 4 batsman who is a quality bowler should never be underestimated. South Africa have produced numerous quality all-rounders (McMillan, Klusener, Pollock etc), but by far Kallis is the best. His batting (albeit patient) is up there with the best (similar average to Ponting, Tendulkar, Lara) and bowling is very serviceable (average is only slightly higher than Brett Lee!). How anyone can argue his value is beyond me. He would be in the top 6 for any country in the world. He would make the awesome batting teams of India or Australia even if he couldn't bowl. Unfortunately I never saw Sobers play, but his numbers are very similar, so comparing them is always gonna be hard. Jaques when he retires will no doubt be the only player in test history with 10000 runs and 250 wickets. That is impressive!

  • Nagarajan Balamukundan on August 1, 2008, 3:23 GMT

    I was wondering if anyone would ever analyze the career stats of Kallis the way Stephen has done. He has brought all possible points that I would have told if asked. Cant agree to him anymore. He is a genius. So what if he is not as celebrated as some of the others. He has scored runs, in the subcontinent, Australia, Carribean and his home land. Taken wickets on bouncy, swinging and dead tracks. If you are not convinced with the results, the sheer efforts have to be applauded. He might lack the flair a Tendulkar, a Lara or for that matter, a Gibbs may possess, but make no mistake, he is mighty effective. I remember the South African chief selector recently saying that the toughest moment of his career was dropping Kallis from the World T-20 cup. Well thats a tribute in itself. Closing in on 10,000 runs in both forms of the game, he is right up there with the best. He is the best all-rounder of the present era, undoubtedly.

  • srinivas Bharath on August 1, 2008, 1:19 GMT

    Friends someone has taken 235 wickets, scored upwards of 9000 runs and has another 3 years of cricket left in him and people have watched him bowl 140+ and have also seen him bat with almost all the shots in the book. What else do you need in a cricketer?

  • Richie _the_Bat on August 1, 2008, 1:09 GMT

    An earlier comment of this article mentions Michael Clarke with another comment poking fun at the reference. In the article you mention the well accepted all-rounder rating of Bat Avg - Bowl Avg. Our Mr MJ Clarke has a rating of 25.75 which is higher than Kallis (25.03) and Sobers (23.75). Does this make him a better all-rounder? According to your criteria it does. To my way of thinking a great all-round cricketer should average 40+ with bat and 30- with ball. That would make them a match winner with both bat and ball. No player has sustained this criteria over a career. The closest was Imran Khan who played over 50 tests with a batting avg of 50 and a bowling average of 19. Unfortunately these were his last 50 tests. His first 30 odd let him down (only comparatively).

  • Kartik on August 1, 2008, 0:29 GMT

    The simple measure of batting average minus bowling average is adequate. It cancels out factors like pitches, minnow weakness, etc. as the batting and bowling are in the same games.

    Only Kallis and Sobers have a difference of 23+ runs. No one else comes close. Imran had such a difference over his final 50 tests, but not over his whole career. Botham, Kapil, Pollock, Hadlee, Flintoff, etc. are nowhere.

    Kallis is a giant of the game. On par with Sobers.

  • Richie_the_Bat on July 31, 2008, 23:39 GMT

    As an Aussie I have only seen Kallis play games against the Aussie team. Therefore, have only seen him in losing causes. Against us his batting average over 18 tests is 38.3 with 35 wickets at 37.2. In ODI's against Aus his batting avg is 31.0 at SR 69 and bowling avg 47.5 at economy of 5.6/over. Not the stuff of legends is it? That is probably half the reason we do not rate him highly in Australia. I do not think he is good enough to make the Australian team. I would never say that about Sobers!!!

  • U2 on July 31, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    I think the reason he is not revered in the same way as Flintoff is simply because of the quality of the other players on his team. While Kallis has the highest batting average in the team, SA have won even when he has failed. On the other hand, looking at Flintoff's performance (even in the ongoing test), England doesn't look like they can succeed against top opposition without Flintoff. Another reason might be his relatively poor performance against the top side of her era, Australia. While the Aussies seem to bring out the best in Flintoff, Kallis hasn't achieved the same level of success against them and is yet to play a single defining innings (or bowl a single defining spell) against Australia.

  • James on July 31, 2008, 19:40 GMT

    Kallis and Sobers played in 2 very different era's of test cricket. One Day and 20/20 cricket have transported the scoring rates into areas where test cricket scoring rates are now considered boring. As a result, to keep the crowds turning up, international cricketers have of course had to change with the times. 30 - 40 years ago, 2.5 to 3 runs per over was considered a good rate. Nowadays, anything under 3.75 is considered slow. Take the added pressure of all the television replays and neverending player scrutiny, each player is a true great of their time. It's about time the cricketing world acknowledged what he has done for South African cricket and his value to the game as a whole. Kallis will never be a player who will turn a game on it's head like a Botham or a Viv Richards in an hour of madness, but he is dependable, solid and an undeniably a gifted cricketer.

  • Amit on July 31, 2008, 18:45 GMT

    Kallis will not be mentioned in the same breath as Lara, Tendulkar or Dravid, until he gets his stats up against Australia (he averages 38). Remember, Until the huge 2003 series against Australia in Australia, Dravids had similar problem with recognition. Inzamaan or Jayawardene or even with 50 run average, doesn't get the recognition for the same reason. Whereas Laxman or Peiterson or Sehwag with lot less average or lot fewer tests gets a lot of recognition. Sangakara's stock went up mainly after his 192 against Australia (even though he averages only 41 against Aus).

  • Fahad Javed on July 31, 2008, 18:38 GMT

    I think the reason Kallis is not talked off in the same breadth as Sobers or even with Imrans or Bothams in all times great list is because his performance is too consistant. He has always performed but never did a superlative like Botham or Imran or Sobers. Point in case his highest score of 189. That is pretty ordinary. a score 365 is remembered by all those who were there a score of 189 is only remembered if it was in a ODI! There are tests remembered as Botham's test or Imran's series or even Flintoff going out and wining the entire game himself. Not so for Kallis. May be that is why he is not so popular.

  • T.Ghosh on July 31, 2008, 18:22 GMT

    Not having watched Kalli' career particularly closely - I'm interested in all i'national players - I only make a general comment that the like "boring" likes of Kallis, as you say with S. Waugh, is the lifeblood of Tests. They're called that 'cos they're not bread-&-circuses ODIs, played only to keep food on the table, but Tests of ability, character, stamina, will, etc. Long live the bores!!!

  • nalin on July 31, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    Well Kallis is a very good batsmen, no doubt about it. But he is not a player who can turn a match around, decimate attacks and post big scores regularly and help the team to build huge scores. Winning Man-of-the-match is not a good thing to consider as in many occations a batsmen who got the highest score in the match was awarded regardless of his strike rate and other strong but less than scores. Eg. A runna ball 50 is always ignored when another scored 70 odd with a low strike rate. Why people talk. like and revere Imran, Kapil, Hadlee, Botham, Sobers, Dravid, Scahin, Sanath, Miandad , Kumar ??? need to think about it .

  • Huw on July 31, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    Great article Stephen. The problem for Kallis is perception. Unfortunately in life, and not only cricket, perception is what counts, not necessarily the reality. If it is said often enough, particularly by those who are acclaimed experts (e.g. commentators) it becomes a mantra that everybody falls back on i.e. Kallis is selfish/boring whatever. Similarly, players and people can be unfairly lionised, like when someone is continually picked despite few performances to back it up (e.g. Michael Clarke was persisted with - and reselected - over a long period despite performing poorly because of the perception regarding him, although thankfully he has now earned his place). Yes, stats can lie, but in this case you'd be hard pressed to say Kallis is not one of the best all rounders of all time. Any team in the world would take him in a heartbeat.

  • JK on July 31, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    Kallis is no doubt the best all rounder of this era. Apart from the batting and bowling stats, just look at the guy's longevity. Even Pollock was reduced to bowling offspin in SL. Kallis still bowls pretty quick (yesterday for a while he was quicker than Nel)..and is still the best bat in the SA team by miles...Also, how many better slip fielders have we seen in modern times? mark waugh for sure, mc millan from SA and fleming from NZ (may be)...The comparison with Sobers in not really an apples to apples one. Sobers played in an era where there was not much video analysis of opponents, uncovered pitches, limited protective equipment, and very little one day cricket. As you can see, there are pros and cons of that. I think Kallis should be (and will be) celebrated for who he is, not who he is better than.

  • Barend on July 31, 2008, 16:33 GMT

    It shouldnt really be about is Kallis as good as Sobers was. IN the end, they are very very different players, but in their worth to their respective sides, Kallis is the only player comparable to SObers

  • Jack Dawson on July 31, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    contd.... Kallis is doubtlessly a great player, but players like Don Bradman, Sobers, Brian Lara, Viv Richards and even Sachin Tendulkar are icons and true geniuses. No matter what they score, what their statistics show up as, MASSES all round the globe come to watch them play and Im sorry Kallis, though a great player, does not belong to this elite domain as many others that include Rahul Dravid, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar and many more................

  • Abhinav on July 31, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    Kallis maybe a fantastic player, but he does not have the dynamism in him to change a match, series or as a matter of fact, the whole cricket of a team. Flintoff has it, Botham had it, Gilchrist redifined the role of wicketkeeper, Viv Richards, Kapil Dev, Imran, Sachin - all had it. But Kallis doesnt. He doesnt have it in him to play so well in a match, or in a series, that it takes the whole team to a different level. He is good for his team, but not in a way that changes everything - something like what Hadlee used to do for NZ. And thats why he will never be called an all time great.

  • Jack Dawson on July 31, 2008, 16:00 GMT

    It is always tough to compare players from different generations but the temptation is too strong to resist.Jacques Kallis,undoubtedly, is one of the greatest allrounders the game has ever seen. However comparing him to Sir Garfield Sobers is something that might not be acceptable to some. Sobers played in an era where they were quality bowlers and pitches that verily supported them. Kallis however hasnt played any of the great bowling attacks during his time and no one can completely debate that he has dominated the akrams, mcgraths and muralidharan during his career. On the other hand, sobers single handedly dominated all the bowlers around the world during his time. He was a far better bowler than Jack Kallis with a great degree of variation in his bowling. In addition, he was also known as the best fielder of his time and one of the greatest ever.

  • Alex on July 31, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    Just as an important note. Of those who have played a significant number of tests, he has the highest average of any batsman at number 4. So he makes my purely statistical all time XI. Len Hutton and Sutcliff as openers, Bradman at 3 Waugh at 5 and Sobers at 6. That's some mighty fine company.

  • Arun on July 31, 2008, 15:42 GMT

    A little selflessness would help his cause. Maybe a more cavalier attitude a la Gibbs. How often have we seen South Africa losing because Kallis slowed things down in ODIs. When he bats I think of a chicken. He doesnt show any fighting qualities. We like daredevils.

    A Statistical piece in Cricinfo about 3 years back told how he'd taken a heavy toll on weaker opposition. Stellar performances against India, Australia or England would help his cause.

    His bowling hasnt set pitches on fire. How many 5-fors does he have? His bowling record is as good as Sobers. But when Sobers retired with 232 wickets, only one other player had 300+ wickets. Now there are about 30. Kallis's bowling record pales in comparison.

    Plus a dour personality. Atleast, he could be witty with the press. Stories floating around that he's dumb as a stump dont do him any favors .I dont see ad agencies running after him. He's got what he deserves.

    http://punditsez.blogspot.com

  • RD on July 31, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    Some thghts on this -For most of his time with SA there were other all rounders (but more of the bowling all rounder varirty like Mcmillan, Pollock and Boje), hence his concentration on batting is understandable. -But more interestingly, how would we have looked at Kallis had he been playing for England, India or Australia? The English media especially would have glorified every hundred (30 is no joke) and all the top order wickets he has taken which he does pretty often. Maybe a case of margilising the opponent's star player? -SA's record has been quite amazing in ODI's and tests since there readmission. They have consistently won in the subcontinent and Kallis has been the lynchpin of their batting -The point that can be held against him is the lack of a leadership role that he can play and doesnot. Despite being as experienced as pollock, ponting, ganguly, dravid, etc he just does not seem to fit the bill of the team elder, someone who takes charge and supports the team mates.

  • Tboy on July 31, 2008, 15:08 GMT

    Grow a brain people. Kallis is awesome. If you want to anaylse stats how about Dennis Lillee only taking 6 wickets outside of Aus/Eng or NZ? How about bradman scoring heavily against the minnows of his era? In 15 games vs Ind/SA and WI he scored an amazing total of 1968 runs & 10X100(5 doubles.) Avg vs eng still amazing at 89, but his stats were padded against minnows. Check sobers figures as well and they are inflated against weak sides. Kallis is a standout performer and a good case could be made if Aus had not been so dominannt (Waugh, Punter, Gilli, Warne and Mcgrath = legends)then the 2 great SA allrounders in pollock and kallis may have ruled the cricketing world instead of lingering as the perenenial Number 2's. People still talk about Haynes and he never scored a test 200. Neither did Mark Waugh, or a host of other batsmen. Kallis is consistent with bat and ball and his achievements should be recognised. He and Pollack rate up their with the best allrounders in cricket history

  • Bhavin V. Choksi on July 31, 2008, 14:58 GMT

    Kallis is not even one of the top three cricketers of his generation, let alone worthy of comparison with Sir Garry Sobers.

    Kallis' biggest shortcoming is his anemic Test batting strike rate of 44 - just 2.6 runs an over. This in an era of toothless bowling when top quality Test teams score at 4 runs an over.

    Also, players cannot be merely compared by statistics. There are innings of brilliance that define a cricketer. Kallis lacks a single memorable one. Sobers' 254 for World XI against a rampaging Lillee alone cemented his place alongside Sir Don as the greatest ever.

    Kallis is certainly a great cricketer on the basis of statistics alone, but he does not belong in the cricket Pantheon.

  • Samir Chopra on July 31, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    As I write this, Kallis is doing what he does best, battling away in a *test match*, trying to get his side first to safety and then to hopefully, a winning position. He is a matchwinner in many ways, and sadly unappreciated. Thanks for writing this, Stephen.

  • Mustufa on July 31, 2008, 14:51 GMT

    Kallis underrated, I think he is over rated. He is not half the batsman he is that his stats show. I have seen all good bowlers in this world go trough him like a hot knife through cheese. His defense becomes vulnerable as the pace goes up. A great batsman has the ability to dominate a test match and score on his terms, even Dravid in his pomp did that. But kallis, sits, and waits and waits and waits, he is never in control of an innings, he blocks out the good bowlers to score of the poor ones, and though that is good batsmanship, its not really great.

    I have seen Lara dominate Wasim and Waqar in their pomp and vice versa, thats how you measure a batsman.

    Kallis gets wickets that he does because he is the fifth bowler, with batsman loosing up after facing quality bowlers. If he were the fourth or third bowler regularly he would struggle to bowl 5 in a row.

    Good batsman, thats about it.

  • Tony Hughes on July 31, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    Problem I think is that Kallis fails to deliver on the big occasion. 2007 WC match against AUS, he scored 48 in 63 balls when SA needed to accelerate. He failed in his job.

    Other than that, my first pick in a world XI for Test cricket.

  • eddy on July 31, 2008, 14:10 GMT

    @Elayaraja Muthuswamy...you say results are more important than flair. Perhaps, but it doesnt seem to appeared to have worked for Kallis. He IS a true great allrounder but are his matchwinning performances really that well remembered. Does he have a '1981' like Botham or Sobers won the 1966 series in England almost single-handed, scoring three centuries - all in excess of 160 - and a 94, as well as taking 20 wickets with his left-arm bowling? Flair DOES count for a hell of a lot. Thats why Gavaskar is well respect for his efforts (especially against WI), but someone with 2000 less runs like Richards, Gower, Sobers are more awed over.

  • Masum Dad Khan on July 31, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    Looking at the records one might be tempted to put kallis and Sobers at par. But their aproach to the game are too far apart. kallis is unassuming and lacks agrassion and flair, unathletic movements on and off the field and lacking in charisma which possibly deprived him from even considered for captaincy.

    Sobers had different aproach to the game. his agrassive batting , varities in bowling , atheleticism and charisma all were hallmark of such greatness that alltime greats like botham , imran are not even considered close to him.

  • Ravi M on July 31, 2008, 13:58 GMT

    If I have to summarise in one line: Comparing Kallis with Sobers is just as “intelligent” as comparing everyone who averaged around 50 in test cricket with the incomparable King Richards or comparing everyone with an average of 35 in ODIs with Gilchrist just because Gilly opened the batting.

  • Ravi M on July 31, 2008, 13:55 GMT

    And again, Kallis’ records against BD and Zim are Lohmannesque just like batting was “Bradmanesque” against them. It takes more than just being decent to make someone like Boycott quack 3 times and to dismiss the likes of him and Barrington more than half a dozen times in test cricket. Despite the obvious difference in the quality of the oppositions, considering the batsman friendly changes over the years, Kallis MAY be in the same league as a bowler. But, Sir Garry is in a totally different league in batting and fielding in addition to that inimitable flamboyance and the enterprising captaincy. No disrespect to the likes of Hunte or Kanhai, but Sobers almost single-handedly ensured that the batting strength remained more or less the same from the time Ws retired to the period King Richards announced his arrival. I hope that you’re aware of the reasons for Sir Garry sitting out of test cricket.

  • Ravi M on July 31, 2008, 13:51 GMT

    Just out of curiosity, what could be the explanation for someone who batted at no.3 and 4 having fewer runs per innings (summing both out and not out) than someone who batted at 6 or 5 most of the times? Kallis is yet to score a 200 despite having batted in 200+ test innings (180+ at no.3 or 4). Why should we leave out Sir Garry’s outstanding records for or against World XI? Does the number 254 @ MCG ring a bell? Comparing their batting records is simply meaningless. Spare a thought to the ground size and pitch type of the 50s and 60s? Lets move to bowling: How often did Kallis open the bowling for South Africa? Has he ever been their premier strike bowler in his career? Did he have to carry the burden of being a captain, premier batsman and the opening bowler for the team in a match for countless times? Will Sir Garry’s versatility ever be matched? Why should we overlook the fielding skills of the two?

  • Lance on July 31, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    To mind, there is a certain reverence and romanticism attached to Garry Sobers, and I think people are reluctant to acknowledge that any cricketer could be on the same level as the great man. Certainly, statistically speaking, Kallis can be ranked alongside Sobers. But Sobers had an undefinable genius and excitement to his cricket that appealed to cricket lovers and had even Sir Donald Bradman drooling. Sobers is a much-loved figure; can the same be said of Kallis throughout the cricketing world?

  • Ravi M on July 31, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    If India in Sir Garry’s era can be a minnow, why not the West Indies of the last decade? How well did Kallis perform against the best team of his generation? How well did he bat in the bowler-friendly English conditions? Do you or do you not agree that McGrath, Warne & Murali were easily the best bowlers of Kallis’ era? Simple reminder: Do you really need statsguru to realise how badly Kallis struggled against them? I don’t think anybody will deny that England had the best bowling unit (Trueman, Statham, Snow, Underwood etc.) in his time. Care to check Sir Garry’s incredible records the best bowling unit, England? And compare that to Kallis’ records against the best bowling unit of his time, Australia? Is Kallis as complete a batsman as Sobers was? Can Kallis be even called a decent player of spin? English pace attack was treated with the same “disdain” that was felt by those 5 brilliant Indian spinners.

  • Duncan McAulay on July 31, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    Steven, thanks very much for a great in depth analysis of the Kallis/Sobers records. I'm also extremely pleased to note that most commentators agree with you. I have been a Kallis fan ever since his gutsy maiden test century in Australia that saved a test for us. I just have one question for everyone. Are we currently watching, and acknowledging the "Best Ever Cricketer"??

  • Bobby Goodman on July 31, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    Jacques Kallis has proven that he is a very good allrounder. Better than Sobers? Out of the question.

    Their Test averages are definitely comparable but true analysts and fans who have followed the game for long enough could enlighten those who dare to think that Kallis is better than Sobers, that the way that the game is played makes all the difference. Sobers stamped his authority on the game, every time and all the time.

    I can guarantee that over 90% of former int'l players and commentators will say this.

    Be brave enough to ask Ian Chappell to compare them and he will question the sanity of those who think Kallis is better.

    By the way, while Sobers' Test Bowling average does not do justice to the effect he had on the game as a bowler; his First Class average shows that Sobers was quite a bowler: Sobers 1043 wkts @ 27.74 70789 balls Kallis 368 wkts @ 30.64 24340 balls

    In fact, Kallis' Bowling Avg never falls below 30.

    Sobers 57.78 Batting avg is just the icing on the cake.

  • Louis bam on July 31, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    I couldnt agree more with the writer. Kallis deserves his spot and he's far from finished. But Dev you are talking such bollocks. Flintoff a 7 for batting? Please Flintoff isn't worthy of being named anywhere close to Kallis. His batting average is what 20 runs less than Kallis. I would put Kallis at second after Sobers but please refrain from useing Flintoff in the same sentence as Kallis. He can only do both average. Kallis has been at the top of bowling and batting in the world. and he's been around for 10 years

  • Yadav on July 31, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Oh dear! What a mess? Comparing is a difficult job. I haven't seen Sobers bat, or bowl either. But the cricketing literatures rate him very high, right up there with Bradman. About Kallis, I see him as a perfect batsman who bats extremely well, has a flair in his batting and can bat according to the situation. This statement may seen a rubbish for many but it is a fact as he many innings to his credit where he has batted more than run a ball. He has batted under various situations successfully though sometimes he scores at a slower rate than expected of him. Coming to his bowling, he is not a very talented bowler but somehow he manages this deficiency with his perseverence. In package, he is an exceptional player having whom even the game is proud. And at last, coming to the allrounder, Cairns was a perfect allrounder with a balance in batting and bowling.

  • Walter on July 31, 2008, 11:03 GMT

    Kallis is the type of player any captain would murder for to have in his team. He bowls not to make up the fifth bowler but he is a partnership breaker. That is why his bowling is so pivitol for the team. Even if he only takes 1 wicket a match that wicket will be a vital one none the less...that is what were missing. His batting rates among the best and even though stats count for nothing as most of you have said..the stats will always be used to compare ones worth in a team.

  • Anton on July 31, 2008, 10:30 GMT

    Dev, Surely you are not going to rate Pollock better than Kallis. I also think Pollock is very much a bowler who bats very well rather than a genuine allrounder. Also, as good as Flintoff is, I think to make kallis only a single point better than Flintoff is very unfair on Kallis.

    The ratings should be more like

    Kallis 24 Pollock 22 Flintoff 21 Cairns 19

  • Dev on July 31, 2008, 10:04 GMT

    I would partially agree to Stephen here. Indeed Kallis is a great all-rounder. As good as many. though I wouldn't like to compare him to Sobers as the 2 come from different eras. But a couple of names just came to my mind n lemme rate them alongside Kallis on a different scale. Let us mark each of the following as we perceive on a scale of 10 in bat, bowl, field Kallis - bat= 9, bowl = 7, field = 8(slips) Total = 24 Flintoff - bat=7, bowl=8, field=8 Total = 23 Cairns - bat=7, bowl=7, field=8 Total = 22 Pollock - bat=6, bowl=10, field=9(in d deep) Total = 25

    I believe I have made my point. Free to be rectified if 1 deems me incorrect

  • Dsig3 on July 31, 2008, 9:40 GMT

    Unbelievalble player. Being an Australian I think he has never shown the Australian public his best work, but nobody in their right mind would question the mans abiltiy. Yes he is not flamboyant, but he shows respect for the game. The Australian team led by Steve Waugh gave up on trying to sledge him very early on in his career. In my expierience with suburban cricket, I would say that is very rare for this country, we would sledge our Grandma's if it gave us an edge.

  • Anthony on July 31, 2008, 9:14 GMT

    jondavluc trying to compare Michael Clarke with Jacques Kallis is like comparing a Volkswagen Beetle with a Rolls Royce. Statistics in cricket do not lie. When Clarke has over 100 tests to his name, averages in the high 50's with the bat and has taken over 200 wickets then you can look at comparing the two. Also, you state he has cost SA games... when? He was won SA a whole lot more than he has lost.

  • adison shrestha on July 31, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    no matter what the legends of cricket say or the best players of today say abo kallis he is the best of the best. starting from the evoloution of cricket till today there has been very less cricketer and fans who has been totally able to notice the absolute talent and ability of players like kallis. no matter what the world say im ready to do any thing for this player from my behalf because i admire him more than myself. he is the king of modern cricket.

  • patrick davis on July 31, 2008, 9:02 GMT

    jondavluc, dont you think your comment was just a tiny bit unfair? South Africa has continually been in the top 3 nations for the past ten years and alot of that has to do with Kallis being the rock/mainstay and providing balance to the team. Its test cricket,why do you criticise him for being in the traditional mode. I wouldnt say no to a new zealander having an average of over 55, just because he was uncharasmatic and perhaps 'boring'. (hah, i wouldnt mind a NZer with an average of 45 either)

    not to mention his numerous man of th ematch awards. Not bad for a 'selfish' player with a 'boring personality'

  • Shaun on July 31, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    Kallis is an all-time legend. He does not get the credit he deserves. According to the stats he is the best allround player ever to play the game. Did you know he has the most sixes of any South-African in total in ODI's ? He is sheer genius and not only does his test record make him the best test allrounder ever, his oneday records is also way above any allrounder ever. Let just admire him for how great player he is, and give him his due.

  • Shaheed Shaik on July 31, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    A good article indeed. Kallis's cricketing ability places him as an all time great As a member of the former non racial fraternity in South Africa, I always felt Kallis's non participation in the singing of the national anthem was a slap in the face of those who had sacrificed so much to come to a collaboration to include the sentiments of all who lived in South Africa. This probably led to the perception that he was not very partisan and has contributed to his lack of marketing. In this country, the public has an extreme love-hate relationship with Kallis. I for one think he is probably the greatest cricketer South Africa has ever produced, and one of the 11 greatest cricketers ever internationally. With a few minor changes to his image, he can become one of the most loved cricketers ever produced by South Africa.

  • jondavluc on July 31, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Kallis is not a great player he states prove nothing the facts are he may have won south africa games but he has cost them games with his slow batting and this shows signs of a selfish plyer ethier that or a very limited player which still proves he is not that great.He also lacks star quality he has a boring personailty on the field which makes his batting seem all the more slow and is not that great of a fielder.His bowling is more for retricting the side not for win you games(taking wickets) micheal clarke is a better match winner than kallis with the ball.the fact are in the end his states won't tell you anything and his boring personality makes cream painted walls seem like hot pink

  • Mike on July 31, 2008, 8:21 GMT

    When I first saw Kallis play he took an athletic catch at Eden Park, diving full length in the gully. When he batted he was immediately one of those difficult-to-get-out guys. A thorn in the side of egvery opposition. He now deserves to be called among the greats. The stats tell the story, and deinitely do not deceive in this case. I feel sure that Sir Gary would be happy to have a companion in his illustrious group of what used to be one.

  • Andrew on July 31, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    Kallis is a legend - anyone weighing as much as he currently does and still taking 3 wickets lke he did yesterday (bowling into the wind) is the stuff of legends...

  • Anjo on July 31, 2008, 7:45 GMT

    I think the stereotype for a great allrounder is a tall athletic fast bowler who bats with flair and aggression. From Sobers, Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Chris Cairns to Shane Watson today, this image of an allrounder continues to shadow any other type and Kallis just doesn't seem to fit in this league. An efficient medium/slow bowler (or spinner) and traditional batsman is never going to be appreciated as much as an attacking batsmen/opening bowler who can spear in yorkers and bouncers at 145kph. I don't know if there's a lot Kallis can (or should) do to change his they way he is portrayed/received. But its nice to see articles like this that give credit where it is due.

  • jack on July 31, 2008, 7:40 GMT

    Yes Kallis is infact a true best allrounder.I myself being the fan of him from past 10 yrs, All i could say is he has performed very well with bat and ball whenever the team needed.Criticizing him as slow and bore is not good as he has scored a fastest 50 in test history.So he is a complete cricketer in all the formats of the game and truely deserves to be compared with the greatest allrounder Gary Sobers.Best of luck for his further career.

  • chris on July 31, 2008, 7:39 GMT

    Sorry to be a party pooper - I admire Kallis but this is stretching it a bit. Sober's batting average was well above 60 for much of his career and only fell away at the end (check out HowStat). Sobers was effective bowling both pace and spin (two types). His top scores were world records at the time, and noone ever complained about his scoring rate. He was an inspirational and enterprising player, Kallis is an admirable grafter. Underrated, yes, but comparable with Sobers, no. Bit like comparing Steve Waugh with IVA Richards, simply because their averages were similar at the end of their careers.

  • JohnB on July 31, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    If he'd never taken a wicket, he'd deserve to be remembered as a very very good test batsman, of the get-in, stay-in, bat around him kind (and every good team needs one of them). Two wickets per test at a respectable average and good strike rate makes him that much more valuable - maybe the fact that 2 wickets per test wouldn't get you into the team as a bowler goes some way to accounting for some of the lower rating of him? Maybe an all-rounder needs to take more wickets to really be rated? Sobers' wicket taking rate was higher, but still only 2.6 or so per game, which also doesn't keep you in a test team as a bowler for too long - but did the amount of bowling he did tail off as his career went on thus depressing the overall figures after a better start?

    And I can only agree with Martin - Shaun Pollock's figures aren't to be sneezed at. Combine them and you get the figures you'd look for from 3 good specialist players.

  • Brendanvio on July 31, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    While I concede Kallis is amongst the grtest all-rounders of all time, he is no Sobers. Sobers was a 5-in-1 cricketer (Wrist and finger spin and pace bowler, batsman and fielder), and Jacques has never been able to fully dominate an opposition bowling line up like Sobers could.

  • chinuku on July 31, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    Kallis is great and unchanged in the era of hit and miss. Kallis is the most reliable player in today's era, but he is having a few problems with the changes in today's game style(which obviously every body faces during their career).

  • Martin Rudman on July 31, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    What an excellent article. Kallis is without doubt one of the top allrounders the game has ever seen. Comparisons between cricketers of different eras is difficult, but Kallis's figures certainly put him up there with the best of all time. Compared to the other allrounders of his own era, he is head and shoulders above the rest. People like Andrew Flintoff have figures that look poor by comparison. Kallis puts the team first and if he performs SA usually wins. I think that, like Shaun Pollock, we will only really realise Jacques value once he has retired.

  • Straight Point on July 31, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    he also saved africa from collapse coming in at 500/3 with is 120ish balls 30 odd...

  • chitrosen on July 31, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    Certaianly there's no denying the greatness of Kallis. But Micawber's famous comment that 'statistics are an ass' holds good even today. Sobers had that indefinable magic that charmed the world. i have been fortunate enough to watch Sobers bat. I have watched Kallis bat too - and not on television. While Kallis is great, Sobers is genius.

  • Andrew on July 31, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Kallis' record speaks for itself and anyone that criticizes him does not know what they are talking about. With respect to selfish cricketers - I have always felt that Michael Bevan was sometimes a selfish cricketer and some of his not outs in ODIs was due to wicket preservation.

  • Vamsee Krishna on July 31, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    He is a legend. Thats it. His records speaks for himself. When compared with Sobers, he is good when we both take the average of batting and bowling. And coming to match winning displays, he ranks amongside the top ten players in the history of the game. He deserves to be in the all time World XI team.

  • Marcus on July 31, 2008, 5:06 GMT

    One thing I remember reading was that Kallis had over 8000 runs at a mid-fifties average. Ponting, Yousuf, Sangakara, Dravid, Tendulkar and Lara can all challenge that record- but how many of them had taken 200 Test wickets?

    As for his SR- it may only be 72, but his average is 45. Besides, when the South African team has always had batsmen like Smith, Gibbs and de Villiers, and before them Rhodes and Klusener, then he doesn't really need to be a free-scoring batsman- rather, he needs to be someone to build a solid platform.

    Also, his bowling is quite under-rated- I've seen spells of his (quite recently) where he was consistently at the 140/87 mark. But nowadays for any bowler to go at under 3, as Kallis has, is a pretty good achievement.

  • David Barry on July 31, 2008, 4:37 GMT

    I should add, though, that I agree that Kallis doesn't get anywhere near the recognition he deserves for his all-round achievements in Test cricket. "Not quite as good as Sobers" still puts him in the best handful of all-time.

  • David Barry on July 31, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Another thing to consider in regards to Kallis's Test average is that he's playing in the most batsman-dominated era in cricket history. There are various ways to adjust for this - the one I use is based on the bowling averages of his opponents. On this measure, Sobers' average is reduced to 54, and Kallis's to 50.

    Of course, the flipside to that is that Kallis's bowling average remains easily better than Sobers', even though Kallis has a pretty handy bowling record against the minnows.

    Sobers' bowling average is surprisingly high. The one strong argument I've heard in his favour (I don't know how true it is) is that he was often told to bowl against the conditions - on a spinners' pitch he'd be used to open the bowling, and on fast track he'd bowl spin.

    And on ODI's: Kallis's striker rate since 2000 is 72.5, or 4.35/over. That's pretty slow these days.

  • Elayaraja Muthuswamy on July 31, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Yes. Kallis is alongside Gary Sobers as crickets greatest all rounders. Just because people dont talk about him, his greatness cannot be questioned. He doesnot have the style and attacking instincts of Brian Lara but what is more important is how often he has won games for SA. He is the leader in the Man of the Match awards in test cricket and his ODI performance is not far behind.

  • Vinod on July 31, 2008, 3:43 GMT

    Dravid is revered only after psychologically translating himslef into match winning away double hundreds in tests and tying india together with innovative plays in one dayers. Steve Waugh's gut wrenching saves and solid character innings after innings and then captaincy. A transformation is required for Kallis in certain knocks that will make the fans look up. When we talk about legends whatever the personality, these transformations occur that catapults them to the level where they are revered. This is an understanding article, but does not make an effort to go to a deeper cause as to why some players remain good but never become legends. The same way Mark Waugh is not talked about as much as Steve, though people say Mark was more talented. For people to sit up, take notice, dream and put a figure head in their minds, statistics alone wont suffice. Probably Kallis is a better version of Mudassar Nazar, more talented, more solid, but of course Mudassar is not talked about as an Imran.

  • SK on July 31, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    Yes, You're probably right Stephen. Kallis has been extremely underrated for quite a while and I would like to see the all-rounder given his due on the world stage. The Flintoffs, Broads and Watsons of today should look to Kallis as a source of inspiration - A Champion Allrounder!

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  • SK on July 31, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    Yes, You're probably right Stephen. Kallis has been extremely underrated for quite a while and I would like to see the all-rounder given his due on the world stage. The Flintoffs, Broads and Watsons of today should look to Kallis as a source of inspiration - A Champion Allrounder!

  • Vinod on July 31, 2008, 3:43 GMT

    Dravid is revered only after psychologically translating himslef into match winning away double hundreds in tests and tying india together with innovative plays in one dayers. Steve Waugh's gut wrenching saves and solid character innings after innings and then captaincy. A transformation is required for Kallis in certain knocks that will make the fans look up. When we talk about legends whatever the personality, these transformations occur that catapults them to the level where they are revered. This is an understanding article, but does not make an effort to go to a deeper cause as to why some players remain good but never become legends. The same way Mark Waugh is not talked about as much as Steve, though people say Mark was more talented. For people to sit up, take notice, dream and put a figure head in their minds, statistics alone wont suffice. Probably Kallis is a better version of Mudassar Nazar, more talented, more solid, but of course Mudassar is not talked about as an Imran.

  • Elayaraja Muthuswamy on July 31, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Yes. Kallis is alongside Gary Sobers as crickets greatest all rounders. Just because people dont talk about him, his greatness cannot be questioned. He doesnot have the style and attacking instincts of Brian Lara but what is more important is how often he has won games for SA. He is the leader in the Man of the Match awards in test cricket and his ODI performance is not far behind.

  • David Barry on July 31, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Another thing to consider in regards to Kallis's Test average is that he's playing in the most batsman-dominated era in cricket history. There are various ways to adjust for this - the one I use is based on the bowling averages of his opponents. On this measure, Sobers' average is reduced to 54, and Kallis's to 50.

    Of course, the flipside to that is that Kallis's bowling average remains easily better than Sobers', even though Kallis has a pretty handy bowling record against the minnows.

    Sobers' bowling average is surprisingly high. The one strong argument I've heard in his favour (I don't know how true it is) is that he was often told to bowl against the conditions - on a spinners' pitch he'd be used to open the bowling, and on fast track he'd bowl spin.

    And on ODI's: Kallis's striker rate since 2000 is 72.5, or 4.35/over. That's pretty slow these days.

  • David Barry on July 31, 2008, 4:37 GMT

    I should add, though, that I agree that Kallis doesn't get anywhere near the recognition he deserves for his all-round achievements in Test cricket. "Not quite as good as Sobers" still puts him in the best handful of all-time.

  • Marcus on July 31, 2008, 5:06 GMT

    One thing I remember reading was that Kallis had over 8000 runs at a mid-fifties average. Ponting, Yousuf, Sangakara, Dravid, Tendulkar and Lara can all challenge that record- but how many of them had taken 200 Test wickets?

    As for his SR- it may only be 72, but his average is 45. Besides, when the South African team has always had batsmen like Smith, Gibbs and de Villiers, and before them Rhodes and Klusener, then he doesn't really need to be a free-scoring batsman- rather, he needs to be someone to build a solid platform.

    Also, his bowling is quite under-rated- I've seen spells of his (quite recently) where he was consistently at the 140/87 mark. But nowadays for any bowler to go at under 3, as Kallis has, is a pretty good achievement.

  • Vamsee Krishna on July 31, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    He is a legend. Thats it. His records speaks for himself. When compared with Sobers, he is good when we both take the average of batting and bowling. And coming to match winning displays, he ranks amongside the top ten players in the history of the game. He deserves to be in the all time World XI team.

  • Andrew on July 31, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Kallis' record speaks for itself and anyone that criticizes him does not know what they are talking about. With respect to selfish cricketers - I have always felt that Michael Bevan was sometimes a selfish cricketer and some of his not outs in ODIs was due to wicket preservation.

  • chitrosen on July 31, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    Certaianly there's no denying the greatness of Kallis. But Micawber's famous comment that 'statistics are an ass' holds good even today. Sobers had that indefinable magic that charmed the world. i have been fortunate enough to watch Sobers bat. I have watched Kallis bat too - and not on television. While Kallis is great, Sobers is genius.

  • Straight Point on July 31, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    he also saved africa from collapse coming in at 500/3 with is 120ish balls 30 odd...