November 22, 2008

South African cricket

Is Kallis becoming a concern?

George Binoy

Jacques Kallis managed just 16 off 35 deliveries [in the first innings against Bangladesh] and yes, I’m sure some people, still mindful of his grim struggle in England, will be starting to wonder now whether his heyday has passed, writes Rob Houwing on Sport24.

I have my own theory: maybe he is indeed on a slow comedown from some lofty career heights, but that certainly doesn’t mean he is a spent force. And there may be a good reason why he hasn’t made major runs this year: he hasn’t had to. So satisfyingly consistent has been the form of Graeme Smith, Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla and [Ashwell] Prince that Kallis has not had to drop anchor in the manner he knows best. You can bet that come Australia, there may be times when South Africa totter a bit in the top-order; it may well be a signal for normal Kallis “restorative” service to resume.

In Aussie parlance, Graeme Smith must lighten up and pull his head in down under, and then he might even win [in Australia], writes Peter Roebuck in the Witness.

However, it would be unwise to look too far ahead. South Africa cannot win unless they raise their game on and off the field, and Smith himself has a big part to play in that. Previously he arrived down under as some sort of chest-thumping provocateur intent with every word on making his own life harder and the prospects of his team grimmer. It was a mistake born of immaturity and bad advice. If Smith has learnt his lesson then his team have a chance. Otherwise the cause is lost.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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