South Africa cricket January 15, 2012

Is Kallis the greatest of them all?

When you add 20000-odd international runs, 500-odd wickets and over 300 catches, you really get a sense of Kallis' mental strength
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As someone who loves just about everything about South Africa, whenever the conversation turns to anything remotely resembling Africa, I'm all ears. I love the bushveld, the people who forge uncompromising and hard lives in that terrain and the attitude of the modern South Africans who have afforded me understated warmth and friendship. My experiences of its rainbow people make me far from a neutral in writing this article - let me state upfront that I'm one of South Africa's most vocal tourist ambassadors. So, loyalties declared, here's my thesis: is Jacques Kallis the King?

This piece was prompted by a conversation I had last night with some of my best mates, Australians all of them, skilled cricketers who have played at a very high level and not usually prone to handing out accolades lightly. It all started with the predictable conversation about whether the great Indian batsmen of the current era were past their prime or not, and it then morphed into equally predictable comparisons between Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis. Being knowledgeable cricketers themselves, this debate, pleasantly interrupted by the peeling of giant prawns, was an intelligent and mature discussion, free from the usual jingoistic limitations that can sometimes spoil these moments.

All the great batsmen mentioned above are exactly that - no real argument as to their calibre. We added Kumar Sangakkara to that list, along with honourable mentions for the likes of Matthew Hayden, Mahela Jayawardene, Steve Waugh, Kevin Petersen and numerous others who are clearly fine players but just out of that exclusive bracket mentioned in the previous paragraph. When we tried to actually pick our most valuable player from among those batsmen, I was delighted to hear a strong consensus pushing for Kallis as the greatest of them all.

It's almost heresy to have this sort of debate and even mention anyone but Tendulkar as the top man. I'm a great admirer of the Little Master, on and off the field, so it's more a compliment to Kallis than a slight to Tendulkar that we even considered Kallis in the same breath. We just came to the conclusion that in all aspects of the game, Kallis is the most under-rated cricketer to have ever played the game.

The comparisons naturally turned to Sir Garfield Sobers. None of us could remember watching him play, so we were relying on legend and folklore passed down from our fathers. Again, a bit like Tendulkar, it is apparently a crime against cricket to compare any allrounder against Sobers but, fuelled by prawns and oysters, we were prepared to crunch the numbers. And we still stuck to our estimation that Kallis should be remembered amongst the top two or three cricketers to have ever played the game.

His batting average, over a long career, is as good as it gets, barring The Don of course. It is his all-round game though that puts his achievements into context. When you add 20000-odd international runs, 500-odd wickets and over 300 catches (most of them in the slips), you really get a sense of Kallis' mental strength. For most of his career, he has carried South Africa's batting. Tendulkar has done it to some extent but he had some great allies all through his career, from Mohammad Azharuddin to Sourav Ganguly to Virender Sehwag, Dravid and VVS Laxman. Ponting's genius, too, is undisputed but most of his career has been alongside other prolific and dominant batsmen, as well as a bowling unit that frequently ensured he was playing from a position of strength. Make no mistake - Ponting's innings often set up those situations so it is not meant as a criticism, merely an acknowledgement of his era in the baggy green. Brian Lara was arguably the one who had to carry more than even Kallis' burden singlehandedly and his place among the cricketing gods is secure but crucially, he didn't bowl.

It's the bowling workload that clinched it for Kallis, in our opinions. Operating in the 135-140kph range for much of his career, concentrating hard at second slip in between and then batting at number three must have been an amazing burden on his mental and physical state. To his credit, he has rarely had an extended period out of the game through injury. His durability alone makes him worthy of the tag of "greatest cricketer of all time".

His detractors will point to a relatively low scoring-rate and the perception that he may not have changed the course of a game with a breathtaking assault on a bowling attack, in the way that Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting have. Fair point, but this was also a man who contributed with the ball. His impact on a game of cricket may have been more subtle but no less valuable only because it was a slow-burn fuse.

Comparing him to Sobers' Test record, the stats alone make it hard to split them apart. I could not determine Sobers' strike-rate but despite the romantic memories of yesteryear, I wonder if he scored much quicker than in the modern era. He would probably have scored quicker than Kallis' strike-rate of 45, but how much quicker? In terms of hundreds and fifties, Kallis has scored 96 in 150 Tests, at a rate close to 66%. In other words, he makes a score 50 or more in two out of three Tests that he plays in. Sobers has a similar rate, perhaps slightly lower. In 93 Tests, he got to 50 or more on 56 occasions. Not a whole lot separating them here.

On the bowling front, Kallis' strike-rate is significantly higher than Sobers, 68 compared to 91. Kallis is also a shade ahead on average: 32 versus 34. Their catching records are equally impressive, more than one catch per Test. So Kallis loses nothing in comparison on a purely statistical basis.

You could argue that Sobers played in an era when there was a lot less cricket played, therefore opposition teams were a lot fresher. Fair point but that argument works both ways. Sobers himself would have been less fatigued. You could argue that as a batsman, Sobers played in an era before the third umpire replays were in operation, therefore, if umpires honoured the tradition that benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman, he might have escaped the odd close decision that Kallis did not survive. The standard of fielding is generally accepted to be much higher in the modern game but that is probably balanced out by the smaller boundaries and better cricket bats that Kallis has enjoyed. You can reverse those arguments when talking about their bowling records.

A few hundred prawns the wiser, we moved on to more important topics like which one of us had behaved more disgracefully on past cricket tours and which one of us was the worst player among our group of friends. I won the latter category with some ease - there was no need to debate that one for too long. This was not so much about demoting any other cricketers' achievements but to elevate Kallis to the highest possible plane, to recognise him as one of the very greatest cricketers to have ever played the game. For neutral Australian cricket fans to unequivocally endorse this fact, says it all really. For us, last night, Kallis was indeed king.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mayur on February 24, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Kallis is a 'Great Player' allround, but Sachin is the 'Gratest ODI Player' ever. He has got not only runs abut also wickets under his belt when he use to bowl. And when we talk about Sachin, he is the Gratest Batsman after Sir Don. Kallis should be placed even below Lara, Ponting and Dravid when we talk about batting alone.

  • Regi Baptiste on February 22, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    In terms of the general term, 'best cricketer', which means combining a player's batting, bowling and fielding ability in 'TEST CRICKET' (since the Don and others did not play ODIs), I think that Kallis has all rights to be compared with anyone who have played the game. However, the writer has gone too far to think that he is better than Sobers. The reason being that Sobers had too many dimensions to his bowling ability and he mastered them all. Kallis is only a fast medium bowler. I also saw Sobers bat - Kallis is no match for him. Sobers was also awesome as a fieldsman. I would give Sobers the edge as 'the best cricketer of all time' by a wide margin. In terms of batsmanship alone, Ian Chappell's article ('Who is the Pick of the Modern Grets') of very recent memory was a 'bull's eye' shot: As Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) was to boxing, so was Brian Lara to batting. Let's not allow raw quantitative figures to fool us. I think what puts Lara in a class above his modern contemporaries is that he never consciously got too hooked up on issues such as averages, etc,. He played the game for the enjoyment of the paying public; however, if he wanted to do something special (like breaking the world batting record twice), he just went out and did effortlessly, like Mohammed Ali. He does not wilt under pressure to do 'awesome things') as the lesser mortals have sleepless nights trying to do, and still can't do it after multiple tries. That's what puts him in an unmatchable class by himself. His personal negatives should not take away from his peerless skills -the reason that the purists don't want to give him his full due!

  • khan786 on February 10, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Why we are comparing an allrounder with batsman?he is a fine allrounder but not as good as sobers and comparing him with likes of tendulkar,lara and ponting as a batsman is just not fair,people are saying that sachin scores his runs on flat pitches?does he not score runs overseas...kallis scored his runs in difficult conditions? Are those conditions difficult for someone who started playing his cricket in those conditions obviously in home condition every player should score runs if he doesn't where he will score?some people are saying that saching is not a great batsman does he himself says he is a great batsman?no people who watch him says...if don bradman says he see himself in sachin than this is the biggest compliment for a batsman...a batsman at the age of seventeen who can face likes of akram and waqar younis at their peak and smack likes of legend spinner abdul qadir does not reqire any certificate of greatness. ..class of a batsman can be seen in 1 stroke.just enjoy cricket.

  • AAAtif on February 6, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Cmon, i like cover drives by Kallis, straight drives by Tendulkar, on-drives by dravid, pull shots by ponting and use of feet by Lara. love them all.

  • rickytherocket on January 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    As several have already mentioned, it is extremely difficult to compare players from different eras. In my opinion, there is no point in expanding on that.

    Kallis is very good at what he does. He is an excellent top order batsman, an accomplished containing bowler and a fantastic slip fielder - that's his job. He is not in the team as an opening bowler or big hitter. And he's been doing it consistantly for over 15 years.

    It seems most people do not rate him because he is not as entertaining as the likes of Ponting and Tendulkar. There can be no doubting that, however it doesn't make him any less of a great player... just less flamboyant.

    His batting records alone prove that he should be mentioned in the same breath as the Pontings, Laras, Tendulkars etc. But if his statistics alone don't convince you, perhaps the best way to view it is by asking which current player would add more overall value to your team.

  • internationalcricketblog.wordpress.com on January 17, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    To compare Sobers to Kallis is just impossible - they played in different eras etc. I will say that Kallis is the best player of the past twenty-odd years - Statistically he is just as good as SRT, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting etc in terms of his batting, add his bowling to that and he is on another level. To those saying that we had lots of quality players and that he didn't win matches: Sure we had lots of quality bowlers, but until the recent appearance of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, he would pretty much hold a weak batting line up together single-handedly. Gary Kirsten was the only other quality, reliable batsman we had. Grame Smith blows hot and cold, Herschelle Gibbs was swashbuckling but unreliable, the rest were pretty much fillers.

  • Murali A Varma on January 17, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    Very nice article. I had a similar sort of conversation with some friends recently, but we drifted off into Nadal vs. Federer vs. Djokovic. Before that, we also came to the conclusion that Kallis is one of the best cricketers ever. I especially like your 'most under-rated cricketer' term. It does take an insane amount of concentration to bat with such class, bowl at 135 kph and stand with bucket hands at 2nd slip. He too deserves success in the World Cup. Stop choking South Africa!

  • RJ on January 17, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Although I am a die hard sachin and dravid fan, I do agree about Kallis being highly underrated...please also consider Kallis' record in India especially against spinners...where the best batsmen have failed...plus he has won and saved numerous tests for South Africa...and his ODI average is also fantastic...

    further, one should also consider how responsibly he has always played for his team and on his field conduct and sportsman spirit

    It is also the fact that he has not been spoken about too often in the often which could be due to following reasons: - he maintains a low profile - he is not indian, english or aussie

  • Geoff Plumridge on January 17, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Nope. A bloke called Sobers.

  • Meety on January 17, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    Kallis (IMO) is the most prolific of the bat & ball allrounders, (for mine Gilly is the statistical greatest allrounder). For mine, Kallis's bowling is relatively weak as a test player, (very good/great as an ODI). His batting is IMO inched past Punter & Dravid in the last couple of years & is basically within a whisker of Lara & Sachin. Kallis's batting is statistically very strong, but some statistical quirks are that 1) 1,000 runs against Bangladesh & Zim at an ave of around 125, 2) 38 wickets against Bangladesh & Zimbabwe at less than 15 runs per wicket. IMO, Kallis is a superb slipsman, one of the all time greats, but I just don't rate his bowling highly in tests. Sobers was far better as a bowler. I would rate Botham & Khan ahead of him in terms of allrounders that I've seen. I think historically Miller & Sobers are the two best ever, which has been pretty much proven statistically on this site not too long ago! Credit where its due, Kallis seems to get better with age!

  • Mayur on February 24, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Kallis is a 'Great Player' allround, but Sachin is the 'Gratest ODI Player' ever. He has got not only runs abut also wickets under his belt when he use to bowl. And when we talk about Sachin, he is the Gratest Batsman after Sir Don. Kallis should be placed even below Lara, Ponting and Dravid when we talk about batting alone.

  • Regi Baptiste on February 22, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    In terms of the general term, 'best cricketer', which means combining a player's batting, bowling and fielding ability in 'TEST CRICKET' (since the Don and others did not play ODIs), I think that Kallis has all rights to be compared with anyone who have played the game. However, the writer has gone too far to think that he is better than Sobers. The reason being that Sobers had too many dimensions to his bowling ability and he mastered them all. Kallis is only a fast medium bowler. I also saw Sobers bat - Kallis is no match for him. Sobers was also awesome as a fieldsman. I would give Sobers the edge as 'the best cricketer of all time' by a wide margin. In terms of batsmanship alone, Ian Chappell's article ('Who is the Pick of the Modern Grets') of very recent memory was a 'bull's eye' shot: As Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) was to boxing, so was Brian Lara to batting. Let's not allow raw quantitative figures to fool us. I think what puts Lara in a class above his modern contemporaries is that he never consciously got too hooked up on issues such as averages, etc,. He played the game for the enjoyment of the paying public; however, if he wanted to do something special (like breaking the world batting record twice), he just went out and did effortlessly, like Mohammed Ali. He does not wilt under pressure to do 'awesome things') as the lesser mortals have sleepless nights trying to do, and still can't do it after multiple tries. That's what puts him in an unmatchable class by himself. His personal negatives should not take away from his peerless skills -the reason that the purists don't want to give him his full due!

  • khan786 on February 10, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Why we are comparing an allrounder with batsman?he is a fine allrounder but not as good as sobers and comparing him with likes of tendulkar,lara and ponting as a batsman is just not fair,people are saying that sachin scores his runs on flat pitches?does he not score runs overseas...kallis scored his runs in difficult conditions? Are those conditions difficult for someone who started playing his cricket in those conditions obviously in home condition every player should score runs if he doesn't where he will score?some people are saying that saching is not a great batsman does he himself says he is a great batsman?no people who watch him says...if don bradman says he see himself in sachin than this is the biggest compliment for a batsman...a batsman at the age of seventeen who can face likes of akram and waqar younis at their peak and smack likes of legend spinner abdul qadir does not reqire any certificate of greatness. ..class of a batsman can be seen in 1 stroke.just enjoy cricket.

  • AAAtif on February 6, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Cmon, i like cover drives by Kallis, straight drives by Tendulkar, on-drives by dravid, pull shots by ponting and use of feet by Lara. love them all.

  • rickytherocket on January 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    As several have already mentioned, it is extremely difficult to compare players from different eras. In my opinion, there is no point in expanding on that.

    Kallis is very good at what he does. He is an excellent top order batsman, an accomplished containing bowler and a fantastic slip fielder - that's his job. He is not in the team as an opening bowler or big hitter. And he's been doing it consistantly for over 15 years.

    It seems most people do not rate him because he is not as entertaining as the likes of Ponting and Tendulkar. There can be no doubting that, however it doesn't make him any less of a great player... just less flamboyant.

    His batting records alone prove that he should be mentioned in the same breath as the Pontings, Laras, Tendulkars etc. But if his statistics alone don't convince you, perhaps the best way to view it is by asking which current player would add more overall value to your team.

  • internationalcricketblog.wordpress.com on January 17, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    To compare Sobers to Kallis is just impossible - they played in different eras etc. I will say that Kallis is the best player of the past twenty-odd years - Statistically he is just as good as SRT, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting etc in terms of his batting, add his bowling to that and he is on another level. To those saying that we had lots of quality players and that he didn't win matches: Sure we had lots of quality bowlers, but until the recent appearance of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, he would pretty much hold a weak batting line up together single-handedly. Gary Kirsten was the only other quality, reliable batsman we had. Grame Smith blows hot and cold, Herschelle Gibbs was swashbuckling but unreliable, the rest were pretty much fillers.

  • Murali A Varma on January 17, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    Very nice article. I had a similar sort of conversation with some friends recently, but we drifted off into Nadal vs. Federer vs. Djokovic. Before that, we also came to the conclusion that Kallis is one of the best cricketers ever. I especially like your 'most under-rated cricketer' term. It does take an insane amount of concentration to bat with such class, bowl at 135 kph and stand with bucket hands at 2nd slip. He too deserves success in the World Cup. Stop choking South Africa!

  • RJ on January 17, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Although I am a die hard sachin and dravid fan, I do agree about Kallis being highly underrated...please also consider Kallis' record in India especially against spinners...where the best batsmen have failed...plus he has won and saved numerous tests for South Africa...and his ODI average is also fantastic...

    further, one should also consider how responsibly he has always played for his team and on his field conduct and sportsman spirit

    It is also the fact that he has not been spoken about too often in the often which could be due to following reasons: - he maintains a low profile - he is not indian, english or aussie

  • Geoff Plumridge on January 17, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Nope. A bloke called Sobers.

  • Meety on January 17, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    Kallis (IMO) is the most prolific of the bat & ball allrounders, (for mine Gilly is the statistical greatest allrounder). For mine, Kallis's bowling is relatively weak as a test player, (very good/great as an ODI). His batting is IMO inched past Punter & Dravid in the last couple of years & is basically within a whisker of Lara & Sachin. Kallis's batting is statistically very strong, but some statistical quirks are that 1) 1,000 runs against Bangladesh & Zim at an ave of around 125, 2) 38 wickets against Bangladesh & Zimbabwe at less than 15 runs per wicket. IMO, Kallis is a superb slipsman, one of the all time greats, but I just don't rate his bowling highly in tests. Sobers was far better as a bowler. I would rate Botham & Khan ahead of him in terms of allrounders that I've seen. I think historically Miller & Sobers are the two best ever, which has been pretty much proven statistically on this site not too long ago! Credit where its due, Kallis seems to get better with age!

  • Brambo on January 17, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    Kallis is undisputably in my opinion the greatest player of our generation. With a batting average of over 1 run in the superior to Tendulkar's and more than 4 run's in the superior to Ponting's,Dravid's or Lara's average only Kumar Sangakarra compares with both his fielding and batting records. However being a wicketkeeper he didn't bowl and thus Kallis had a greater influence on any match he was a part of.

  • ausopinion on January 17, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    I find it ludicrous when people say Kallis isn't recognised because he's South African. If anything, he gets put on a pedestal because he is South African. By playing in a team which has the fast bowlers who can win test matches, his numerous failures are obscured.

    When he fails against quality bowling in a tight situation, eg Pat Cummins a couple of months ago, people remain silent. Then when he scores a double hundred against a ragged Sri Lankan attack, they sing his praises.

    It's also absurd that people feel the need to denigrate Sachin Tendulkar to elevate Kallis by suggesting he's a flat track bully who only scores in India against weaker opponents. Tendulkar's performances in Australia and England are superior to Kallis'.

    Time for the South Africans and others too, to put aside their petty prejudices and face up to the reality that greatness isn't measured by statistics alone.

  • SRT_GENIUS on January 17, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    @Shilpa Karania: No everyone agrees that Sachin is a better bat than Kallis, that's just your assumption! (In fact stats say just the opposite).

  • praxis on January 17, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    I always wonder what would have happened if Kallis was English or Indian, we all know what media is like in these countries. Even though Kallis averages more then Lara, Ponting or Tendulkar with bat, people don't want to mention him in the same league. If you are an honest & rational person, you'll have to rate him above anyone else in his generation.

  • Hammad on January 17, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    I will always prefers Miandad and Kallis like of overrated like Tendulkar, Sehwag etc

  • Sree on January 17, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    Well, well, finally somebody talking about this. I'e been feeling this for the last five years. Kallis is the most underrated cricketer. As a batsman definitely, as bowler probably, but as a package only Sobers is a comparison point and that says a lot. The others you mention are great batsmen. As to why Kallis is so under-rated, its because of his unattractive style, whether batting or bowling. And he has always been low profile.

  • metman on January 17, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Sobers is no's 1 ,2 ,and 3 when it comes to ALLROUNDERS.People are missing the point here.An ALLROUNDER is the person who can do the MOST on a cricket field.Sobers was 3 bowlers in one.Kallis only bowled pace.Sobers bowled more balls in his 93 tests than Kallis in his 150,yet Sobers still had the talent and energy to av.over 58 with the bat.Kallis ,like Tendulkar and Lara play for records.Sobers and Viv Richards liked to demolished bowlers,and didn't care two hoots about records.As far as not having the benefit of the third Umpire is concerned,Mr.Writer,you can also come with the same argument that Kallis might have survived with the third Umpire,and Sobers not survive.

  • Umar on January 16, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    Kallis is better than tendulkar,,,tendulkar playes for himself on the other hand kallis played for his team,,kallis is number one ODi & Test player ..

  • Umar on January 16, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Kallis is better than tendulkar,,,tendulkar playes for himself on the other hand kallis played for his team,,kallis is number one ODi & Test player ..

  • SA cricket fan on January 16, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    lets not underplay the king's batting ability remember most his games are played on South African pithches and conditions which often suit bowlers. Sachin has the luxury of playing on flat indian pithches in dry batting conditions. He also has the luxury of playing series against sri lanka pakistan and bangladesh on pitches and conditions that suit him. sachin has played since the age of sixteen which means his figures will never be surpassed.

    Kallis average is a shade better than the rest of the players that have scored more than 12 000 runs. For the record I have been saying that he is and has been the king for the last four years after his outstanding performaces in toppling australia and england in away test series. I guarantee that to people that really understand test cricket in south africa he is undoubtably a Legend.

  • Rudy Brome on January 16, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    It is invidious comparing cricketers over different eras. Kallis is clearly one of the best allrounders ever, with only Sobers in the same league as batting allrounder. Since their batting and bowling averages are comparable, here are some points to ponder: Their batting and bowling averages are comparable. Some question Sobers' high bowling strike rate, but note cricket was played at a slower pace and strike rates were generally higher. Mckenzie, Statham, Davidson, Lindwall, Snow were among the finest fast bowlers of his time with strike rates exhorbitant by today's standards, at 72,64,62,60,60. Valentine, Ramadhin, Gibbs struck at 93,88,88. Also when Sobers played, a batting average of 50 was unusual. Neither Cowdrey, May, Dexter, Harvey Graveney, nor O'neill attained that mark. There is consensus among those who saw both players that Sobers was the more exciting batsman, and, of course, helmets were not part of the gear. His three-in-one bowling would clinch it for me.

  • orville carter on January 16, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Quite an interesting subject.Even though we will never agree on either player. I for one have been fortunate enough to see both players in action.No disrespect to Kallis,but he does not even come close to the genius of the great sir Garry Sobers. Though stats are important it does not show the class and the strokeplay of the man.His Timing ,his aurra his utter control over you when you are watching is unparalelled.One never want to go to the washroom,or for a nibble to eat whwn the man was at the crease.Statistics will never be able to show that. A great article,but alas,mr Kaliss dont even compare. Thanks.

  • Anonymous on January 16, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is an amazing cricketer,he is pushing hard for the greatest cricketer of all time.Kallis has not really performed on the big occasions though,especially when the conditions were very bowler friendly.About Kallis being the greatest allrounder,I think that actually depends on the needs of the team the player is in.A legendary allrounder should be able to be picked as either a batsmen or a bowler in the chosen team with ease.I would think an allrounder like Imran Khan is more valuable than Kallis.

  • Tim on January 16, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    Kallis's overall test statistics are equal to those of Sobers. However, this does not mean Kallis is the equal of Sobers. I know Ian Chappell, for one, would scoff at any suggestion Kallis is as good a batsman as Sobers, even if he is as good a bowler. Sobers was a scorer of runs, Kallis an accumulator. Sobers would destroy bowling attacks, Kallis milks them. I would rate Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards as South Africa's greatest batsmen, followed by Kallis. But Pollock and Richards, as with Sobers, are in a league above Kallis, despite Kallis's batting record.

    I would rate Sobers the greatest ever all-rounder, followed by Keith Miller and Imran Khan. Perhaps Kallis would be fourth. But Kallis is not Sobers.

  • peter56 on January 16, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Sobers Had the huge extra burden of the captaincy which of course Kallis has never had. sobers burned the candle at both ends Kallis maximises his performances by looking after himself very well even allowing for this they are still statistically neck and neck with a plus 24 average batting over bowling Now lets introduce someone who can beat both with an icredible plus 32 average batting over bowling over a ten year period while operating with the additional burden of captaincy IMRAN KHAN AS CAPTAIN batting average 1982-92 52.34 bowling average 20.26

  • Dinesh on January 16, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    A phenomenal player no doubt. He falls into a tricky category - don't quite think you can put him in the Lara, Sachin, Ponting list as a pure batsman and he's definitely not in the top 3 bowlers of this era. That said, he has been more important to his team's success than any of the aforementioned people. I say we make a separate category called the "most useful player". Kallis would most definitely be the "most useful player" of this era.

  • Simon Manning on January 16, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    Nice piece, Michael and, for sure, I agree with your point that Kallis is the most underrated cricketer of all time. When it comes to comparisons with the past, though, it's important to remember that modern-day averages are often enhanced by a comparatively high number of "weaker" test opponents. Sobers only played against five opponents; none of whom would have been considered as weak as Zimbabwe and Bangladesh; opponents against whom Kallis amassed 2000 runs in only 17 tests. Let us also not forget that Sobers added captaincy to his all-round abilities, not to mention the fact that he not only bowled fast-medium, but also two varieties of spin.

  • DInesh R on January 16, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Video analysis of the series between India and SA in 01/02 would prove that what I said is true. Maybe ESPN can do this?? It would show the reason why Kallis began to score runs consistently. He was just not good enough by himself. He had to imitate a true great to attempt to attain greatness himself. Which he has not done in my opinion. No South African would admit that Kallis is a copycat even though its true. Kallis has scored runs, but against WHO??? Did he consistently play against Warne, Mcgrath, Younis, Akram, Ambrose etc. in their prime? NO! he did it against some of the weakest bowling attacks in history. Stats mean nothing, its the nature of how things are done that define greatness. Ronaldo scored more goals than Messi in La Liga last season but the nature of Messi's goals made him the better player. In the same way, Kallis can score more runs than Tendulkar & Lara but he will never be as good as them. These guys did it against the best bowlers in style. Kallis cant compare

  • sajjo on January 16, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    the best ALL-ROUND cricketer eve ris imran khan, great bowler , good batting record and world cup winning captain. he was a match winner with bat and ball. he could get in a side purely as a bowler alone, or even a batsman alone. kallis is a great batsman, but he cannot get into a team purely based on his bowling record, and hadlee and neither could sobers. hadlee cannot get in for his batting. therefore imran khan is the best all round cricketer. he does not get much credit because he is asian.

  • KUNU on January 16, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    I THINK KALLIS COMES AS CLOSE AS ONE CAN TO SOBERS OR VICE VERSA .IT IS PRETTY DIFFICULT TO JUDGE .A LOT OF VARIATION .DEFINATELY 2 OF THE GREATEST ALLROUNDER THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN .KALLIS IS BETTER THEN IMRAN KHAN , KAPIL DEV FOR SURE LEAVE ALONE FLINTOFF.

  • Awake on January 16, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    A lot of people saying Sachin is the greatest??? Allrounder? Not even close!! Kallis is the greatest, the stats don't lie!! For those who mention Flintoff and others , well this just shows how much they know about cricket, which in my opinion is very little!

    Go and manipulate all his stats as much as you like. Nobody in the history of test cricket can compare to him not even Sobers!

  • halwa singh on January 16, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Kallis is definitely the greatest cricketer of this generation. Let us accept it , Sachin has never played innings that have turned the context of the match on its head - not at least in Tests, which is real cricket. In fact, VVS, Dravid , Sehwag and Anil Kumble have been bigger match winners for India than Sachin. To understand his greatness, you just need to remember how many Indian bowlers have taken 270 plus test wickets!!! he has done that and also scored 12000 odd runs. Plus a small matter of over 150 catches. Plus his one day and T20 stats. Sachin does not even come into the picture.

  • Ricardo on January 16, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Gary Sobers was simply the Ali of cricket, here is man who could wicket keep, bowls medium fast, and China man, he could simply change his style of bowling to suit the pitch, like if the pitch was taking spin, he would bowl spin, or pitch had bounce he would bowl medium fast.Sobers made one the greatest innings ever seen down under when made over 100 against, Lillee and Thomson when he almost pass his sell by date.He one of the greatest fielders ever in any position near the bat.Of course, Kallis will go down as one of the all time greats, but Sobers was the Greatest of them all.

  • Nitin on January 16, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    @Shilpa Karania

    Some ridiculous comparison you made!! You did not take into account the number of matches Sachin played!! If Kallis and Sachin both played the same no of games, then only your logic would have been valid!!

    In your comparison, a player who played 3000 matches scored 1000 run and took 1 wicket would be better than a player who played 5 matches and scored 500 runs and took 10 wickets!!

    Would agree that you cant compare apple to mangoes though!!

  • Anonymous on January 16, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    @Shilpa Karania

    Some ridiculous comparison you made!! You did not take into account the number of matches Sachin played!! If Kallis and Sachin both played the same no of games, then only your logic would have been valid!!

    In your comparison, a player who played 3000 matches scored 1000 run and took 1 wicket would be better than a player who played 5 matches and scored 500 runs and took 10 wickets!!

    Would agree that you cant compare apple to mangoes though!!

  • barry de Klerk on January 16, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    King Kallis - what an intelligent bunch of Aussies you are. Pity a lot of my fellow South Africans think he is over the hill. IDIOTS! PS Kallis has a batting average 1.3 runs higher, scores 0.8 runs per test fewer, and scores 100 at a very slightly faster rate, both every 3.7 tests roughly. Oops, I nearly forgot the wickets and the catches - Tendulkar has 0.84 dismissals per match, Kallis 3.03

  • Stephen on January 16, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    The problem with Kallis is that he is not Enlish, Indian or Australian - its as simple as that.

    I have seen many times, players from those countries been put on pedatals for doing lesser feats.

    Kallis is King

  • raymondo on January 16, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    I find it difficult to deny Sobers the title of greatest-ever all-rounder, for his batting, bowling in 4 different styles and fielding, if not perhaps for his captaincy. His whole style of play had more attractiveness and enterprise than Kallis will ever achieve - but he is probably the most valuable single player in the modern game...

  • Mark on January 16, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    I completely agree, I think Kallis is the best CRICKETER ever, I mean his runs speak for themselves, but his wickets and catches exemplify his brilliance. I know people may think Sachin is best because of the 99 international hundreds, and others may think Bradman is best because of his 99.94 average. But these guys never bowled. Kallis is best in my opinion. But everyone has their own opinion and we have to respect that. As long as people put Kallis up with the greats like Tendulkar, Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Ponting etc, I am a happy happy person.

  • Suresh on January 16, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    Kallis is the best at present in all aspect of the game.

  • umer on January 16, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    people who think kallis has had the luxury of playing with a gr8 bwling attack,its a ridiculous argument,if thats the case then tndlkr,dravid have played with the most formidable batting lineup throughout their career,ponting never had to face the pressure playing with the greatest aus team,his averages have hit a new low after the retirements of gili,warne,gilespe,mcgrath,hayden...in that case lara is easily the gr8st batsman ever....a fair argument would be that lara is the best batsman...while kallis is the most valuable cricketer...atleast of the present generation

  • umer on January 16, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    people who think kallis has had the luxury of playing with a gr8 bwling attack,its a ridiculous argument,if thats the case then tndlkr,dravid have played with the most formidable batting lineup throughout their career,ponting never had to face the pressure playing with the greatest aus team,his averages have hit a new low after the retirements of gili,warne,gilespe,mcgrath,hayden...in that case lara is easily the gr8st batsman ever....a fair argument would be that lara is the best batsman...while kallis is the most valuable cricketer...atleast of the present generation

  • Mordey on January 16, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Kallis, is without doubt the greatest all-rounder of the modern era. But the greatest of them all?? Hardly, no one can seriously ever go past the Don.

    I also feel that Steve Waugh should certainly be ranked in the list of top tier batsman. For a couple of years or so he was regarded by many as better than both Lara and Tendulkar.

    When a team is 4 for 30, you want no other than Steve Waugh to come to the resuce.

  • Jonathan Ellis on January 16, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Sobers had a bigger bowling workload than Kallis - frequently having to bowl with the new ball and then switch to spin bowling as one of two main spin bowlers (Gibbs being the other).

    Kallis, by contrast, has never taken the new ball, is usually fourth seamer, and has seldom bowled long spells. Even though his average is slightly better than Sobers', particularly helped against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - and 2 five-fors against a much-weakened Windies - I wouldn't rate his bowling as highly.

    Sobers bowled 21599 balls in 93 tests. Kallis has bowled 18792 balls in 150 tests.

    One should also mention that in Sobers' day, there were no "chronically weak" teams such as Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. New Zealand were probably the worst - although Sobers had his lowest batting average against them, and some of his worst bowling too...

    Oddly, Sobers has his best bowling average in India, but never took a five-for against them... and only two series against Pakistan.

  • chandan on January 16, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    to jarry: no indian would giv sachin for kallis+ponting . he is god of cricket

  • world cricketer on January 16, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    3 years ago slowest batsman in the side and was boring to his batting in ODI's but changed his game since IPL 2009 or 10 good in tests because of his bowling but not in ODI's and t20 even in tests he is after Sachin.lara,ponting,dravid of this era

  • arul on January 16, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    sachin is the best

  • Ahmad on January 16, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    From a statistical point of view, Kallis is quite far ahead of Sobers. As far as batting is concerned, he has picked up his strike rate considerably in the last few years. He can now be called one of the greatest Test players ever, if not the greatest.

  • Lwazie on January 16, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    Undoubtedly Kallis is a better cricketer than Tendulkar. Cricket is an all round sport, which means Tendulkar doesn't deserve to be regarded as one of the "Greatest cricketers" as he only bats only. Yes, Tendulkar should be regarded as amaongst the "Best Batman" but that category is lead by THE DON. While Murali is the greatest bowler (My own opinion), followed by Shane Warne, Courtney Walsh, Glen McGrath, etc. But people who can be considered as great are the likes of "Sobers, Kallis, etc...

  • ARPIT on January 16, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    I WILL RATE KALLIS BELOW ALL THE GREATS YOU HAVE MENTIONED.I HAVE SEEN TEAMS ARE HAPPY TO BOWL AT KALLIS SPECIALLY IN ODI'S AND T-20 TO KILL OVERS. HE ALWAYS STRUGGLES TO WIN MATCHES FOR SA EVEN IF HE PLAYS INNINGS OF HIS LIFE.IN THE TEAM SET UP OF SA HASHIM AMLA,AB DEVILEERS,GRAEME SMITH ARE MORE DANGEROUS PLAYERS

  • Gizza on January 16, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    @jarry, Kallis didn't win those record number of matches. The likes of Donald, Pollock, Ntini, Nel Steyn and lately Philander were the main contributors to those wins. And yes anyone will pick Kallis ahead of Sachin but that's because he's an all-rounder. I would stil pick Sobers, Imran Khan, Hadlee and Keith Miller ahead of Kallis. He ties with Botham and Kapil Dev in my opinion.

  • Veritas Aequitas on January 16, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    It amazes me how Kallis continues to be underrated. His track record is simply beyond dispute. Last year (2011-01-07) S Rajesh wrote a Cricinfo piece in which he crunched the batting numbers (let’s leave bowling and fielding aside for now). Best average since 1999 – Kallis 62.44 (2nd Tendulkar 58.08). Best average excluding Zim and Bangladesh – Kallis 59.47 (with Tendulkar coming a distant 8th at 52.85 – who’s the bully, did you say?). Highest average in 2nd innings – Kallis 60.51…etc.

    Yes, he's not at his best in Aus and England, but then the others have been failing since their overall average is worse!

    If Kallis had been born in India or Aus he’d be hailed as a god. By the way, only the SA press get on is case (they have to sell something). The SA fans know that they are living in a special time.

    As a batsman, Kallis' average leads the best of his generation.

    As all-rounder, Sobers and Kallis are in a class of their own and trying to separate them is a fool’s game.

  • sandhu on January 16, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    he is the best all rounder after gary sobers.but tendukkar is the best, next lara,bradman,richards,gavaskar,steve waugh

  • Dan on January 16, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    For every argument against Kallis you can turn it around as an argument for him. For instance people are on about his average being inflated by lots of runs against lesser opposition, compared to say ponting and tendulkar. One could also argue that ponting and tendulkar were thus worse against lesser opposition, and Kallis showed more discipline and desire to cash in when he had the chance; so what if you got out alot in England in swinging conditions or against Aus's bowling attack? Ponting for instance didnt have to face warne or mcgrath.Sobers played far less cricket at a far lower intensity for far less of the year. Also, Sobers played at a time when 11 other batsmen averaged over 50, 5 with higher career averages (pollock, richards,headley, suttcliffe, barrington - only trott betters Kallis of current players with 1000+ runs); when he hit his 365 all of weekes, headley and walcott were playing - not hard to hit a hundred with those guys batting above you

  • Crazy points on January 16, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Firstly, who cares if Sobers bowled spin and seam? He still had a strike rate of 88 balls per wicket! That's terrible. Another point made by some is that batting is easier for Kallis than for Sobers given the bowlers and piches at the moment. Mute point but if that is the case bowling should have been easier for Sobers than for Kallis so why does he have a strike rate of 88? Looks like in retrospection Sobers was a batting all rounder who's roll was to hold up an end with the ball. The fact that Kallis has been able to reproduce his level of excellence across ODIs, tests (and T20s of late) for the past 16 years is simply incredible. He has averaged more than Pointing and Sachin over the past 10 years. I can't see how it's even debatable if he's the best cricketer over the past decade. Finally look how many man of the match awards he's won - clearly an indication that he is a proven match winner. He is no Sehwag or Richards but ask yourself who you'd rather have batting for your l

  • syed fariz on January 16, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    of course....,undoughtfully jacques henry kallis is d no.1 allroundr of d modern era..,,takng into consideratiom d fact that he has played most of his cricket in bowling friendly conditions.,,,ys his bowling record and concntrating at 2nd slip adds to his brittz,.in respect to dis ponting is d 2nd best.,Hats off to thm

  • dk on January 16, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Michael,

    I would of liked to be invited to the lunch! However, I will agree with your lunch party that Kallis was/is one of the better all-rounders going around. It must be said though that he is a batting all-rounder, and since bowlers win matches, I would rate him behind the great bowling all-rounders. I think carrying the attack and being a first choice bowler who then can bat is a little harder than being a first choice batsmen who can bowl well when you need them.

  • exiledtyke on January 16, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    a couple of other factors in Sobers' case as an all rounder:

    Kallis has one style of bowling. Sobers opened the bowling at times but also bowled left arm orthodox and left arm wrist spin.

    Kallis was predominantly a slip fielder, Sobers was good close to the wicket and an outstanding fielder away from the bat too.

    for sheer versatility Sobers trumps Kallis as an "all rounder" but Kallis is arguably more effective at what he does.

  • P S Krishnan on January 16, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Indeed right, there's no doubting that Kallis is the best all rounder the world's ever had, almost on par or better than sobers

  • christy kimble on January 16, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    personally i think (and i care what the tendulkar is god indian fans think) that sachin is the most overrated player to have played the game, yes he looks good woth his beautiful shots and all but i feel that ponting, tendulkar, and kallis are all in the same group and are not any better and lara stands out for the way he held the west indian batting together while still playing beautiful elegant cricket that always kept fans entertained. add 500 wickets to that and 300 catches and quite simply, jaques was the greatest player to have played cricket (behind bradman)

  • Erroll on January 16, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Excellent article, Michael.

    Being South African, forgive me a little bias, but I agree with you and your fellow prawn-eaters wholeheartedly.

    To the detractors syaing that Kallis is not a match winner, he is a work horse, he is not recognised etc: Who has won the most "Man of the Match" awards? Who has won the second most "Man of the Series" awards?

  • Kijoh on January 16, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    Michael, I often find it easiest to think as the fielding captain and ask which batsmen I would most like to dismiss early. Of those batsmen; SRT, Ponting and Lara will counter-attack and take the game away from you. Dravid & Kallis may be immovable but they will not immediately hurt you on the scoreboard. So, as a batsman Kallis has a marvelous record, but for mine he ranks fifth on that list. Dravid is the better slipper (he's got the most catches at any rate so he pips Kallis there), Ponting is the best fielder (by a country mile), and Kallis the best bowler (but at less than 2 wickets per match I find it hard to bracket him amongst the genuine all-rounders). It really comes down to how one measures importance; if I had those players in my team, Kallis would be firmly entrenched at 6. (p.s. SRT would be the opener)

  • Reaper on January 16, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    A common debate isnt it? My feelings on the subject matter are in alignment with yours. With Ponting and Dravid have suffered a poor run of form for a while now, seeing their averages drop, I would discount them from the debate as the other three were/have been prolific throughout their careers. Judging them just as batsmen, I feel that Sachin has always had an advantage having played more than half of his cricket on flat wickets (home and touring the subcontinent). He is, however, one of the finest batsmen I have ever watched. BTW, Kallis stats after the same number of tests is better. For his pure dominance, Lara is one of the best batsmen I have ever seen. I think Kallis said the same. Its a lot more difficult batting in a side where wickets fall at the other end and you are relied upon to take your team to a good total. For me this debate is beteween Kallis and Lara and I feel Kallis has the edge. The conclusions can only be drawn after Kallis's retirement. Still a good 4 years!

  • Babur on January 16, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing Micheal. Co-incidentally I have always been the opinion that Kallis is the 'most complete' batsman on his generation, which also translates into his on-field performance. Tendulkar and the likes are great in their own right, but I wouldn't put them in the same bracket as Kallis, simply because of the one fact, a player like Kallis is more valuable for any team than any one 'great' who is just a batsman, period.

  • Asif on January 16, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Die hard pakistan fan here...but i totally agree. Jaques Kallis is the best ever by a mile in my book.

  • Adrian on January 16, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Just going back to what Avinash said about Kallis being just a work horse. If Kallis is not a match winner, then i do not know. He has played 150 plus test matches and most times he was the reason we won. In terms of all rounders, no one compares to Kallis except Sobers, Flintoff and Watson do not.

  • Garry Paterson on January 16, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Sobers and Kallis are head and shoulders above other all-rounders, due to their combined runs and wickets totals. It is impossible to compare them directly, but it is worth remembering that Sobers could bowl top quality spin as well as medium-fast swing. I don't know what the breakdown of his wickets would be (spin vs pace), but this ability alone would possibly give him the edge in a very close contest.

  • Michael on January 16, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    As a Kallis fan I enjoyed your article. I agree he is underrated and as some who have disagreed with your article point out he is a workhouse as opposed to a flash harry. The difference is that he works and contributes to the team result more often than not.

    I believe that Kallis and other great cricketers have is longetivity. There have been a number of good players over the years who simply don't have the longevity that the players you mentioned in your article have.

    I do believe you have over looked a number of other great cricketers that have contributed as much as Kallis has and these are the great bowlers of our time who could also bat. In this category I would include the likes of Shane Warne who with over 3000 test runs and 700+ test wickets and 125 catches should also be considered. However I do conceed that Warne ODI career does not match his test career. (Only 1000+ runs and just short of 300 wickets). And as such Kallis would still be rated the best.

  • Stef on January 16, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    I didn't compare the following stats with any other players, but something interesting to consider:

    Kallis was Man of the Match in every 7 tests he played in to date.

    He was Man of the Series in every 5 series he played in to date.

    I believe these stats could confirm that he is indeed a match winner? It definitely confirms his dominating performances in the last 12 years.

  • Irfan on January 16, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    I Agree with the subject kallis the greatest of all, mean it all.

  • Paul W on January 16, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    You miss some other points about Sobers. His workload was not light at all. He played first class cricket in England and Australia for a number of years, as well as in his native Barbados. Tours in his time included many first class fixtures between Tests. He batted on many different types of pitches, including uncovered ones. He fielded in a variety of positions. He bowled three different styles. Former players and commentators who have watched a lot of cricket over the years rate him as the best cricketer ever. Kallis is a great player but Sobers is on that very short list of players that have defined our game.

  • grahame on January 16, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    One note that all cricket journalists seem to miss with regards to Kallis is that he is without doubt the greatest technician the world has seen (certainly in the modern era). This has allowed him to score runs even though he is going through a poor patch. This will also enable him to last longer than he should because he does not rely on hand eye cordination to the same extent that 98% of the world's batsmen do. This is the key to his success and has made him the greatest textbook cricketer of all time (no romantic heresay involved and that is why he is underated).

  • thecricketwindow.blogspot.com on January 16, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    But there is one thing that apart from tendulkar no other man could ever do. Carry the xpectation of a billion emotionally charged fans over the years who expect him to score a hundred every game. Even when he has nothing left to prove and he is 39 years old, people want that 100 from him. kallis ponting lara or even dravid never had that kind of a pressure.

  • Loganathan on January 16, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Though being an Indian, I agree fully that Kallis is without doubt the greatest of them all. Purely on batting he can stand up with Tendulkar, Ponting and the others and if you add the bowling to it there is no question that he is the best. Only the jingoist would grudge him that honor.

  • Iain on January 16, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Good article. In my opionon Kallis is the greatest test all-rounder of all time AND the greatest batsman of all time. With all due respect to Tendulkar he scored most of his runs on familiar batsman friendly wickets in India (just look at Indian domestic cricket and you will see regular scores in excess of 450) whilst Kallis scored the majority of his on the fast bowler friendly tracks in SA. Kallis is King

  • world cricketer on January 16, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    how can you say he does not have patners he had pollock,smith,rhodes,donald,kirsten,now amla i think to win a test match you need to take 20 wickets and he had that good bolwing attack in his side. i accept that he great alrounder for the game, but not ahead sachin,lara,ponting and dravid you can see his avg is more because he has more number of notouts. it has been just two years he is making runs quickly otherwise people used to get bored in watching his batting

  • Box on January 16, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Good article Mr Jeh, these were opinions of a few, obviously and rightly by the responses opinions vary. We know stats arent everything but the fact Kallis' name seems to get overlooked regularly when greats are mentioned was the spark which started this discussion. Anyway the food and chat was mouthwatering and the company was great as always.

  • Anonymous on January 16, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    I like your use of the phrase "slow burning fuse". That aptly sums up most of Kallis's career. In order to EXCEL as a slow burning fuse, one must have mental toughness. Kallis is king in this regard - even more than Rahul Dravid! However the main thing is that Kallis in this late stage of his career is scoring a large amount of runs and much more quickly too! With Ponting and Dravid likely to be out of the picture very soon and Tendulkar himself not too long thereafter, there is a strong possibility that Kallis could surpass Tendulkar as the leading Test runscorer OF ALL TIME and if he does he will NEVER BE OVERTAKEN!

  • Lloyd on January 16, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    In my books Kallis is one of the game's greats. Now my observation is purely on his all round skills. As a batsman he is up there with the best but obviously he does not have the aura of a Sachin, Lara or Ponting. As a pure batsman I would put him in the same bracket as Dravid.

    Now a humble request is to leave out that imposter Sangakkara from the list. He is nothing but a flat track bully and that inflated average goes down by 11-12 runs when he plays abroad against mainstream Test teams.

  • dhirshan on January 16, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    KALLIS IS THE GREATEST CRICKETER OF ALL TIME !!! TENDULKAR AND BRADMAN COULD ONLY BAT AND THATS IT . . .

  • Hassan on January 16, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    I think Kallis is the most valuable of them all. But talking about the list of the greats I think Inzamam ul Haq can make that list too. He averages just behind Sir Don Bradman and was simply a great match winner. So Kallis is probably the most valuable of them all but the writer missed Inzi in the list !!!

  • Tboy on January 16, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    Some people are hard on Kallis making nebulous statements about his workman batting & bowling technique to limit/define him. I think his record is impeccable. He’s spent his career in the SA top order & is a containing bowler, a defensive style polarised to Sobers free flowing one. This doesnt detract from his brilliance in my book, it enhances it. I agree with some points raised here: Kallis hasnt carried the batting burden single handed, SA have had other talented batsmen (certainly not the calibre that Ind & Aus have.) The fact that he still bowls solidly for a country with a depth of young bowlers speaks volumes about his capacity & reliability with the ball. As Pollock (another under rated all rounder!) stated during a recent test vs SL, Kallis’s record is essentially Sachin & Zaheer combined. As far as stats vs certain teams go, check Botham vs WI, Richards vs Pk/NZ or Sachin vs Pk/SA. Few players have performed against every team in every condition, even legendary players.

  • eagerBrad on January 16, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    Quality article if a bit biased (like me :p).

    Those saying Kallis is a workhorse, not a legend: You obviously haven't watched the man play. He is classier than any modern-era batsman. Period.

    Those saying that Kallis had/has a strong team unlike Lara and Tendulkar: Agreed with the Lara point, but Tendulkar batted with a high-quality batting line-up throughout his career!

    People often neglect the situation Kallis has found himself throughout his career when making comparisons - For the better part of his career he was holding a middle order together single-handedly! We have had Gary Kirsten, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, fair enough. Notice, though, that Gazza and Graeme Smith were at their peaks when there was minimal support other than Kallis, and that AB 's and Hashim's rises to being stars has correlated with Jacques playing more freely. King Kallis is quality. As a cricketer he is head-and-shoulders ahead of anyone else of his time.

  • Abhijeet on January 16, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    I don't think Kallis is "greatest cricketer of all time". Reason is that I don't think anyone is. Not even Don Bradman because he never played ODIs, obviously no fault of his. So I tried to classify it in different categogiers. I think in tests, undoubtedly Kallis is loads more useful to the team than any batsman from his generation because he is about as good batsman and a more than handy bowler. Not sure if he is "greater" than Bradman since average gap is so high it may not be bridged by bowling of Kallis. Similarly I am not sure how will he stack up against Warne or Mcgrath. In most cases, bowler who gets you 5 wickets is loads more useful than a batsman who makes a century. Now add ODIs to the mix and Tendulkar might easily pip out Kallis. So to put it in a nutshell, after plenty of discussions, some with very knowledgables some with dolts, atleast I have given up this finding the "greatest" of all.

  • jarry on January 16, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    For those who say Kalis is not a match winner.....note that he and Boucher has won more test matches than any player other than the stars of the Aussie team of 1995- 2010. Any Indian will secretly agree that they would rather have a Kallis in the team than a Sachin

  • victor darrell on January 16, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    As you said, the guys you were having the conversation with never saw Sobers play. I have seen Sobers and Kallis play and believe me, Kallis is no Sobers. In Sobers' time the wickets were nothing like they are today. They were much more difficult to bat on. Case in point, the Test match against England at Sabina Park, Jamaica where the wicket was so bad that the great Australian all-rounder, Keith Miller said no one can score on this pitch. Sobers scored a hundred!! He only played 93 Test in a twenty-year career, yet he was able to consistently put up huge numbers. And yes, he did not bat with a helmet!! Ask Dennis Lille about the 254 he scored for the Rest Of The World against Australia in 1971!! By the way, Sir Donald Bradman called that innings the greatest played in Australia...Don't get me wrong, Kallis is a great player, but compared to Sobers, he does not measure up...

  • riax on January 16, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    certainly !!

  • V on January 16, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    These days comparisons are harder than ever, with three different forms of the game. While I believe Test cricket is the highest form of the game, I can't ignore the 50 and 20 over variants in any comparisons. I agree that Kallis has been very underrated. I agree that with Sobers he is one of the two best batting-all-rounders of all time. I give Sobers the edge though, because I feel that Sobers would have dominated ODI and 20/20 games in the same way he dominated test matches. Kallis has been far from weak in these forms, but probably wouldn't make a World XI. Finally, while I believe Kallis is one of the great all time players, and on par with anyone (apart from Bradman) in an overall sense; I don't think his batting (nor Dravid's) can compare with Ponting, Tendulkar or Lara. Curious also as to who people would say is the best bowling-all-rounder? I suspect its Imran Khan, but I'm not sure.

  • rana on January 16, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    hey even being an indian top ten players i have seen in this era 1.kallis 2.lara 3.ricky 4.sachin 5.akram 6.rahul 7.warne 8.mcgrath 9.walsh 10.murali

  • ret on January 16, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Sobers leaves Kallis in the shade purely because of his superior batting. Dennis Lillee played against Sobers when the latter was at the end of his long career, and still rates him as his most formidable opponent. This from a man who bowled to Viv,Gavaskar,Boycott, Barry Richards,Miandad,and Greg Chappell etc. As stated above Kallis bats in a more tradesmanlike manner when Sobers simply demolished attacks. Not to mention minimum protective gear,no reduced boundaries or modern bats. Kallis may have a superior bowling record but can he switch to spin? In the fielding department once again it is all Sobers. Brilliant close in both in front and behind the wicket, and also a superb athletic outfielder with a deadly throw. Snide comments regarding stories "from our fathers" merely demonstrate the writer's ignorance. There is still plenty of footage. Take a look for yourself.

  • Mangudy Ramamurthy on January 16, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    Great article.However Kallas cant be compared with sobers in batting. Like most of the great cricketers Kallis runs came only in 3rd or 4th position. Look at sobers batting in 4th,5th,6th and 7th position; amazing average and centuries.Likewise in bowling he had varietiesa like off spin leg spin, googlies, chinamon and ofcourse fast medium and sheer pace some times. In my opinon Sobers was an exceptional cricketer and everything he did it style.Kallis nodoubt great a allrounder and he is second only to Sobers.

  • Ron on January 16, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    You know the "Great" ones almost immediately. Or at most after a few years. Kallis never "felt" "Great".... He still doesn't...

  • fromaus on January 16, 2012, 1:15 GMT

    Kallis isn't rated highly as a batsman for the simple reason that he doesn't deserve to be. I'm surprised that people keep writing articles saying he's "underrated" while trundling out statistics to "prove" their point that he is supposedly great.

    Truly great players like Lara and Tendulkar forged their reputations by performances in weak teams in difficult situations. Ponting contributed to Australia becoming a great team. The statistics of these three players aren't the only thing which defines them.

    If Kallis actually performs in tight situations against quality opposition, the media and commentators will give him recognition. It's not like there's a conspiracy against him. The three players above have all copped criticism so it's unreasonable for people to expect only glowing praise for a much lesser player like Kallis.

  • Irfan on January 16, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    As far as comparison between sobers and kallis is concerned, I believe we got to listen to folks who have watched them both play, and among one of them is Ian Chappell, who said that Sobers was a super bowler and the best batsmen he ever saw play. Considering the amount of cricket Ian Chappell has seen in the last 50 years, it is indeed a high compliment.

  • Abhi on January 16, 2012, 0:39 GMT

    If not the greatest all rounder of all time hes definetely the greatest South African player ever to have played.For a man who bats a long time in the top order and bowls 15-20 overs every test match and to do it for more than 15 years is a champion player.his record speaks for itself.

  • malcolm hooker on January 16, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    The thing for me as I grew up during the 60's watching the west indies touring teams,was that Sobers could really do it all, he could truly open the bowling, he could truly come on at first change, he could bowl orthodox left arm spin or chinaman unorthodox spin. If you add his gift as a backward short leg fielder together with his overall fielding abilities,together with his game changing batting abilities, my vote would to him. He was to me the true all rounder.He would get into most teams either on batting or bowling alone.

  • Engle on January 16, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    Kallis is like the Barrington of batsmanship or the Walsh of fast bowling - exceptional numbers but lacking flair and inspiration. Of all the great all-rounders like Sobers, Miller, Botham, Imran, Kapil et al, they were flamboyant and uplifting - the rock stars of the cricket world. All-rounders make things happen. Kallis goes about his business accumulating numbers. Ultimately, greatness is not about what you do on the field, it's what you do off it. Of all the great AR in the past, I know which one I would not want to see in action.

  • unbiased on January 16, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    People mistakenly define greatness with reference to statistics. Statistics don't reflect the context within which runs are scored or wickets taken.Most of the people commenting on this forum probably haven't even seen Sobers play. It is meaningless to compare statistics across generations.

    As a batsman, Kallis doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar. It's an utter insult to those three. The fact that people define Kallis' greatness in terms of his stats in itself means that he hasn't made an impression when it really matters.

    Lara and Tendulkar were lauded long before they accumulated imressive stats.

  • Roscoe on January 15, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    To be mentioned in the same league as Sobers shows how good Kallis is. Kallis is more consistent, Sobers was more spectacular when he got going. Michael, what about Wally Hammond's stats? Great batsman, average 58, great slipper, first to 100 catches, bowling average 37, not bad, was the best player of his era until the Don came along.

  • Kunal Talgeri on January 15, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is the most professional cricketer of his era. It's been a joy to see him turn up for almost every match since we, in India, saw him first during the 1996 Indian tour of South Africa. Even in ODIs then, he showed a compactness that would make many believe he was Test material -- and more than a worthy successor to Brian McMillan at slips, with the ball in hand -- and a specialist batsman. His true worth will be realised years after he retires.

  • Kent Jones on January 15, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    There is no doubt that Kallis is a fine allrounder and certainly derserves to be in the heap of top batmen and allrounders of any era. However, that is as far as it goes. He is among the best but not the best. IN batting he must give way to Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Richards, Ponting and Dravid. Simlarly in the allrounder category he comes after Sobers.

  • Adi on January 15, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Well if you look at the numbers then ya kallis is the greatest all rounder and batsman, and tendulker is the greatest batsman ... but that just NUMBER talking that can be miss leading .for its the player ablity to win matches and perform under pressure .... that why i will rate the MAN IMRAN KHAN the greatest of all ... and i will rate many other batsmen ahead of tendulker .. like Ricky and Inzamamul-Haq........cuze they usually don't buckle under pressure ... i have Kallis failing most of the time and Tendulker failing mostly under pressure ... that's why you might see tendulker making 100 in last test

  • peter56 on January 15, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    Garry sobers Never gave a damn about averages Had he been half as obsessed by them as Jacques kallis is (he loves the red ink)he would have had a difference of 50 between his batting and bowling averages Henry blofeld once said that garry could have averaged 80 with the bat if he put his mind to it.Kallis is a 3 in one cricketer Sobers was a 5 in one cricketer By that I mean he was a test match bowler in 3 different styles I have not heard a single South african great (B.Richards G Pollock come out and compare the 2. current comentators I.Chappell and G Boycott rate sobers as the greatest batsman they have ever seen let alone all rounder

  • Hendersun on January 15, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    Fellows like John Reid,Keith Miller,Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Jacques Kallis all come to mind when I think about who contenders for the title of Greatest All Rounder (GAR). To be truthful,while I acknowledge them as contenders for that great title, I unequivocally proclaim that SIR GARY has long since won that acclaim and all pertinent argument has been settled. Ask Queen Elizabeth.

  • Ismail on January 15, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    I would argue that Imran was a far better allrounder than Kallis.

    Firstly I would argue that Imran was a captain as well. Not only just a captain but a very successful captain. He got together a team that was disjointed (attitude wise) and won the WC. He also formed a core with young players that would go on to excel and (almost) dominate world cricket for the next decade. He did all this with the PCB and had to fight with them to get the players he wanted.

    Imran was also a bowler first. I would argue that being a bowler first, and then a batsman is a far more difficult job than that of a batsman first and then a bowler. He had to bowl 20+ overs and then come out to bat at number 6 as a proper batsman and save the team.

  • kenneth pirmal on January 15, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    I do agree with some of the comments .. but the fact is we as supporters has personnel view.. Kallis has done his job as a one of the greatest cricketer in the modern time his stats speaks for any doubt.The game is bless to have a player like him and and all who represent it.We cannot compare players to each other from the past or present this is not fair to all the changes in cricket.

  • Er khan on January 15, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    All the batesmen were discussed in this article,but the great Inzimam-ul Haq has been ignored.I personally think 'Inzimam' is greatest of all among the batemen discussed in the said article because he was a symbiosis of strength and subtlety.Power is no surprise,but sublime touch is remarkable for a man of his bulk.Imran Khan rates him the best batesman in the world against the pace. Inzimam has kept up a remarkable record of match winning centuries and fifties among the best of modern-day batesmen..He loathes exercise and often looks a passenger in the field but with a willow between his palms he was suddenly gavanised.He plays shorts all around the wicket, was especially strong of his legs, and unleashes ferocious pulls and lofted drives. Inzy was batting at No 5 in the most of his carrier unlike other batesmen i.e Sachin,kallis ,Lara,Ganguly,Ponting, Sangakara.etc who used to bat at the top order.Keeping in view the coparison of their batting order,Inzimam is greatest of all because he was a perfect batesman and a perrfect match winner.Simply Inzy is the best.Also don't forget Sanath Jay surya. Thanks.

  • Ziggy on January 15, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    Kallis is a great all rounder but the era he is playing is much easier than say the 1980s. How would he have fared against Marshall, Holding, Imran, Hadlee, Botham etc. Comparisons to Sobers are not realistic. Averages cannot compared from different eras. If that was the case then Jonathon Trott is a better batsman than Viv Richards!!!

  • sabeel on January 15, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    imran khan was best allrounder.only because of him pakistan matched the mighty west indies during the 80s

  • aniruddha on January 15, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    hi, when you are interpreting in allrounder category why comparing him with batsmans. In my opinion he is only 4th allrounder in game sobers, botham, kapildev, and kallis. but we must exclude botham as he took rest 2 times for years and artificially enhanced performance. only kapildev played without taking break in his whole career. and played against 11 players from opponent and against 2-3 players from his own side also. Many considers hedelly imran wakram also but they were bowling allrounders not even scored 5k runs in career.

  • rces on January 15, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Brian Lara is simply the greatest of them all in the modern era. Batting supremacy was achieved that even Tendulkar could not emulate. A natural beauty to watch, Lara's ability to change the direction of the game in a heart beat, his world records in first-class and test cricket all the while carrying the batting for a weak team. Tendulkar a close 2nd. I agree Kallis should be given more respect for his accomplishments.

  • baje on January 15, 2012, 18:29 GMT

    Interesting debate, but lets look at Sobers again forget stats. In keeping with the writers statement that "it is apparently a crime against cricket to compare any allrounder against Sobers", he will concede that the same dictum holds for the don, when it comes to batting, who acknowledged Sobers as the best all rounder and best batsman of his era.

    But I digress, back to Sobers: best bat of his era; one of the finest bowlers of his era, bowled 3 different styles; left arm medium fast; orthodox spin; and over the wrist spin producing "googolies" and "chinamens". It had been said he was most devastating when bowling fast with the new ball which he caused to swing. Brilliant fielder close in at bat and especially at a position now not in use, close in behind the batsman back; and also on the boundary. Nothing against Khalis who has been underrated in this era and is perhaps the best all rounder of this era. But,compared to each other, Sobers simply the best, regardless of era.

  • Abhijeet Vaidya on January 15, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Kallis is without any doubt the best All Rounder of all times. Only if he had some flamboyance there would be no debate on this at all. Kallis take a Bow! And like Sachin, Kallis has never entered into the controversy zone. While Sobers had the 3 Ws and Kanhai to form a formidable batting line up, Kallis is without doubt the back bone of his team for last 12 years. Sobers captained West Indies without much success and Kallis never really captained South Africa - so both are even steven on this point. However, both are super greats of all times.

  • Hendersun on January 15, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Sobers played alot of test cicket wearing skimpy body protection on underprepared and undercopvered pitches and grounds around the world. Although he scored over 200 on 2 occasions (one of them a world record highest that stood for 35 years)he scored over 150 on 12 occasions and 12 of his 26 scores over 100 were not-out's. In numerous tests, he bowled outright pace, finger spin or wrist spin in the same innings in order to adapt to varying pitch and weather conditions. As a fielder, he was brilliant anywhere on the ground,no matter what playing condition, and at legslip he took 30 catches for the famous West Indian off-spinner, Lance Gibbs.This is roughly 10% of Lance's career 309 ( then world record wickets) and 28% of his own 109 career catches. Hitting 6's was not fashionable in Sobers' day. Yet, he hit 32 in his test career. Only John Reid of New Zealand (34) had hit more 6's than Sobers when he retired. For all this plus 6 years leading a tiring team,I rank Sobers number one.

  • Shilpa Karania on January 15, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    I don't think it makes sense to compare an all rounder with a batsman but since you have started this topic then below data might go in Sachin's favor :

    1) Talent We all agree that Sachin is a better batsman and Kallis is a better bowler.

    2) Stats We all foget that Sachin has 199 wickets. If we can say that 5-wickets is euivalent to a century than 1 wicket=20 runs and lets say 1 catch = 1 wicket = 20 runs. If we go by this logic, then Sachin is slightly better than Kallis. See data below : Sachin Runs Wickets Catches Points ODI 18111 154 136 23911 Test 15432 45 112 18572 Total 33543 199 248 42483

    Kallis Runs Wickets Catches Points ODI 11481 267 123 19281 Test 12260 274 180 21340 Total 23741 541 303 40621

    But I still would not like rate any 1 better than other because its like comparing apple with mango.

  • Manoj on January 15, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Micheal..great article. But you missed the greatest cricketer of the modern era. Someone whom I think and stats prove to be only second to Bradman. And that is Adam Gilchrist. Would be most willing to present the case, if someone thought it was required.

  • CantExplain on January 15, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    Kallis is statisticaly very great, but I have my reservations about his matchwinning abilities. I can't recall many instances of Kallis changing the course of a match or dominating batsmen/bowlers. As an all-rounder his stats compare with those of Sobers for sure, but if you wanted to win who would most folks pick? Leaving Sobers alone, I think Miller/Imran/Hadlee and Botham/Kapil (circa late 70s/early 80s) were greater match winners and would get picked ahead of Kallis. Kallis would probably make one of my all-time XIs, but more as a supporting cricketer backed by the likes of other great match winners.

  • Kunal on January 15, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Yes indeed there is no doubt about the greatness of Kallis but 2 acknowledge him as the best ever is slightly over rating him . More over Kallis does not hav d technique required for the T-20 version of the game as his strike rate never goes above 120 n he is hardly bowled n his slip fielding is barely required . I would rather give the tag to a player like Viv Richards who was an absolute dominator of the game . The likes of Brian Lara makes it worse for Kallis as he was a rich belonging to a team that was poor . I am absolutely astonished by the fact that i havent seen the name Shane Warne in this category as he was d greatest spinner and probably the best captain that Australia never had .

  • Arif Mahmood on January 15, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    Kallis = Sachin + Zaheer ,enough said

  • jendelui on January 15, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    Agreed. Two very special players, greats of the game. quick check of their FC records show similar batting records but Sobers has clearly the better bowling record - almost 3 wkts per game at under 28, Kallis just over 1.5 wkts per match at over 31. Kallis a 5-for every 30 matches, Sobers every 10. In tests Sobers bowled different types as required, and though his strike rate is not as good, he has more 5 wkt hauls in significantly less matches. One could make a case for Sobers the better bowler, but his potential in Tests feels almost not as fully realised as it has been for Kallis. Not that that takes away anything from Kallis, his bowling is clearly more workman-like, Sobers' the more inspired. That said, the amount of work Kallis puts in per Test over such a long time and with so little injuries he is clearly a superman.

  • Pushkar on January 15, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    You have chosen term cleverly "most valuable cricketer". And more or less everyone will agree. Knowing Sachin,Ponting,Lara & Sir Don not being bowlers cant compete but you do compare him with them showing your intentions & bias. Fact remains he will neither be amongst top 5 batsman,nor top 5 bowlers.

    Comparison between generations is a foolish thing to do.Stats never tell the whole story.It gives us very little idea about the conditions prevaling,match situation & so the value of those runs & wickets. WI team in 50s & 60s wasnt even a shade of their successors in 70s & 80s.For most part Kallis has played in a team that has been top 3.

    You also conveniently avoided talking about multiple roles at which Sobers excelled from being a bowler (fast & spin),batting with tailenders,closing fielder,captain.His versatility till date remains unchallenged.

    Having said that,Kallis is 1 of the best allrounders which no one disputes so what's really the point of your article. Nothing.

  • knowwho on January 15, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    great article.However kallis can never be equal to sobers simply becoz sobers was the no:1 batsmen in his era. I have never heard anyone of kallis contemprories saying that he is the no:1 batsmen of this era.it is true that kallis has slight edge in bowling but definitely not in batting. Averages doesntsay the hidden facts. Can somebody say how many guys averaged above 55 when sobers was playing.And more so sobers was a dashing player than kallis whose batting is workman like. kallis is definitely top cricketer of this era but not above sobers. he is second to sobers as a batting allrounder.

  • Bhavik on January 15, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    With due respect to all the individuals who were part of this debate/discussion, I am sorry to say this but the debate is baseless. I am not a cricketer so I don't have enough knowledge as compared to all of you but I am one of the millions of those fans who understand the basic rules. I understand that a cricketer can be a batsman or a bowler. He needs to be a good fielder as everyone has to field at the same time. Then there are some who are all-rounders. So in short you can be a batsman/bowler/allrounder and all must be good fielders. I am from IT and we have to deal with many stats. We are all taught 1 basic principle that you can compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. So I think in cricket you can compare 2 batsmen, 2 bowlers and 2 allrounders. You cannot replace genuine batsman with a bowler/allrounder or vice verca. So lets face it that comparing these greats is waste of time. I would instead watch the recordings of the matches they have played and enjoy cricket.

  • Corniel Seddon on January 15, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Hi Micheal

    Thanks for a wonderful article. You may find this disturbing to hear but the man you have so eloquintly praised does not receive the credit that he is rightfully due from his fellow Saffers. Case in point the calls for him to be dropped from the Test after his pair in Durban. Your opinion and indeed that of your mates gives creedance to mine that Kallis is perhaps better loved outside of RSA where his skill and work ethic looked upon favorably in general.

    Thanks again and Regards

    Corniel Seddon

  • Sanjeev Sathe on January 15, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    He sure is. In all forms of the game !!! Undoubtedly !

  • Abhik on January 15, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    Definitely a topic that needs more light than it gets, given the amount of hype created over other great cricketers. Kallis has a legitimate claim for being the greatest cricketer in the modern era. I found the comparison with Sobers slightly clouded in Kallis' favour, but there's not doubt that their stats are too close for comparison. Stats aside, I feel the only thing that might win it for Sobers as the greatest is his calypso swagger. He was probably just a bit more stylish.

  • Sidhat on January 15, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Just not sure whether the article is about best batsman title or the best allrounder title.

  • s.m. shahrukh on January 15, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    have u given any thought to the fact that it is far more difficult when you are a bowler first. Imran,Kapil,Botham,Keith Miller,Hadlee et al had to carry their team's attacks for 30 overs or more and then come at 6 or 7 to provide match winning knocks.If kallis couldn't bowl, the South Africans wouldn't have sufferd much with Donald, Pollock, Ntini doing the job.

  • blackie on January 15, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Like you rightly said, most of us have never seen Sobers play. His stats though place him in the category of a legend. A category in which Jacques Kallis must be included. I am West Indian and fiercely proud of the 3 W's, Richards, Greenidge and Haynes, Marshall, Lara, Ambrose and Headley but biases aside, Kallis is clearly one of the two best allrounders ever.

  • Dom on January 15, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    ~Has Kallis retired? If not, wait until he does before comparing!

  • Ruwan Abeysekera on January 15, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    I do agree with Micheal wholeheartedly. Undoubtedly Jack Kallis is the greatet of all. His fine batting averages , bowling and fielding make him outstanding compared to other greats. Unfortunately he is quite under rated.

  • avinash on January 15, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    Even flintoff or for that matter Watson, are better than kallis.Because Kallis is a workhorse, not a MATCH-WINNER.

  • Mary Kallis on January 15, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    My boy is the bestest of the lot. He score runs. He bowls wickets. He catch balls. He is Sobers version 2.0!

  • farrukh on January 15, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Yes I totally i agree that Kallis is perhaps the most under-rated of them all. we hardly hear about him from commentators when they do there job in matches where South Africa isn't playing. See how consistent he is and how long he has endured the burden on bowling, bating and still no signs of dimming. He is an outstanding cricketer and perhaps the greatest!!!

  • murugesh on January 15, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    kallis=amazing cricket

  • Faiz on January 15, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    yeah,i think he is the best all-rounder of the modern era,although ur analysis was more inclined towards the all-round skills so u shud have kept the batsmens out out of it,i think kallis is unique in a sense that he is mentioned in the same bracket as lara's and tendulkars but also with the bothams and imrans

  • kh on January 15, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    While I think Kallis is a fine allrounder I disagree with the notion that he has carried the South African batting lineup. This is a misconception which has persisted because of his seemingly impressive statistical record and discredits batsmen like Gary Kirsten, Graeme Smith and A B De villiers, just to name a few, who score runs more often when South Africa needs them.

    Kallis has a poor batting record in England and an underwhelming record in Australia. His reputation has been sustained by his dominant performances against weaker attacks.

    Batsmen like Lara and Tendulkar spent the vast majority of their careers playing in weak teams with bowling attacks incapable of taking 20 wickets. Kallis has had the privilege of playing alongside some fine fast bowlers who have laid the foundations for series victories (like the recent away victories in Australia and England).

    If you play for a team which wins more often, individual failures (like Kallis') are ignored.

  • TRex on January 15, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Stay off Tendulkar and we will take anyone after that, even Kallis.

  • zeeshan on January 15, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Undoubtedly, the best all rounder in the modern era. My all time favorite is Steve Waugh. If just batting is looked up, then I slightly feel Sachin and Ponting have an edge.

  • Ali Jaddy on January 15, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    I tend to agree with your analysis. There is one more important point to consider. Even in team games you need individual contribution. I am sure Kallis will come out tops if you check the number of matches won by SA with his substantial inputs.

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  • Ali Jaddy on January 15, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    I tend to agree with your analysis. There is one more important point to consider. Even in team games you need individual contribution. I am sure Kallis will come out tops if you check the number of matches won by SA with his substantial inputs.

  • zeeshan on January 15, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Undoubtedly, the best all rounder in the modern era. My all time favorite is Steve Waugh. If just batting is looked up, then I slightly feel Sachin and Ponting have an edge.

  • TRex on January 15, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Stay off Tendulkar and we will take anyone after that, even Kallis.

  • kh on January 15, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    While I think Kallis is a fine allrounder I disagree with the notion that he has carried the South African batting lineup. This is a misconception which has persisted because of his seemingly impressive statistical record and discredits batsmen like Gary Kirsten, Graeme Smith and A B De villiers, just to name a few, who score runs more often when South Africa needs them.

    Kallis has a poor batting record in England and an underwhelming record in Australia. His reputation has been sustained by his dominant performances against weaker attacks.

    Batsmen like Lara and Tendulkar spent the vast majority of their careers playing in weak teams with bowling attacks incapable of taking 20 wickets. Kallis has had the privilege of playing alongside some fine fast bowlers who have laid the foundations for series victories (like the recent away victories in Australia and England).

    If you play for a team which wins more often, individual failures (like Kallis') are ignored.

  • Faiz on January 15, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    yeah,i think he is the best all-rounder of the modern era,although ur analysis was more inclined towards the all-round skills so u shud have kept the batsmens out out of it,i think kallis is unique in a sense that he is mentioned in the same bracket as lara's and tendulkars but also with the bothams and imrans

  • murugesh on January 15, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    kallis=amazing cricket

  • farrukh on January 15, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Yes I totally i agree that Kallis is perhaps the most under-rated of them all. we hardly hear about him from commentators when they do there job in matches where South Africa isn't playing. See how consistent he is and how long he has endured the burden on bowling, bating and still no signs of dimming. He is an outstanding cricketer and perhaps the greatest!!!

  • Mary Kallis on January 15, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    My boy is the bestest of the lot. He score runs. He bowls wickets. He catch balls. He is Sobers version 2.0!

  • avinash on January 15, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    Even flintoff or for that matter Watson, are better than kallis.Because Kallis is a workhorse, not a MATCH-WINNER.

  • Ruwan Abeysekera on January 15, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    I do agree with Micheal wholeheartedly. Undoubtedly Jack Kallis is the greatet of all. His fine batting averages , bowling and fielding make him outstanding compared to other greats. Unfortunately he is quite under rated.