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West Indies v South Africa, World Cup 2011, Delhi

'South Africa better prepared than ever' - Kallis

Firdose Moonda in Delhi

February 22, 2011

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

Jacques Kallis has said South Africa are "better prepared than we have been for any World Cup." It's no different to what any of the other members of the squad have preached in the build-up but coming from the team's premier allrounder's lips, it sounds different.

Kallis is, by far, South Africa's most experienced player in the tournament, with this World Cup being his fifth. His analysis has context: that of the being part of the 1996 team that had one bad day in the quarter-finals, the 1999 team that missed on a final spot in dramatic fashion, the 2003 team that didn't make it past the first round of the competition played on home soil and the 2007 team that crumbled to Australia - twice.

This time Kallis feels the make-up of the squad is different. "We've covered all our bases," he said. "We have the balance in the team to be able to play on any type of tracks that come in front of us, which is something we really haven't had for a while."

The one glaringly undercooked element of South African squads of the past has been the lack of an attacking spinner, something has Kallis has lived through. "The last unorthodox one [spinner] might have been Paul Adams," he said, which is why the inclusion of Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir is exciting so many people, including Kallis. "He creates some doubt in the batsmen's mind and he's fitted in fantastically into the squad." Kallis added that together with pace attack that has "produced the goods recently," South Africa can "adapt to any adapt to any conditions put in front of us."

He was mindful not to neglect mentioning, with a glint in his eye, that one of the cogs in that attack is an "old allrounder who bowls a bit." It's refreshing to see the lighter side of Kallis, a testament to the shift in the mindset of the South African squad that both their own and other journalists have noticed.

The change in attitude, according to the ageing man himself, can be attributed to the sense of belonging each squad member feels. "Each guy knows his role which is major part of feeling relaxed. You get quite nervous when you're not sure where you fit in. The team has spent a lot of time together now as a unit."

With what Kallis sees as a complete line-up he is encouraging the team to revel in the experience. "Guys can go out there and really enjoy it, which is something that as a senior player I've been wanting to get across." After the disappointment of four World Cups, Kallis knows what he's saying when he dispatches the advice to have fun. "The thing with a World Cup is once it starts it goes by in the blink of an eye, so I want to encourage them to enjoy it."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by paul on (February 24, 2011, 12:29 GMT)

mak102480 When analysing stats and individual status within the game they are representative of a players career to date and not for comparison going into and thruout ONE competition. Watson has played enough ODIs (124) for his and Kallis figures not to be diluted or distorted so overall and while Watson has a moderately better ODI bowling average and strike rate Kallis has much the superior batting stats AND an aura that Watson simply doesn't or will never have. He IS a very good cricketer while Kallis is a GREAT player....period!. My assessement of the SA side is not false... its based on statistical fact and reasoned judgment that the South Africans DO have the best players in all the key positions including spin but then I suppose Tahirs figures in the WI game don't count as you would have us believe that he wouldn't even have got a game?!!!. The proven consistent strength of SAs top to middle order negates their apparently? weaker tail.

Posted by Pallab on (February 24, 2011, 11:19 GMT)

SA will choke again, I am sure about it. They can do their preparation and can have who-ever in their side.

Posted by Abhimanyu on (February 24, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

SA is a top team and they should fancy their chances. Go out and just execute your plans. Don't be defensive about your preparations etc.

Posted by Akhter on (February 24, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

i put sakib and watson right before of kallis now in allrounder ranking. these two player is outstanding with their skills and ability to turn the match for their side. Actually most amazing and couraging play of sakib al hasan capt. of bangladesh who play up front always its either bowling, batting or fielding. watson sometimes doesnt bowl for 10 overs for accurate line, length and also seam based on pitch condition. other hand the number 1 allrounder is suitable in any pitch for his spin attack and economy rate for last 2 years that i saw.

Posted by Amar on (February 24, 2011, 0:04 GMT)

@Saffalicious: The reason I was comparing all the players to the SA side was because argylep mentioned that SA had the best all rounder, best batsman, best wk, and "potentially" best spinner.....except possibly the most in-form batsman (Amla), everything else is false. With either duplesis or botha batting at #7 and a long tail to follow, that's not a massively deep lineup.

Posted by Amar on (February 23, 2011, 21:53 GMT)

@ argylep and @ Saffalicious: I agree that Kallis is the best allrounder of the last 10-14 years. But, what I was saying is with Kallis' injury problem recently and his lack of too much bowling, Watson is ahead of him at the moment. You can't go by history for kallis and then go by current form for Amla.......history suggests that Sachin has got the most number of runs and 100's in ODI but that doesn't make Sachin the best ODI batsman right now........overall, SA has got an excellent side. But, so does India and Sri Lanka. India always get a bad rep for bowling but really Zak and Harbhajan are comparable to any attack in the world. SA has Steyn and Morkel. SL has Malinga and Murali (although Murali is not as sharp as before)........SA have Smith, Amla, ABD, Kallis, and Duminy. India have Sachin, Viru, Kohli, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Gambhir, and Yusuf...........man for man and on paper SA and India look very strong.......India has better spin options and SA has better pace.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 23, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

No I cant agrees this is the best South African sides in the business,Team of 1992 were the most exciting and the teams of 1996 and 1999 are truly WORLD CLASS level were their batting right upto 9-10 number,they have 5-6 really Class bowler and above all they are the best Fielding side in the Worl.The current side are absolutely nothing compare those sides

Posted by paul on (February 23, 2011, 14:44 GMT)

@ mak102480. Watson a better genuine all rounder than Kallis?....Statistically he's not even in the same class & never will be. AB De V has a better ODI batting average than Sangakarra while Donis is falling steadily.You'll note I said that Tahir is POTENTIALLY the most effective spinner in the competition - he has a hugely impressive domestic record so he CAN bowl a bit!! and other sides won't know what he's about? ..Overall and compared to their previous campaigns SA LOOK stronger, SOUND stronger, have got STRONG(ER) results going into the WC and Man for Man - have on paper - the STRONGEST side for all conditions, tracks, and strategies.....or perhaps we should ask Amla what HE thinks because at least you seem to agree with his status!!!

Posted by Cricket on (February 23, 2011, 12:07 GMT)

Steyn/Morkel with Ball Amla/Kallis with bat will much intensified. Develliers will have a great WC since its sub continent. Overall its true that SA are better side now.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 23, 2011, 10:36 GMT)

This SA side is an excellent side. Many captian's will dream to have a side like this to a world cup. very wel balnced experienced and balanced good back Amla Smith Kallis AB unbelivable battine line up and the bowling looks stronger than batting. No way they can loose the WC11. If they loose they are real chockers. Al though I'm sri lankan I cannot stop praising the SA side.

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