Hyderabad v Kolkata, IPL 2013, Hyderabad May 19, 2013

Jacques stuck in the box

Kallis might have just about pulled his weight this IPL season, but the demands of T20 and his slow strike-rate has made him look desperate with the bat

It was a flat pitch, surrounded by a quick outfield, on a hot day in Chennai, and 263 runs had already been scored in 26 overs by the time Jacques Kallis came out to bat. Kallis didn't bat badly. There was one loft back over the bowler's head for a six. You couldn't say he was struggling. When you looked at the scoreboard, though, he was only 19 off 19.

Then you saw Kallis do only what the quickest of the bowlers might have made him do, that too with the sharpest of bouncers: he played a shot while not looking at the ball, a length ball from Dwayne Bravo. Kallis premeditated a shot he has hardly ever felt the need to play, the ramp, and went down on his knee too early. The head fell away and the eyes were almost shut as he dragged this from outside off and into the lap of short fine leg. We don't need to see Kallis to be brought down to this level, but it's a format he has chosen to play on in. And obviously he felt under the pressure to do something crazy.

The thing with Kallis in T20 is, we still see the lovely shots and the poise at the wicket, we still see he looks good and untroubled, but when we check the stats we see a season strike-rate of 97, which is not appreciated in this format. If you listen to commentators, though, you'd think Kallis has been Kolkata Knight Riders' most valuable player.

Kallis has done his fair bit with the ball. He has been canny, and has used the cutter on the slower pitches superbly, but it is as a top-order batsman that he has hurt Knight Riders. He has faced close to 54 overs for just 311 runs, which can possibly work in the company of big hitters in red-hot form. Not with the way the other Knight Riders batsmen have gone this season.

Kallis is not the reason Knight Riders have failed to defend their title. In fact if you look at his bowling contribution - 16 wickets at an economy rate of 7.43 - he has pulled his weight. However, Kallis will hate to be judged against that low a standard. He is used to doing much better. Nor should he be reduced to playing ugly T20 shots. Once again, even as the commentators exclaimed about a great contest between Dale Steyn and Kallis today, it began and ended with an ugly hoick.

Kallis had scored 24 off 28 balls when Steyn came back, and under the pressure he just went after the first ball. To call it a contest would be to insult the word. Just like it is an insult to the great batsman to go through uncricketing shots, but it is a choice he has made.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on May 21, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    Kallis was hamstrung by the 2 leg spinners- Mishra & Karan Sharma. They were turning the ball - leg spin, Top spin & googlies, all well mixed & kept the batsmen guessing. Steyn bowled with fire & accurately. Even Anand & oerera bowled economically. It was difficult to hit. So blaming Kallis is not the answer at least on the SRH game. But kallis is a fine player & will come back strongly. So trying to write him off is bit futile. SRH play RR again in Delhi. Kallis & Dravid will still be threat. So SRH will need to be vigilant & bowl just as well. Delhi wkt. is not too different from the Hyderabad wkt. It depends whether the curator gives a sporting wkt. or batting wkt. So all depends upon what type of pitch is presented to SRH. Spin friendly wkt. will help both the sides. It will be a great match!

  • Jay on May 20, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    All those criticising Kallis, do you people realize that despite playing so bad(as you people call it), he was a part of the team in all matches? Just think for a moment what your criticism, if true, means.

    Do you all indirectly imply that there is no one in the squad who was a better choice than Kallis? that the management of KKR is stupid that they play a person who is NOT renowned for his quick scoring? that despite not even once playing a spectacular or breathtaking innings, the management couldn't drop him coz they had no other choice?

    By the way, can you name any other KKR player whose contributions to the team this season are equal to or greater than Kallis? The thing is that no other KKR player played match winning innings throughout the tournament. If there were a couple otehr good players, KKr would easily have qualified.

  • daniel on May 20, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Whilst you're all entitled to your opinions, please show some respect. It's Mr Kallis, thank you!

  • Krishna on May 20, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    Sometimes I just cannot stop wondering what would have happened if Garfield Sobers had played T20:) The greatest cricketer ever to have walked the planet, I am sure he would have been spectacular force in this format.An incredible batsman, one of th emost agile fielders anywhere and a guy who could bowl fast and also spin, with a chinamen to boot, he would have been the highest paid player and it would have been a pleasure to watch him. That would have effectively closed out the argumant on who was the greatest allrounder of all time. That Sobers is head and shoulders above Kallis is a given - no arguments about that. But to th eless informed, this would have been the ultimate proof that Sir Garfield Sobers is INCOMPARABLE.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    Its really unfair to point out the poor strike rate of kallis as his role is never about big hitting and his usual role is to play at 110-120 always but that didnt work this season because of teh flurry of wickets they kept loosing...but he compensated that well with the ball , i think he did extremely well with the ball this season...i mean compared to other stars playing in other teams in the IPL Kallis was way way better..he deserves to be one of the MVP in this IPL...

  • Husain on May 20, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Kallis is useless in t20. In the ODI format he argued that he needed to be the anchor, otherwise the team couldnt hold an innings together. Hes argument in test and odi cricket for not batting fast was he had to play defensively for the team and anchor innnings.

    Come the IPL, here was his chance to show what he could do and bat freely. He failed year one. Then Ray Jennings in an intervew said they gave him the role of being the one to bat through. It suited him perfectly, because everyone knew he could not be as aggressive consistenly as other players.

    His slow batting often puts pressure on other batsmen. If the other batsmen bat fast, their average will most time be low, and Kallis just accumalates runs. People dont realise that if he scores at a run a ball, the other people around him have to score nearly 10 runs an over just to get to 160, which is not really a super score.

    By the ways, Kallis has closed his eyes for numerous bouncers before this. He usually does when pulling

  • SAIFUR RAHMAN DURJOY on May 20, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Main reason for KKR's failure is Kallis.....hope he doesnt get any team next season...he is tooo boring to watch.......

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Rahul Dravid and Jaques Kallis have been pretty similar in their batting. But there is a huge difference b/w them. Rahul Dravid is ready to change his position for the sake for the team. He has batted in all the positions right from opening till no. 7 unlike Kallis. If Dravid finds his batting is choking the run rate, he will give his wicket so that the next batsman can come and hit. Kallis hardly does so and will continue to bat slowly increasing the pressure on other batsman. If SA is a choker, then Kallis is a big contributor for that.

    People say last year he won KKR the IPL trophy. IMO he played a supporting role to Bisla. Before 2007 world cup SF, Ponting had said their strategy is to bring Kallis as soon as possible to bat which would not allow SA to get their desired score.

    So Kallis can at the best be called as the supporting batsman in shorter formats and his greatness lies mainly in the test formats.

  • surya on May 20, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I think we need to be less sentimental in judging kallis' T20 batting. The Facts don't lie in this case.Kallis' SR even for a top order batsman has been mediocre.There is justification saying that his role is sheet anchor the innings which might be true.But the role of an anchor in T20's is much more than scoring run a ball.The issue here is the lack of intent shown by kallis at times to push the scoring rate or his shot selection when he tries to hit out.Kallis is an immensely talented stroke maker which people forget.But When he wants to push the rate in T20's,he resorts to cross batted swipes.Maybe he needs to extend his defensive pushes,use the crease in an effective way than he has been doing.you only have to see his counterpart Dravid to see how he manages the innings better.Dravid has lesser power than Kallis possesses in his strokes but shows more intent.He is always in tune with the team's scoring rate something which kallis doesn't do properly.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    Kallis is extraordinarlly overrated.