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April 15, 2008
Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, South Africa's top stars in the Indian Premier League, feel that age and their reputation as Test players will not be a barrier when they enter the field for the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Twenty20 tournament starting April 18.
"We have done it throughout our career, adjusting to Test cricket, one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket," the 32-year-old Kallis said in Bangalore three days ahead of their inaugural home game against Kolkata Knight Riders. "So the players are used to it, it is a different mindset. It is probably easier to go from Test cricket to one-day cricket than it is the other way around. We are looking forward to some exciting cricket."
Shaun Pollock, a former team-mate of Boucher and Kallis playing for the Mumbai Indians, also indicated age was not a barrier by stating the IPL had come as a boon for players close to retirement. "It does give another avenue for the older guys who can just get through the shorter version of the game to continue and extend their career," the allrounder, who recently retired from international cricket, pointed out.
"We have got a few tricks up our sleeve," Boucher, 31, said. "We have got a side that on paper has a lot of good Test players but that's a bonus. If you can play Test cricket, you can play any form of the game. It's just a matter of mindset. If you look at those players called Test players, they have also played some unbelievable innings in one day cricket for their countries. I would rather have a couple of guys who can see off the new ball and post a competitive total than have guys who can smack the ball out of the park and also get out."
The Royal Challengers had bought Kallis for US$ 900,000 and Boucher for US$450,000 during the players' auction in February. Both played the three-Test series in India that ended on Sunday and were cleared to play for the IPL after they were dropped from their domestic teams for the Standard Bank Pro20 tournament in South Africa.
"Obviously, it was a tough couple of weeks playing Test matches, and then we were told that we were going home and now we are staying," Kallis said. "Eventually, the board [Cricket South Africa] released us from our franchises back home. Probably there are six to seven guys who play for our franchise back home, the Cape Cobras. And instead of keeping all the internationals back home, they have released Mark and myself. Therefore we are now part of the IPL contract which allows us to play here."
When asked whether the ICC should find space for the IPL in the international calendar, Boucher said, "We do play a lot of cricket these days. May be the way forward is to go ahead with the IPL and cut down the number of one-dayers we play every year. But ultimately the fans will decide and Twenty20 does create the finance for the ICC."
Boucher and Kallis have had discussions on the 44-day-long tournament with Rahul Dravid, their IPL captain, and said they were excited by the opportunity.
"We spoke to Venkatesh Prasad [the coach of Royal Challengers] the other day and spoke to Rahul last night," Boucher said. "It is difficult to discuss things when we guys are competing with each other in a Test series. So we kept it formal on the field but now the chats are going on and it is exciting."
Boucher is also looking forward to meeting Virat Kohli, his team-mate and captain of India's Under-19 World Cup-winning team. "It would be nice to talk to him and may be share a few whispers about his success against South Africa in the Under-19 World Cup."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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