January 7, 2011

Kallis is the Sobers of his generation

Before you pop a vein in outrage, consider the similarity in their numbers
257

Jacques Kallis' exploits over the last three weeks - or indeed over the last 15 years - must draw comparison with the best that have ever played the game. And it is tempting to put his all-round skills alongside the man who must be seen as the best to have played cricket. But can I? Will the Sobers generation descend on me with all the fury they can command? Will I be consigned to Azkaban? Will Bishan Bedi, Ian Chappell and the like walk away if I join them for dinner?

Assessments tend to display loyalty to their generation. And a generation that has passed on tends to become better with every passing day. RD Burman struggled in the second half of his career but now you wouldn't believe he ever composed an ordinary song. Imran Khan never made a mistake as a captain, Richie Benaud never had a bad commentary day, the Beatles only produced classics, and Che Guevara was the greatest revolutionary ever. So for a generation that regarded Sobers as king, will Kallis be no more than a chieftain?

Sadly generation loyalty also means that the giants of the past will be measured in numbers today. That would seem unfair and incorrect - can CK Nayudu or Keith Miller be ever measured thus? - but it is relevant to a more analytical, numbers-driven generation. To them a Sobers or a Gavaskar must stand the test of numbers; they earn respect not just because we say so but because their achievements are there in black and white. Everything must be measured. Increasingly numbers defeat words.

And so to the great Garry Sobers and to the great Jacques Kallis. One smooth, slim and lissome, the quintessential amateur who shunned thigh pads and might have shunned a helmet, who played with a smile and brought many to spectators, who could do things people knew and didn't. The other thick-set, solid, the modern-day professional, always focused, firm jaw and gritted teeth, and can do everything in the game.

For someone who finished in 1973 and for another who only began in 1995, their records are amazingly similar. From 93 Tests (and these are numbers serious cricket lovers know by heart) Sobers had 8032 runs at 57.78, 26 centuries, 235 wickets at 34.03 and 109 catches. Kallis has played one and a half times the number of Tests (145) and, hold your breath, has virtually an identical proportion of runs (11,947 at 57.43), centuries (40), and even catches (166)! He has fewer wickets by comparison but at a marginally better average (270 at 32.01).

Sobers batted largely from No. 6, which some might say is an easier number but affords fewer opportunities, while Kallis, amazingly for an allrounder, batted from No. 3 or 4, which meant he had more time but also often had to change bowling shoes for the half-spikes rather quickly

This similarity in numbers cannot be mere coincidence. Yes, there were variables. Sobers played first-class cricket all around the world in addition to his Test workload, but Kallis has played 307 one-day internationals too. Sobers batted largely from No. 6, which some might say is an easier number but affords fewer opportunities, while Kallis, amazingly for an allrounder, batted from No. 3 or 4, which meant he had more time but also often had to change bowling shoes for the half-spikes rather quickly.

The batting position is interesting. All the great allrounders, from Keith Miller to Sobers to Imran Khan to Ian Botham and Kapil Dev batted at No. 6 or lower, even though they were often better than those who batted above them. Certainly, excellent as Basil Butcher and Seymour Nurse were, Sobers was a better batsman. I often wonder if players like Sobers batted as low as they did out of respect for those who were in the side as batsmen alone. But Kallis was always a top-order player, and if he took fewer wickets for the number of games he played it was because he was always the fourth seamer, alongside wicket-takers like Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn.

You could argue that this is a great time to be a batsman, and you would argue well, but it cannot be held against players. Kallis averages 170 against Zimbabwe and has enjoyed playing against Bangladesh too, but those aggregates do not significantly skew his numbers (only 1000 out of almost 12,000 are against those two countries). He didn't enjoy playing Sri Lanka greatly (averaging 33) but amazingly neither did Sobers against New Zealand (averaging 24). And while Kallis didn't have to play one of the best bowling sides over the last 15 years, Sobers never had to face Hall, Griffith, himself and Gibbs in Test cricket.

So maybe it is time to put blasphemy aside, let two greats sit at the same table and acknowledge Kallis to be the Sobers of his generation. Now would that please everyone?

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 10, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    If cricketers of the past are better than Kallis or Tendulkar, then I declare that old Spencer Gore, a simple man who tonked his way past 31 other tea drinking gentlemen in the first edition of Wimbledon in the 1800's was a better tennis player than some of the super sports giants out there who haven't won Wimbledon, such as Andy Roddick who recorded serves near to 250 kph... Just an example of the errors of comparing across era's :)

  • on January 10, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    yet another great work by Mr. Harsha, i was always thinking bout the two...but u did it really well.... yes theres always a generation loyalty....but sobers was "the best"...

  • Rockin_Sid on January 10, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    I agree Harsha! And I would like to state that the Australian attack of Lee-Mcgrath-Gillespie-Warne was no less(may be better) compared to some of the bowling attacks Sobers faced in his career. Yes, Kallis does have the benefit of never having had to face the likes of Steyn, Morkel, Donald et al but then, truly speaking, not many of his generation boast a batting average as good as he has! I would go a step ahead and predict him doing even better in the long run the way he's going. And he does have a few years left in him!

  • on January 10, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    Hi, Making comparisions of "old" vs "new" is like comparing Formula I cars of old and new. What we fail to understand is the fact that technology now plays a very inportant part of any sport. The greatness on the human is to rise above it all and still maintain the striking stats of averages. Wes Hall or Charlie Griffith never had the technology at their disposal. Now Daryl Steyn and Monnie Morlel have special gear and science to get the max out of their actions. Both have striking averages in terms of wickets. How many opposing teams have watched Sachin or Kallis and tried to blunt them with strategies. These were not so in the past. Yet they rose above all and present such performances. Yet we have the "Greats" like Sachin and Kallis still outshine. Let us salute these greats of the game and give them the right place rather than compare them. It is rare that we see such greats and let us enjoy them as long as they play. Thanks to you guys for keeping the game enjoyable

  • on January 10, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    One more person whom I feel should be considered in this argument is Kumar Sangakkara, as per the definition of allrounder he can walk in to the team purely as a batsman or purely as a wicket keeper. Dhoni is there. But I wouldn't play him in the eleven just as a batsman when it comes to test cricket.

  • asraruwant on January 10, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    There is no way anyone can say that sobers is better than kallis or kallis equal to sobers, those were different times, having seen the games of the 60's 70's and 80's i have come to an opinion that the times cannot be compared, i find it hard for those batsmen to have that kind of successs in this era with all the technology and neutral umpiring, and the third umpires and how much technical the game has become with all the video footages seen by the opponents to point out batsmens weaknesses and bowl to their weaknesses, U all just talk about uncovered pitches and helmets,but guys even those uncovered pitches used to be flat and placid. I really think modern day cricket is lot tougher and challenging than yesteryears with all the workload and pressure of performance, pressure from the country the media. Todays cricket is definetly better than yesteryears.

  • harshthakor on January 10, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Imran Khan,Ian Botham and keith miller could transform thecomplexion of amatch or series with both bat and ball more than Kallis.I feel the Ian Botham of 1977-82,and Imran khan and Keith Miller would have won my vote in an all-time test side ahead of Kallis.Imran Khan at his peak was the best match-winning cricketer of his generation and overall the best fast bolwing allrounder ever,who shaped the destiny of his nation more than any cricket.At his best like the 1981 Ashes and the 1980 Jubillee test Botham was almost Sober's equal and from 1977-82 had the best allround stats after Sobers.

    Kali's performaces as a batsman in acrisis are phenomenal and match that of Sobers but he could never dominate bolwing to the extent Sobers could.Kallis' batting is in the Rahul Dravid or Allan Border mould,while Sobers domination could surpass even Lara or Tendulkar. Sobers could have won his place in a team as an opening left arm bolwer.

  • harshthakor on January 10, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Statistics do not tell the entire Story But Gary Sobers was a king ,simply standing on another pedestal.T o me,Gary Sobers is the graetset of all cricketers who could win or transform the complexion of a game like noone else,as though God sent him to play Cricket.Kallis was never as talented a bower as Gary who bolwed Chinaman ,spin and pace and also opened the bolwing,being one of the most thratening new ball bowlers.Sobers alround performancesin1970 for Rest of the World in England ,in 1966 in England and in the 4th test at Kingston agaisnt England in 1968-69 when he scored 113 on abroken track and captured 8 wickets have never been equaled by Kallis.Kallis infact now is basically ,purely a graet batsman .In Sober's era the attack was dominated by Hall Griiffith,Giib setc so hehardly could dominate the bolwers role.

    After Sobers,being such a great match-wining cricketer Imran would rank after him as a cricketer.,folowed by Ian Botham.

  • Josh1942 on January 10, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    Sick to death of hearing about Kaliis playing for hids averages. he is the glue that holds the side together and for years had to subdue his natural attacking instincts because of the brittleness of the SA batting line up. Now he has Amla, De Villiers and Smith. And look at his scoring rate since then. Same as Ponting, Tendulkar etc. SA have always been a side(post re-admission) that could be all for very low scores prior to Kallis coming along. Many, many times it was only he that stood between SA and humiliation. In the ODI sides he has always had to play the anchor role. And, unlike Sobers, he has got his stats in all countries, against some of the finest bowlers in history. And please stop with this nonsense of 'lively wickets' in Sobers time.Tripe - they were all covered then as now. And have you tried to bat at the Wanderers or Durban against really fast bowlers? You will leave brown stains, believe me. And Newlands can be a seamers & spinners paradise.

  • argylep on January 9, 2011, 23:51 GMT

    Its very difficult - almost impossible to accurately and dispassionately compare players across the eras - there are simply too many variables - but what is clearly beyond doubt; Kallis - STATISTICALLY - is the greatest all rounder (cricketer) of the MODERN era while Sobers dominated his. Remember Sobers was with his variations perhaps more of a bowling all rounder whereas Kallis is the opposite. As the game has moved on so should assumptions and opinions about true greats of the game. Kallis has never properly received the plaudits he deserves but he is by common consent the most complete CRICKETER currently playing the game and when he finally retires and based on pure stats he has to go down as one of the greatest of all time.

  • on January 10, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    If cricketers of the past are better than Kallis or Tendulkar, then I declare that old Spencer Gore, a simple man who tonked his way past 31 other tea drinking gentlemen in the first edition of Wimbledon in the 1800's was a better tennis player than some of the super sports giants out there who haven't won Wimbledon, such as Andy Roddick who recorded serves near to 250 kph... Just an example of the errors of comparing across era's :)

  • on January 10, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    yet another great work by Mr. Harsha, i was always thinking bout the two...but u did it really well.... yes theres always a generation loyalty....but sobers was "the best"...

  • Rockin_Sid on January 10, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    I agree Harsha! And I would like to state that the Australian attack of Lee-Mcgrath-Gillespie-Warne was no less(may be better) compared to some of the bowling attacks Sobers faced in his career. Yes, Kallis does have the benefit of never having had to face the likes of Steyn, Morkel, Donald et al but then, truly speaking, not many of his generation boast a batting average as good as he has! I would go a step ahead and predict him doing even better in the long run the way he's going. And he does have a few years left in him!

  • on January 10, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    Hi, Making comparisions of "old" vs "new" is like comparing Formula I cars of old and new. What we fail to understand is the fact that technology now plays a very inportant part of any sport. The greatness on the human is to rise above it all and still maintain the striking stats of averages. Wes Hall or Charlie Griffith never had the technology at their disposal. Now Daryl Steyn and Monnie Morlel have special gear and science to get the max out of their actions. Both have striking averages in terms of wickets. How many opposing teams have watched Sachin or Kallis and tried to blunt them with strategies. These were not so in the past. Yet they rose above all and present such performances. Yet we have the "Greats" like Sachin and Kallis still outshine. Let us salute these greats of the game and give them the right place rather than compare them. It is rare that we see such greats and let us enjoy them as long as they play. Thanks to you guys for keeping the game enjoyable

  • on January 10, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    One more person whom I feel should be considered in this argument is Kumar Sangakkara, as per the definition of allrounder he can walk in to the team purely as a batsman or purely as a wicket keeper. Dhoni is there. But I wouldn't play him in the eleven just as a batsman when it comes to test cricket.

  • asraruwant on January 10, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    There is no way anyone can say that sobers is better than kallis or kallis equal to sobers, those were different times, having seen the games of the 60's 70's and 80's i have come to an opinion that the times cannot be compared, i find it hard for those batsmen to have that kind of successs in this era with all the technology and neutral umpiring, and the third umpires and how much technical the game has become with all the video footages seen by the opponents to point out batsmens weaknesses and bowl to their weaknesses, U all just talk about uncovered pitches and helmets,but guys even those uncovered pitches used to be flat and placid. I really think modern day cricket is lot tougher and challenging than yesteryears with all the workload and pressure of performance, pressure from the country the media. Todays cricket is definetly better than yesteryears.

  • harshthakor on January 10, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Imran Khan,Ian Botham and keith miller could transform thecomplexion of amatch or series with both bat and ball more than Kallis.I feel the Ian Botham of 1977-82,and Imran khan and Keith Miller would have won my vote in an all-time test side ahead of Kallis.Imran Khan at his peak was the best match-winning cricketer of his generation and overall the best fast bolwing allrounder ever,who shaped the destiny of his nation more than any cricket.At his best like the 1981 Ashes and the 1980 Jubillee test Botham was almost Sober's equal and from 1977-82 had the best allround stats after Sobers.

    Kali's performaces as a batsman in acrisis are phenomenal and match that of Sobers but he could never dominate bolwing to the extent Sobers could.Kallis' batting is in the Rahul Dravid or Allan Border mould,while Sobers domination could surpass even Lara or Tendulkar. Sobers could have won his place in a team as an opening left arm bolwer.

  • harshthakor on January 10, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Statistics do not tell the entire Story But Gary Sobers was a king ,simply standing on another pedestal.T o me,Gary Sobers is the graetset of all cricketers who could win or transform the complexion of a game like noone else,as though God sent him to play Cricket.Kallis was never as talented a bower as Gary who bolwed Chinaman ,spin and pace and also opened the bolwing,being one of the most thratening new ball bowlers.Sobers alround performancesin1970 for Rest of the World in England ,in 1966 in England and in the 4th test at Kingston agaisnt England in 1968-69 when he scored 113 on abroken track and captured 8 wickets have never been equaled by Kallis.Kallis infact now is basically ,purely a graet batsman .In Sober's era the attack was dominated by Hall Griiffith,Giib setc so hehardly could dominate the bolwers role.

    After Sobers,being such a great match-wining cricketer Imran would rank after him as a cricketer.,folowed by Ian Botham.

  • Josh1942 on January 10, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    Sick to death of hearing about Kaliis playing for hids averages. he is the glue that holds the side together and for years had to subdue his natural attacking instincts because of the brittleness of the SA batting line up. Now he has Amla, De Villiers and Smith. And look at his scoring rate since then. Same as Ponting, Tendulkar etc. SA have always been a side(post re-admission) that could be all for very low scores prior to Kallis coming along. Many, many times it was only he that stood between SA and humiliation. In the ODI sides he has always had to play the anchor role. And, unlike Sobers, he has got his stats in all countries, against some of the finest bowlers in history. And please stop with this nonsense of 'lively wickets' in Sobers time.Tripe - they were all covered then as now. And have you tried to bat at the Wanderers or Durban against really fast bowlers? You will leave brown stains, believe me. And Newlands can be a seamers & spinners paradise.

  • argylep on January 9, 2011, 23:51 GMT

    Its very difficult - almost impossible to accurately and dispassionately compare players across the eras - there are simply too many variables - but what is clearly beyond doubt; Kallis - STATISTICALLY - is the greatest all rounder (cricketer) of the MODERN era while Sobers dominated his. Remember Sobers was with his variations perhaps more of a bowling all rounder whereas Kallis is the opposite. As the game has moved on so should assumptions and opinions about true greats of the game. Kallis has never properly received the plaudits he deserves but he is by common consent the most complete CRICKETER currently playing the game and when he finally retires and based on pure stats he has to go down as one of the greatest of all time.

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on January 9, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    To me ,Kallis is not aesthetically pleasing to watch when he bats.But he is very effective.To bowl at 85 mph on a regular basis to go with his batting,i dont think any one in world cricket can be termed as a better alrounder than kallis.thx.

  • tjsimonsen on January 9, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    @Pirsig: SF Barnes did that and more. He bowled finger and wrist spin as well as fast medium and medium. What is more, apparently he bowled fast medium spin, and used drift (as Swann and Warne also get) at high pace instead of conventional swing allied to unpreceeded control of movement off the pitch. As a bowler, Barnes was definitly a genius (but he wasn't much of a batsman). @D.S.R. and PradeepR: it would be more appropriate to ask "who would you rather like in your team when the going gets though?". The most exciting or pleasing player to watch may not be the one who is actually the best. I'd still pick Sobers over Kallis (just), but I'd pick kallis over any other current batsman/allrounder.

  • sweetspot on January 9, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    Kallis in the age of protection and helmets and so on. Gary Sobers unleashed without any of this! That era's batsmen were incredible. Today's batsmen are sitting ducks for bowlers if they don't come with their armour! Morne Morkel will send everybody to the hospital and Steyn will brand them like cattle.

  • on January 9, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    WOW, I never realised that Kallis and Sobers had strikingly identical records in Test Cricket!! Thanks Harsha for enlightening me on this, and keep up the great work!! :D

  • Monif on January 9, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    How anyone can even think to compare Tendulkar with bradman/Viv Richards and Kallis with Sobers. They always played on lively pitch whereas today's generation whenever play on Lively pitch they crumbled and surrender. SO never make these comparisons. They were the best. While talking of our generation players, Kallis is the best allrounder, and the beset thing is that he takes responsibility on his shoulders and also try most of the time fulfilling it., Which others lack a lot. Give respect to them for what they are, don't comparison them with those greats.

  • knowledge_eater on January 9, 2011, 2:04 GMT

    Kallis makes in to my player XI, whom I have watched in my lifetime as an all-rounder. And what a timing for an article, because we all know which batsman was standing in between India's first ever series win in SA? Ans: Kallis. :( And King Kallis does behave like one as well, even on field. Pleasing article. Peace

  • on January 9, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    Brilliant article, nice to see Kallis getting some recognition.

    PradeepR: why are you throwing something so absurdly subjective into this when the article has worked so hard to be as objective as possible. And as for using Ponting/Tendulker as comparisons in an article about allrounders... bizarre.

  • on January 9, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    kallis vs sobers,Is kallis a true allrounder.No he is a batsman who also bowls.While Gary sobers could have easily made it as bowler.Hence Gary stands in a different league.Also Gary's batting was not boring,and he played aggressively unlike Kallis.

    Kallis vs Sachin.are you in right frame of mind.Kallis's strike rate 45 vs sachin's 55 in tests.In one dayers kallis 'strike rate 76 vs sachin's 86.Hell lot of difference.Can you compare a tortoise with rabbit.For his style Kallis can be compared to Dravid.Sachin is miles apart.

  • on January 9, 2011, 0:13 GMT

    The problem with Kallis is that he plays very slow (strike rate 45, while in test matches tendulkar's strike rate is nearly 55) even for test standards,and especially for a very good batsman (claimed to be the best).He lacks many shots that sachin,ricky,lara can play.He lacks flair for scoring fast and in past even SA team members were not happy with the way he used to play,and some time back he was about to be dropped from one day team. He can't make it to SA team as a bowler alone,hence here goes compariosn with Sobers.He can't be termed to be a true allrounder,hence can't be compared with sobers. So even if he manages a good average because of being not outs due to his style of play,he can't be compared with real batsmen like tendulkar.If still someone is dying to compare him to tendulkar,go and check one day statistics and strike rate of both and then see why sachin is called most complete batsman of all times.Thus chalk becomes different from chese.

  • Azfar on January 8, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    Excellent article Harsha. I was reading S. Rajesh's 'Kallis, Take a bow'. In that article he mentioned that Kallis has an average of 62 in the last 12 years...this is more than Tendulkar, Ponting, Lara etc in the same period. This is a mind boggling statistic. But come to think of it during this period whenever there was a discussion on who are greatest batsmen, the names which came up were Tendulkar, Ponting and Lara and not Kallis. Yes I agree Kallis has not got his due, but there must be a reason why he was not mentioned in the same breath. There has always been this perception that at times Kallis has played for his average rather than his team....he may have got over this in the last 2-3 years. The other yardstick of greatness is how the great bowlers of his era rate him. Well I haven't heard Warne, Murali, McGrath, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Kumble rate him alongside Tendulkar & Lara. This is something which really goes against him. Well Harsha, stats tell only a part of the story.

  • PradeepR on January 8, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    No, he is not the Sobers of his generation. I don't think I will pay and watch Kallis' exciting cricket if Sobers is playing on an adjacent ground or for that matter Imran Khan or Botham or Hadlee or Kapil Dev or Wasim Akram or I'd rather watch Waqar or Shoaib or Tait or Malinga just for their bowling or Dravid just for his defensive play against exciting fast bowling. Just say he is the best allrounder of his generation not the Sobers of his generation.

    To all those few people who are saying Kallis is better than Tendulkar or for that matter Ponting, would you watch Kallis or watch Ponting or Tendulkar if they're playing on two adjacent grounds.

  • mahjut on January 8, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    @D.S.R - I think you are judging everyone by your standards. When Kallis, Waugh, Kirsten, Dravid come (or came) out to bat - if the situation was a difficult one - I was glued. Clearly, if they were winning anyway, then it's not much to watch - but in all honesty, for me, I was not that interested in even the best looking bats when the team were racing along smoothly anyway and not in any trouble. I have only watched footage of Sobers and can easily see why he's a great. The comparison will be made as Kallis slowly gets the recognition he deserves, but it is nothing to gt in a twist over. in the end, these are two different people from different times - interesting but unimportant. Love Kallis and from what I've seen of Sobers I'm sorry I wasn't around to see him too.

  • Josh1942 on January 8, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    He came in at 3/4 and even opened the bowling on occasion with Pollock. Cannot compare a 3 with a 6. He faced Warne, McGrath,Akram,Dev etc - all great bowlers in any generation. Not elegant? Where did that come from? His on driving is extremely elegant - as his the way he quietly takes great catches at slip.That is his problem - he is not a show pony.Everything he does is done unassumingly and with great efficiency. Saved a weakish side many times. Without him SA would never have ranked above 4. His one day record is incredible.Tendulkar and Bradman best ever batsmen. Kallis best ever allround cricketer. And please do not quote the dinosaurs to me e.g. Ian Chapple - they are stuck in the past - 'the older I get the better I was' syndrome All BS.I saw Sobers many times in England, WI, and he was great cricketer. But Kallis is just better.

  • on January 8, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    Kallis's is a great batsman no doubt , but his bowling is what makes him the greatest (or among one of the greatest) .. to get 270 wickets @ 31 in this age is nothing short of miraculous .. Anderson and Zaheer Khan who are being hailed as masters of their craft have a higher avg than kallis in bowling, I am not saying that they are inferior to Kallis , they are the best of their generation but kallis's bowling has never been given due credit... history always glorifies the great because it doesnt tell us abt their weaknesses . Wait another 15 yrs and ppl will talk abt kallis in the same breath as bradman,sobers ... as the greatest cricketer ever to have graced a cricket ground ...

  • waspsting on January 8, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    First off, both Kallis and Sobers are batting allrounders - guys who could get into the team as a bat, while being useful with ball. Imran, Hadlee, Kapil and Botham are the opposite - an entirely different proposition. Comparing one group to the other is... probelmatic, almost like comparing Wasim Akram to Shane Warne.

    re: kallis vs Sobers... the reason Kallis isn't generally considered as good is the same reason Javed Miandad isn't considered as good as Viv Richards (note the use of the word "considered"). How you rate them is up to you - no right or wrong answers. But just as the majority of people will ALWAYS consider Viv better than guys like Chappell, Miandad, Border and Gavaskar, so will they rank Sobers ahead of Kallis.

    Sobers was a tremendous entertainer. Kallis has put me to sleep many times.

  • pk_cric_rox on January 8, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    10 years. yes i've waited 10 years for the world to realize how great cricketer kallis is.but sadly most of us still dont wanna give him his due respect.in my opinion it will take one n half tendulkar to make one kallis ( physically n statistically) . its time to place kallis on top of this era's cricketers, followed by lara, warne,tendulkar n list goes on.

  • on January 8, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    I have never seen Sobers play, but I think to be compared with the greatest of the game, in itself is a testament to Kallis's greatness. One more thing guys, please don compare Kallis with other batsmen who just bowl part time spinners in a Test Match.

  • on January 8, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    Kallis seems to be a second innings specialist. Kallis' average of 60.51 is the highest among all batsmen who have scored over 3000 runs in the team second innings in Tests. And, Dyogesh, Kallis has already captained South Africa successfully - read a little!

  • KnightRiderX on January 8, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    PaddyMohan is being ridiculous. One could argue that Kallis is a better cricketer than Tendulkar, although most would feel the other way around... but to say that tendulkar is hopeless is carrying things a bit too far... both are legends in my book

  • swarzi on January 8, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Thanks for not publishing my comments on this article. However, remember there are much more popular and widespread 'opinion media' around the world than this one; so I would just humbly access them and express my points of view.

  • Silloh on January 8, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    Kallis is no doubt a consistent and very effective and excellent all rounder. His records are there to support such and speak volumes for themselves. No debate in him being ranked with the greatest.. Where he is quite different from Sobers is in his style and flair. Sobers had that classy, effervescence Caribbean flavour, and swagger that can be subsequently be compared and matched only by two other great West Indians, Brian Lara and Sir Viv Richards .These guys were cricket entertainers and the public will pay dearly to see. Some may regard my comment as being bias , being a West Indian myself. But Kallis we should agree, could be quite boring at times and a number of his centuries could easily have gone un noticed .His general demenour is testimony to such. Yet, he will be a certainty on my world test side anyday . We are all different and have different styles

  • CricketChat on January 8, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    Even though they both are unquestionably the best all rounders of their generation, I think Sobers comes out ahead because of his match clinching performances with both bat, ball and fielding on numerous occasions. He is also more versatile bowler (pace, spin and chinaman) and could bowl that suited the opposition, pitch and conditions.

  • HerbertAnchovy on January 8, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    I don't think Kallis is a true all-rounder as he wouldn't make the South African side as a specialist bowler. I consider him a batsman and part time bowler. Sure he has a good average but then he has always played as part of a strong attack and only bowls a small number of overs so is always fresh. You need to look beyond the Stats. Sobers on the other hand was a genuine opening bowler and also bowled wrist and left-arm spin. His average suffers from the fact that he played a large number of tests before his bowling had matured. At his peak though he was good enough to play for his bowling alone - ask Boycott. Kallis' reputaion also suffers from the perception that he is a selfish batsman who plays for his average rather than the team

  • MattBlake on January 8, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    Harsha, you may want to check some stats before starting these articles....

    While Sobers batted at 6 more often than any other single position, he batted in the top 5 (even opened a bit) in well over half his innings.

    One might expect a player batting lower in the order to have more not outs, but Kallis is by far the better not out specialist, managing it nearly one in six innings, vs Sobers 1 in 8.

    And regarding the bowling, Sobers was most often an opening or first change bowler, and his average as an opening bowler is a touch over 30, appreciably better than his average coming on later (presumably bowling spin?). So his versatility might actually have damaged his overall average.

    Oh, and Keith Miller pretty much ALWAYS batted at 5 or higher!

  • on January 8, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Kallis is indeed a great cricketer. But comparing him with Sobers. Well Mr Bhogle you've lost it maan. Sheer blasphemy. Just think of the West Indian's sheer versatility.

  • Jafjaf on January 8, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Test matches are not long enough for Kallis to get a triple century. Seriously though, I think Kallis is more of a classic style batsman while Sobers was more extravagant. Both are easily the most successful as batters compared with the other all-rounders, but less successful in bowling. While most all-rounders tend to have bowling as their main strength, they have batting as their main strength; perhaps that's what makes them stand out. I rate Imran Kahn and Keith Miller as equal next best and then Botham and Kapil as equal thirds. Look at their stats.

  • on January 8, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Comparisons over time is a futile excercise. However, what has been abundantly clear for some time except for the blind, is that Kallis' statistics prove that he is the greatest all-rounder of his age. Today he is also ranked as the top test batsman, as he has been before. He seemingly permanently occupies the number one spot on the Test All-rounder rankings.

    Although he is ageing, his bowling ability is still evident when he cannot bowl - South Africa sorely missed him at Newlands. If team selection is any standard then he still appears to be the third best seamer in the country (excluding the injured Parnell perhaps?). South Africa is yet to find another successful third test seamer. His record of 270 plus test wickets and various fivers would support that, which maybe shows that South Africa urgently needs some bowling talent to back up the great two. Kallis' body cannot be expected to continue to carry this load.

  • Vroomfondel on January 8, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    @Andre Sookdar .... has Sachin made 400 yet? Can't be all that great then....You don't judge players by their top scores but by their averages and what they contribute to their teams.

  • on January 8, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    And to those who bring about Sobers 254 against Lillee, no one mentions that apart from that he scored 87 runs in other 8 innings of the series.

  • on January 8, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Nicely said. As long as Ian Chappell doesn't ratify him as a good player he is not going to be one, let alone a great! Cricinfo has been hijacked by some ex-cricketers who after retirement have only seen matches where they were paid (i.e. commentating). I am not to say that Kallis is the greatest all rounder, but whenever I heard of Ian talking (many times) about Kallis, he brings about his dour batting style, he also brings the same thing about boycott (in most humiliating way possible) but have never heard anything about Dravid or Gavaskar who were not much different from above two resp. even though the former two were to play, in general, in difficult playing conditions. Kallis had the potential to become a good bowler but he decided to concentrate on his batting, had he decided the other way, I am sure he would have been equally successful. But as it is no one can do both jobs equally well, i.e. averaging 80-90 runs/match and ab. 5 wickets/match, Its not human.

  • The_Ball_Bomber on January 8, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    Being one of those cricket fans who came into this world when Kallis had just debuted, I never had the fortune of watching Sir Garry play. To the best of my knowledge about Sir Garry, I agree with the fact that the stats are quite similar, but everyone has to agree that both are incomparable in their own right. I disagree with Paddy as each player at the international stage, no matter how obscure, has at least ten times more talent than any of us spectators. To my mind, Kallis has been a silent accumulator throughout his career, while Sir Garry was more maverick in his batting. While Kallis had to play ODI and T20, Sir Garry never had a wonder of a helmet to protect himself. At the end of the day, it is to be said that, differences ignored, over the years Kallis has proved himself capable of sitting on the same table as Sir Garry, so it's high time for us to allow him that... By the way, great job Harsha Sir.

  • bks123 on January 8, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    Modern day batsmen: 1. Sachin 2. Lara 3. Ponting 4. Kallis...This purely based on their impact on their own and opposition camp considering both longer and shorter version of the game. Kallis is no doubt much better than the top alrounders of 80's ( imran, botham, kapil and hadlee) as far as batting is concerned and is as good as sobers. Howerver, as harsha mentioned, he had always been the 3rd/4th seamer of SA whereas the top alrounders of 80's imran, botham, kapil and hadlee were the main strike bowlers of their respective teams. Kallis hardly won SA any test with his bowling. Moreover,unlike sobers and the 4 alrounders of 80's, kallis batting lacks fire power, which to me is the main reason why he had never been in the limelight unlike others. But then 12k runs and 270 wickets are awesome stats and no one can deny that. Considering everything ODI & Test runs, ODI & Test wickets, he is the best and will remain the best forever.

  • on January 8, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    The problem with Kallis is that he plays very slow(strike rate 45), even for test standards,and especially for a very good batsman (claimed to be the best).He lacks many shots that sachin,ricky,lara can play.He lacks flair for scoring fast and in past even SA team members were not happy with the way he used to play,and some time back he was about to be dropped from one day team. He can't make it to SA team as a bowler alone,hence here goes compariosn with Sobers.He can't be termed to be a true allrounder,hence can't be compared with sobers. So even if he manages a good average because of being not outs due to his style of play,he can't be compared with real batsmen like tendulkar.If still someone is dying to compare him to tendulkar,go and check one day statistics and strike rate of both and then see why sachin is called most complete batsman of all times.Also in test matches tendulkar's strike rate is nearly 55.Thus chalk becomes different from chese.

  • on January 8, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    The problem with Kallis is that he plays very slow(strike rate 45), even for test standards,and especially for a very good batsman (claimed to be the best).He lacks many shots that sachin,ricky,lara can play.He lacks flair for scoring fast and in past even SA team members were not happy with the way he used to play,and some time back he was about to be dropped from one day team. He can't make it to SA team as a bowler alone,hence here goes compariosn with Sobers.He can't be termed to be a true allrounder,hence can't be compared with sobers. So even if he manages a good average because of being not outs due to his style of play,he can't be compared with real batsmen like tendulkar.If still someone is dying to compare him to tendulkar,go and check one day statistics and strike rate of both and then see why sachin is called most complete batsman of all times.Also in test matches tendulkar's strike rate is nearly 55.Thus chalk becomes different from chese.

  • on January 8, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    Any triple century yet? No? Ok, talk when he's achieved it...

  • on January 8, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Tendulkar is HOPELESS, Kallis is GREATEST.

  • Percy_Fender on January 8, 2011, 1:33 GMT

    It was nice to read Matt Page on the romantic part of cricket. I think much like him. I have had the great fotune of having seen Gary Sobers in the Chepauk Test in 1967. I can never forget the aura he commanded as he stood at slips silk shirt fluttering in the afternoon sea breeze with collar turned upward much like our own Jaisimha would keep. Whether Gary batted,bowled or fielded, he was too distinctive for words. He was simply what cricket was meant to be. Grace and timing in everything. Kallis is great too in another way. The fatigues clad soldier fighting from the trenches. The man whose valour could be depended upon to save the day. It is sad wen such comparisons are made because both of them have their place in history.

  • chris54 on January 8, 2011, 1:33 GMT

    It´s a pity people always seem to forget about, or are not aware of, Mike Procter when it comes to discussing great all- rounders. He was probably the nearest thing to Keith Miller.

  • Bianco89 on January 8, 2011, 1:30 GMT

    @ Matt Page, to say Kallis is not graceful, is the most ridiculous thing i might have heard in my lifetime...i agree with Deepak Madhavan about the pitches. Kallis should plainly just be considered one of the best ever to play the game, if you only look at statistics, he is the best of all, no doubt, which has to count for something to be honest...

  • indianpunter on January 8, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    No reason to pop a vein, no need for anger. Kallis is the best. wonder why Harsha had to give it an apologetic air !

  • on January 8, 2011, 1:02 GMT

    Here's the difference between Kallis and Sobers. Kallis will bat for an entire day, 90 overs, and you would not really be able to remember a shot that he played. But I was lucky enough to have seen Sobers at his best and trust me, if he batted for an entire day you would surely remember some of those shots.

  • alatar01 on January 8, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    Shane Watson is the only player out there who seems to be in the Kallis mould - good solid batting technique and useful change up bowling. Injuries and his poor placement as an opener (seriously Australian selectors are completely clueless at the moment) mean that his career figures are on the low side in comparison. As a fourth seamer Kallis is more of a batting all-rounder; Imran Khan was the most capable guy around with bat or ball.

  • PACERONE on January 8, 2011, 0:18 GMT

    Sobers started his career as a slow bowler batting at 8 and 9.Kallis was an accomplished as a batsman.Read about Sobers opening the batting with Sir Frank against Lindwall and Miller.Read about the excitement in the crowd.He lead South Australia to winning the Australian championship.Topping the batting average. Bad wicket in Jamaica aginst England..big cracks...made a magnificent century.If he had the same bats that are been played with today it would of been murder. Check were he fielded for Gibbs without pads and helmet. Some of you who disagree..most likely woul prefer to watch Kallis plod all day than watch a master at work.If Kallis was batting next door and VVS Laxman was playing 1000miles away..my money would be spent watching Laxman.

  • Pirsig on January 8, 2011, 0:02 GMT

    @dyogesh spot on...Kallis is a grinder and not even in the same ball park as a batsmen such as Sobers. Kallis is more in the Dravid and Border mold. Great but not spectacular.

    The word genius only applies to Sobers and to no one else in the history of the game. Not bradman . Not tendulkar. Not even Viv. What Sobers had , no one will ever have. The fact that he could bowl spin and pace and chinamen at test level itself is proof of his genius. Can you name another player who can do that in the history of the game ? Finger spin and wrist spin ? Hello ? Anyone ? what about his slip catching to Hall and Griffith and short leg catching to Gibbs ? Can Kallis even dream to play the shots that Sobers has played in his lifetime ? Do you even realise what Sobers would've done to Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth and Ishant ? It is not even funny to think along those lines..?

    Sobers is the greatest cricketer ever. Period. No one is even close. Sobers averaged 57 when 40 was good!! 50+ now is par.

  • PACERONE on January 7, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    When Sobers was playing they were always comparing him with Graeme Pollock.Sobers set that to rest.Rest of the World vs Australia.Ask Lillee about Sobers.When did you ever hear or seen Sobers been battered by bowlers.No helmet no arm guard no thigh pads.This idea that Sobers battted at six.Check how many times he opened the batting and batted 3 and 4.The fast bowelers he faced on uncovered pitches..Trueman Statham,Miller lindwall.Snow,Brown,Davidson.etc. Spin bowlers S Gupte,Lock Benaud Illingworth Titmus etc.Check how many runs he made for Barbados against Gibbs. The english team told their fast bowlers to not bowl bowncers at him.This man would make any world team as a batsman.As a bowler a great first change..on a cloudy day ask Boycott.Ask kallis to go bat on these docile wickets without all the gear and see how he does.

  • ammarh on January 7, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    I you look at the stats I think kallis is even better than Sobbers. I don't know why people think Sobbers is the best ever. Imran Khan in his last ten years had a batting avereage of 50 and bowking average of 19, which is unthinkable. If you see sobers his bowling average is not too impressive and strike rate is above 90 which I think is no good. I am not against sobers by any means. he was awsome batsman and a fine bowler, that's my opinion. I just think it's not fair to say he is best ever. there are few other allrounders who have better stats than sobbers.

  • D.S.R. on January 7, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    The answer is simple...Who would one rather to watch bat or bowl? The answer would be Sobers off course...He can't be matched by any allrounder for style grace and sheer excitement!!!

  • on January 7, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Stats would agree with you Harsha. I wasn't born when Sir Garry played his last game but , I think Ian Chappels and Bishen Bedis might disagree with you because Sobers has always been regarded as a naturally gifted cricketer in that he bowled pace, wrist spin, finger spin , batted with a lot more aggression and unorthodox manner and was apparently very nimble on the field ( in field or outfield). Kallis on the other hand is more a 'textbook' all rounder with a steady medium pace, bats in the V and rarely fields anywhere but the infield. No doubting Kallis' greatness though!!

  • CaribbeanLionesse on January 7, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    As to the piece itself - a good one. Usually, I sneer at writers who aren't willing to put their nuts on the line and pick a 'greatest' but Harsha has dealt with it pretty evan-handedly.

    For myself though, in such X vs. Y debates, when endless stats won't do to seperate the two, I tend to lean on the side of the player who has accomplished an amazing feat or feats that no other player has. Both Kallis and Sobers have lots of wickets, have scored lots of runs and made lots of centuries at averages of 57 or so. But Sobers did things no-one else could do - like breaking the world record and being the first to score six sixes in an over. That extra edge, that uber-rare accomplishment, that for me puts Sobers above Kallis for me.

    For that matter, that puts Lara above Tendulkar for me too. Tendulkar has played 6 more years of cricket than Lara has in a test-packed era and THAT is what has made the difference in the number of centuries. But let Sachin score 400 - or even 375. HA!

  • on January 7, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Kallis also had to contend with an era where one had tv replays of runouts meaning that he would have been dismissed a few times more. He also plays in an era where batsman's weaknesses can be studied with the advent of superior technology than was available in Sobers time.

  • tjsimonsen on January 7, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Along the more hypothetical lines: One may wonder what Proctor could have achieved, had his career not been cut off at the highest level before it really got started.

  • tjsimonsen on January 7, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    Great article. I absolutely agree that Kallis is the greatest cricketer of the past 35 years or so. His is as good as ANY batsman in the world in his time (and as others have shown, the numbers backs this), and could at times have been picked as a bowler alone (at least in ODIs). But as a true ALLROUNDER I think that Sobers still has the edge, simply because Sobers was not "only"an exceptional batsman, very good bowler and outstanding fielder.Again, as others have pointed out: he was an outstanding fielder in all positions; he bowled finger and wrist spin, and fast medium swing depending on the situation; and he captained his country for a good chunck of his test. Add these "extras" and I think Sobers has the edge. As for whether Sobers or Bradman was the greatest ever: well you may as well ask if Mozart was a greater genius than Beethoven.

  • BillyCC on January 7, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    From a pure technical cricketing comparison side of it, it is also very close. Kallis batted in the top order but Sobers batted in the lower order. However, Sobers could bowl spin and was also captain for an extended period. Very close, maybe Sobers has the edge with the spin bowling skills.

  • CaribbeanLionesse on January 7, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    @vickstricks - when you speak of the longevity of Kallis' career vs. Sobers - what do you mean? Are you basing it just on the number of tests? Because Sobers actually played for longer than Kallis has yet played - for 20 years. Kallis' playing 145 tests is attributable to the test-packed era in which he played - one which we will probably never see again, with shorter test series and more limited overs cricket now.

  • on January 7, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    I disagree that Kallis isn't a good batsman to watch. To see him drive is to have your breath taken away. Pure class, and everything else. Hail to the king.

  • gandabhai on January 7, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    JK played two of the most brilliant innings ever played in test history in the last test match against India on a helpful bowling track & under trying circumstances . If he had batted in this manner for even 40% of his carear , i would hail him as the best cricketer ever . Unfortunately he batted most of his carear in a dull ,'Chris Tavere' like fashion .How can he be rated higher than Sobers ? I have great respect for JK and wish him well but he is not the best cricketer ever. Think of the best footballers to have graced this planet .where they dull & boring or did they have FLAIR & plenty of it , ie , Pele , Maradona etc .

  • shovwar on January 7, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    Sorry Imran fans, Sober fans and Sachin Fans.....Kallis has exceeded everyone and by the time he retires he would be the best allrounder in the world and would be Sir JH Kaliis the best cricketer ever played cricket......He would have better no. in batting and bowling combined than any cricket players.

  • Nampally on January 7, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    @Matt Page: You may not know that Sobers held the World record in Batting breaking an age old Len Hutton's 364 Not out. Sobers also was the first batsmen to hit 6 sixers in an over in the first class county matches in England. So there are lots of good stuff from Sobers, which is difficult to cover in a small article by Harsha. It is always the way you score your runs that matter rather than just looking at the stats. Like George Carlin once said: Life is not measured by nted by number of Breaths we take but momments that take your breath away". Sobers was one cricketer who was simply a joy to watch, his graceful wlk, run up to bowl and his batting style. He really took your breath away. A cricketer of this kind are once in your lifetime events.

  • Paulk on January 7, 2011, 20:51 GMT

    Great article on an often overlooked genius. I am too young to fully appreciate Sobers except from what I have read and from stats (which is always only half the equation for me). In the 80s in their prime Botham was always considered the best of the 80s allrounders and was often compared to Sobers as a dynamic mathwinner. His legacy fell away considerably at the end along with his performance. I think Kallis was atleast in the first part of his career considered a dour and soulless batsman and not as much a dynamic matchwinner as Sobers, Botham, Kapil Dev, Imran or Hadlee. Or even Shaun Pollock. But he has considerably changed that impression in recent years. Even if he is not as dynamic a matchwinner as Sobers or Botham his entire body of work is mighty impressive and puts him on par with those two. I'd say there is little to choose between Kallis, Sobers and Botham (take away Botham's declining years, a clear case for retiring at or near peak rather than spoiling one's legacy)

  • on January 7, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    Amazing and insightful comparison based on statistics

  • on January 7, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    If you look at bowlers who have around 250-300 wickets with a strike rate similar to Kallis (Srinath, Hoggard, Caddick, McDermott, Harmison, Brett Lee) you see that Kallis is in fact similar to many of the new ball bowlers of the last 30 years. He is a full extra quality player in the team. A quality batsman averages around 40. Add that to his batting average and you have Bradman numbers...

  • on January 7, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Comparing Kallis with Sachin and Lara is unfair... Sachin and Lara scored match winning knocks against Mcgrath, Murali,Steyn, Akram, and Warne. Can anyone remember any match where Kallis scored a winning knock against these great bowlers. Also most of the best fast bowlers in his era were in his team(Polly, Donald and Steyn). All we can say is he is a good all rounder. But he never had the charisma of a Sobers or Imran or Kapil, who were good players like him but above that they have led their team to World Cup Glory. Also no one can remember Kallis doing anything great in the World Cup (both 50 overs and 20 overs). At best we can compare him with GEOFFREY BOYCOTT.

  • on January 7, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    Look at the limited range of opponents Sobers had to face, ironically the only really week team he had to face, NZ, was his worst record by far. Against the other top 3 nations in Kallis's time is Australia, England and Sri Lanka and his record is far below par for a great batsman. He certainly is one of the greatest, off course he did not bowl orthodox spin AND leg spin like Sobers. Of course he went goes in up the order which is in his favour. Of course he is great, but comes up a little short of Sobers.

  • on January 7, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    A highly underrated cricketer for all he's done. Only recently when Ponting has started showing what a great player he actually is has the attention shifted to Kallis. Had this guy been an Aussie or a Pom, he'd have been declared the greatest ever a long while back!!

  • Nampally on January 7, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    Harsha, You are also forgetting the great S.African all rounders likr Barry Richards, Graem Pollock and Mike Proctor.They all were great. Is Kallis better than them? Statitics are good on paper but they never consider the opposition, pitches and the era.Kallis certainly is a great all rounders of his era but trying to compare him with Sobers is bit steep. Sobers is definitely on top of the greatest all rounders ever. Then there are a host of others like the 3 SA all rounders, Imran Khan, Botham, Kapil Dev, Miller. I would be more inclined to classify Kallis more for his batting than for his bowling. He certainly does not match Sobers in style, grace and all round abilities.Sobers played cricket as a relatively poor man while Kallis plays as a millionaire, as many cricketers of this era do. Sobers had inherent talent which raised him to such high levels that one only aspires but never achieves it.So, much as I admire Kallis matching Sobers' numbers he falls short on excellence.

  • Hurricane08 on January 7, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    I think we are comparing elegance, style and aggression (Sobers) with mettle, patience and class (Kallis). The output from both set of qualities may have been the same, but the former is more entertaining than than the latter. Kallis will be ranked amongst the greats of his generation, but the Sobers generation was more daredevilry (deadly pace faced with bare heads). The current generation is aggression after due protection. The shear entertainment factor was much higher with Sobers. So I would say Sobers is Sir Gary and Kallis is Jacques and the twain will meet only through numbers, nothing else.

  • on January 7, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    this comparison is between Kallis and Sir Sobers. Where do some guys bring Tendukar into this i will never know. The talk is about all rounders. the talk of Imran Khan yes he was good and he also had to captain also but these days most people look at the figures. That is why Sobers and Kallis are been compared.

  • Nampally on January 7, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    There will only be one Gary Sobers. Three in one bowler, fantastic acrobatic fielder & superb bat who towers head & shoulder above Kallis. Sobers was poetry in motion, always inimitably graceful. I saw Sobers in India as a child, saw him in England and was always glued to TV when ever I got a chance to see him. I have listened to Sobers on Radio in the famous Brisbane tie and the entire series.He hit the Aussie fast bowler Ian McKiff off the back foot for six over the sight screen when he bowled at him with the secoind new ball. Burge fielding at deep extra cover boundary failed to stop his fierce cover drive & put both his hands in the arm pits because of hurt.Fingleton described Sobers' innings of 168 as the greatest in the living memory and it still is. You can put stats. on paper but they never speak how the runs were scored or of the genius of Sobers.Yet he played on fiery pitches without helmet, arm, thigh or chest guards - only pads, gloveS & abdomen guard. Hail Gary Sobers!.

  • on January 7, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    I was actually going through the numbers for Kallis and Sachin yesterday. And was not amazed to see, he is there right with Sachin not behind, Average, number of 100s, 50s, total scores, very close to what Sachin has, and If you add to the fact that he is an allrounder, with VERY GOOD record as a bowler too, I am sure he is way ahead of Sachin. Keep in mind, Kallis has scored 8 centuries in the last year ( I think Sachin also has 8 or 9) and He is 2 years younger to Sachin with just 10 Centuries short of him. If sachin has to retire today and Kallis plays till Sachin's age, I am quite sure he will surpass Sachin's Total scores, Centuries and Fifties too.

    I am sure a Sachin fan, but I have liking to anyone who has a class and energy, and Kallis definitely stands among the top few. For Sachin, he carries a different type of respect which is more than just being a cricketer.

  • seek.cricinfo on January 7, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    Despite the amazing similarities in averages, I would still rate Kallis ahead of Sobers just on the basis of amount of time spend on the cricket field. Keep all the comparisons aside and just let me know how many other players had spent that time in the field or kept themselves fit enough to play that amount of cricket. if we just suppose that each one of the test both players played went for whole 5 days; Sir Sobers spent 372 days in his test career in the field, on the other hand Kallis spent 725 days. And that does not include the 307 of much more killing days of 1-day cricket. Please keep in mind batsmen tend to run harder n faster for quick singles or doubles which normally batsmen dont bother about in Tests.

  • on January 7, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    I think a lot of readers are not getting deep into stats before reaching a conclusion.Kallis is an all time great & 1 of the best few all rounders.No doubt.But as a pure batsman placing him over Sachin,Ponting etc is with out digging deep into stats.Kallis has scored 17 100s abroad. Of these only 2 or 3 are > 150.Only 3 or 4 are with STR: > 50.Compare this with Sachin,Lara & Ponting etc.Lara's huge scores with great STR: deserves a special mention.He has his weaknesses though.Sachin more aggressive a player than Kallis etc etc.Kallis was more of a defensive sort of player and was less stylish too.The point is each of these players have there own strengths & weaknesses which needs to be analysed thoroughly before reaching a conclusion.

  • arvin on January 7, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    i did not mean to bring sachin into this conversation but some others with little knowledge of cricket and dislike for sachin did and needed a reply whenever there is a talk about other cricket players people had to bring in sachin and say how others are better than sachin... that shows sachin is the ultimate with whom players of all eras will be compared with which in turn proves sachin is the all time best... no ifs or buts...

  • seek.cricinfo on January 7, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    Despite the amazing similarities in averages, I would still rate Kallis ahead of Sobers just on the basis of amount of time spend on the cricket field. Keep all the comparisons aside and just let me know how many other players had spent that time in the field or kept themselves fit enough to play that amount of cricket. if we just suppose that each one of the test both players played went for whole 5 days; Sir Sobers spent 372 days in his test career in the field, on the other hand Kallis spent 725 days. And that does not include the 307 of much more killing days of 1-day cricket. Please keep in mind batsmen tend to run harder n faster for quick singles or doubles which normally batsmen dont bother about in Tests.

  • on January 7, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    The most valuable stats for a player is the rate at which he gets Man of the Match (MOM) bcz it is given based on impact of player's runs / wickets on that game. Kallis being an all rounder is supposed to impact game more than SRT (a pure batsman) so in TESTS he has much better rate of getting MOM i.e. MOM every 6.6 matches whereas SRT has got MOM at the rate of MOM every 12.6 matches and Dravid has got MOM at the rate of MOM every 16.6 matches. On the contrary in ODIs SRT has got MOM at the rate of MOM every 7.2 matches, Kallis has got MOM at rate of MOM every 9.6 matches and Dravid has got MOM at rate of MOM every 24 matches. SRT has staggering tournament finals avg of 55 compared to Kallis pathetic avg of 24 ........... tests Kallis impacts the game more whereas in ODIs SRT is the finest ever cricketer (despite not being an all-rounder). Dravid is poor. When u combine performance in all formats of the game SRT is definately & deservedly the finest ever cricketer.

  • on January 7, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    No doubt Kallis SRT & DESilva have been the finest players of pace bowling on his day each of these can outperform eachother in terms of defence against pacy bowling. SRT has edge over the others bcz he is the other 2 bcz he is the fiest timer of pace bowling so even his defensive shots go for 4s that is why he has demolished pacy swinging Yorkers and other extremely pacy deliveries of genuine pace bowlers like: Lee, Steyn, Waqar, Shoaib, Wasim, Donald, Fleming. SRT is never beaten of extreme pace. Yes at times he is beaten by out swing and bounce and he has not dominated Ambrose and MC Grath. Whereas Kallis dominated no bowler in the game yes he manages to defend all great pace bowlers. Yes Kallis is at times beaten for pace against extreme pace.

  • Josh1942 on January 7, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Kallis is the Kallis of his generation. Sobers was the Kallis of his generation.Kallis faced two of the greatest bowlers in cricket history - something that Sobers did not have to do. He opened the bowling on many occasions with Shaun Pollock. He played most of his cricket in a weakish and very brittle side. He was their mainstay and could not afford to go out and slog away. No 6 cannot compare with a 3/4.His ODI results arealso unbelievable. Can you imagine the mental toughness needed to have to concentrate almost the entire game for over 15 years at the top with such an intensive match schedule vs the leisurely pace from the days oif Sobers? He is the greatest cricketer in the history of the game. He could make an all time XI on his batting alone. His bowling and slip fielding an added bonus. And he is still playing. Forget Ian Chappels biased views, consumed by bitterness. We are fortunate to watch 2 all time greats - Tendulkar, the best batsman and Kallis, best allrounder.

  • Puru-ynwa on January 7, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    Sobers is the greatest Cricket player in the history of the game.Bradman is the greatest Batsman but Sobers is the greatest player ever.You would buy a ticket standing in hot sun for a match with Sobers in it but would prefer watching Kallis on TV on the highlights show to exaggerate the difference....that is the difference.Yes Kallis is the best in this era when there have been few all rounders.The closest one being Adam Gilchrist...now that is one that you would go miles to watch!Yet to refer to Sobers and Kallis in the same breath seems blasphemous.

  • on January 7, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    It is so unfortunate that SRT's runs r always taken for granted and on a few occasions when he doesn't perform he is criticized and even sad thing is that some of his critics are educated people like Chemical Engineer: Harsha. ….. No doubt Kallis SRT & DESilva have been the finest players of pace bowling on his day each of these can outperform eachother in terms of defence against pacy bowling. SRT has edge over the others bcz he is the other 2 bcz he is the fiest timer of pace bowling so even his defensive shots go for 4s that is why he has demolished pacy swinging Yorkers and other extremely pacy deliveries of genuine pace bowlers like: Lee, Steyn, Waqar, Shoaib, Wasim, Donald, Fleming. SRT is never beaten of extreme pace. Yes at times he is beaten by out swing and bounce and he has not dominated Ambrose and MC Grath. Whereas Kallis dominated no bowler in the game yes he manages to defend all great pace bowlers. Yes Kallis is at times beaten for pace against extreme pace...cont

  • suresh9s on January 7, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    Harsha - Good article. The moot point is Kallis is a more batsmen all rounders; whereas Imran, Hadlee, Botham and Kapil were more Bowling All Rounders. Sobers was probably great at both given his timees.

  • sharprider on January 7, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    Regardless of any kind of statistical comparison or any kind of purported similarities, for that matter, I still believe very firmly that Gary Sobers is the finest all-rounders to have played this game of glorious uncertainties. Cricket, as along as it is watched and followed around the globe, will never be able to relegate Sir Sobers to a lower position and, at the same time, the analysts like Harsha Bhogle, with all the statistical resources at their disposal, be permitted to draw comparison under any circumstances. No matter what the numbers say, the great Sir is head and shoulders above all the famous all-rounders of yesteryears as well as present simply because of style, grit, skills, leadership qualities, adaptability and his technique, and, above all, his ability to stay in the middle no matter what. He had the unique gift of being able to bowl as a fast bowler as well as a slow bowler as required of him under a given situation. This quality is non-existent in Jacques Kallis.

  • on January 7, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    For all u SRT Critics.....U r very true.......... If SRT had not played his 146 run knock India would have been knocked out in SA................ Well they correctly say Kallis has better technique against pace than SRT………….........Kallis is better player of pace bowling bcz he piled up runs against pathetic Indian 125 kph pace bowling and hence he comes down the order in ODIs to avoid new ball and pace bowlers......... SRT who played finest SA 140+ kph bowling away from home and who comes as opener in ODIs against new ball against finest pace bowlers in the world is a poor player of pace bowling ..............Kallis has an amazing strike rate of 40 in tests and 70 in ODIs whereas SRT has poor strike rate of 54 in tests and 86 in ODIs at same avg as Kallis in both formats............cont.

  • KBhatnagar on January 7, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    The equal looking test batting and bowling stats for these Sobers and Kallis ( who have played in very diiferent periods 1960 -1973 and 2000 - 2010 ) belie their quality differences on the field.

    Having followed test cricket from 1960 onwards, I rate Kallis by far, as the world's best present batting allrounder.

    Sobers quality was something else that no stats can ever tell . His batting so stylish and his presence electrifying on the field. He would bowl fast with the new ball then change to bowling test class leg spin, he single handedly won matches with bat and ball , rapidly destroy opposition , like Kallis a superb slip fielder but in addition was a short leg and leg slip specialist and was outstandingly lithe of body and could sprint like an athelete in outfield. Crowds flocked to see him . He had the MAGIC !

    By comparision, Kallis is excellant quality top allrounder and a backbone of South African team but does not have Sober's sheer all round MAGIC !

  • on January 7, 2011, 17:27 GMT

    Your comparison is based purely on numbers. I grant that style and manner of making runs, the areas in which Sobers dominates Kallis, are a matter of subjective taste. However, there is another aspect of all-round play in which Sobers clearly dominates Kallis, and that is he could bowl both seam and slow (chinaman) with equal facility. He often opened the bowling and then changed to slow bowling later and took wickets by both styles of bowling. This ability has been unsurpassed by anyone.

  • MiddleStump on January 7, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    I don't know whether Harsha has watched Sobers. But having watched both, Sobers was certainly a more well rounded all rounder and simply the greatest complete cricketer to have played the game. As a bowler, he could bowl medium pace, then come back later n the innings bowling left arm spin. He could field close in but he was equally good in the outfield. Being compared to Sir Gary is high praise for Kallis who is certainly one of the greatest all rounders.

  • on January 7, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    To answer Harsha's question, I guess it would. I often wonder what is it with the media who are besotted with the likes of Tendulkar, Ponting, etc; while the lesser projected/advertised/written about, more effective (tongue in cheek) players like Laxman, Kallis, Sangakkara, Yousuf get swept by in the sidelines.

  • Shripathi on January 7, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    "You could argue that this is a great time to be a batsman, and you would argue well, but it cannot be held against players."

    Actually it can, as long as you are fair. If it is a great time to be a batsman, it is not so great being a bowler -- that makes Kallis's bowling be even more impressive. It also makes Sobers's bowling even more mediocre.

  • NP_NY on January 7, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    @AneesRazzak. Imran was a great allrounder and an excellent captain but he only played 88 tests and scored less than 4000 runs in test cricket. By the time Kallis is done he would have scored atleast 10000 runs more than Imran and would have taken nearly as many wickets as Imran. Kallis's consistency with both bat and ball over such a long period of time and number of games is just unmatched! I am an Indian fan and my heart says Kapil Dev is the greatest all-rounder ever, but I know that's not true. Kapil and Imran were special because of their leadership abilities. But based on sheer cricket talent and resilience alone, Kallis is the best all-rounder ever. No doubt!

  • Shripathi on January 7, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    Sobers a great batsman and a mediocre bowler. Kallis is a great batsman and a good bowler -- as good as any Indian fast bowler ever.

    No contest, Kallis is the better all-rounder, even if he is a duller cricketer. For all of Sobers's variety, his strike rate was in the 90s. On average it'd take him four more overs to get the same wicket as Kallis.

    Sobers was phenomenal, he simply is in second place when it comes to batting all-rounders

  • czar2008 on January 7, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    I beg to differ. Harsha, such a stupid article from such a great mind like yours!! How can the two even be compared?! Kallis is the Kallis of his generation, full stop. Sobers was Sobers and Tendulkar is Tendulkar, VVS is VVS and Lara is lara. Stats don't matter - people do. Every person has come out in different circumstances and done their heroic bit for their respective teams and for cricket. Comparisons are futile. Just enjoy them being themselves and stop getting others to start debating about who is superior to whom.

  • razorhedge on January 7, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    Kallis is a great allrounder but based on merely conjouring incredible stats... I would'nt pay to watch him or count on him winning the game single handedly... Never have i seen him win SA a series or a cup

  • Latchman on January 7, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    I almost forgot that while Sobers didn't face Hall, Griffith, Gibbs and himself, he faced Trueman, Statham and Lillee, Bedi, Prasanna and Venkat. Can you remember the 220 he scored in Australia for the World XI in 1971-72. Bradman said of that innings towards the end of his career that it was the greatest innings he ever witnessed.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on January 7, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @vickstricks. Longevity is a bonus but not a deciding factor. If you follow the careers of players of the past, you will find they maintained impressive records over hundreds and hundreds of first class games, not they were not test matches but they do prove that they were more than capable of longevity IF they to had the opportunity to play as much cricket as modern players do, especially in their prime yrs. @Gopal@Sunil. If Kallis was from the subcontinent or even Eng, there would be no end to the protest as to why he didn't get at least an honorable mention in the all time world XI list.

  • on January 7, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    True Class and a Living Legend above any one of his peers !!

  • khurramlone on January 7, 2011, 16:53 GMT

    Good article. I agree with Harsha that Kallis is the Sobers of HIS generation. A direct comparison between these two great players does not make sense. They played in different eras and were different types of players. However, there is no point in comparing statistics. Cricket is not all about statistics. In my opinion only someone who saw Sobers play in his prime (such as Ian Chappell) is qualified to decide who was better.

  • on January 7, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    Kallis is a great player but his current exploits are largeky as a result of India's pathetic bowling.

  • hogwarts_cricket on January 7, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Kallis is a great allrounder no doubt, however he is no where near tendulkar when it comes to batting alone. sachin is a far more attractive strokemaker. when you compare their ODI batting, sachin's strike rate is way better (86.26 vs 72.77), averages are similar(45.12 vs 45.84), no. of 100's(46 vs 17). There have been numerous time when Kalli's has got stuck during an ODI innings in turn putting pressure on the lower order live Dravid used to do. For a batsman to be considered an all time great he has to dominate the bowlers like Sachin/Viv used to do. Kallis has never done that. There is no comparison.

  • Latchman on January 7, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    I am a regular reader of your column and I am almost always in agreement with your analyses, comments and insights. However, today I think you blew it. While the numbers are very similar or comparable, you need to analyse the two individuals. Its like comparing apples and LEMONS not oranges. Sobers was three bowlers in one, a great fielder in any position not least at short-leg( has Kallis ever done that) and before One Days( Sobers played a few before he retired) and T20 cricket, Kallis was one of the most boring batsmen I ever seen and for much of his career. No, I didn't pop a vein but, I am shocked that you of all writers who always seem SOBER to speak of the two in the same breath. Sobers who is considered an allrounder is in a class by himself- the greatest CRICKETER ever.

  • mmoosa on January 7, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    Superb article-Kallis is as great as Sobers and Imran and has his own unique strength as an allrounder-batting technique.He has had to play the majority of his career on the most sporty wickets in world cricket and in mediocre batting line-ups-ask Ponting how easy that is!Whilst Sobers would be the most versatile and Immy the greatest bowling allrounder,Kallis is surely the best top order batting allrounder the game has seen.Factor in his slip catching which is a huge bonus and his value to any team is obvious.Interestingly amonst the great allrounders only Imran was a camel in the field-absoultely rubbish fieldsman but magnificent as captain and strike bowler.Sometimes we only look at batting and bowling but what value to the team is a great slip fieldsman?Sobers,Kallis and Imran in no particular order are one-off freaks of the game.Not easy to bowl fast outswing up to 150 kms and bat at 3!

  • on January 7, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    Kallis is the Kallis of his generation, Sobers was the Sobers of his generation. You can really say no more. Statistics, after all, are like a broken lamppost -- great for leaning on, useless for illumination.

  • Mannix16 on January 7, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    kallis is the better all rounder stats wise, since their batting averages are almost equal and kallis averages slightly lower in bowling... however i still think sobers is better simply because he made bigger hundreds than kallis (had a triple), plus he can bowl spin too

  • Sri999 on January 7, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    Value wise, Kallis has done more for SA than it appears in the books. Just think about the most recent match. Kallis not only scored two hundreds and saved SA from a defeat but also prevented SA from loosing the series. Kallis is not as gifted as Tendulkar or Sobers but he can produce results. Talent is only as good as the results it can produce.

  • PradeepR on January 7, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    Adding to my previous comment.....Yester-year great cricketers were way more talented than the current ones. Some of the ones raking up numbers now and being called great are robotic, prime examples being Dravid and Kallis.

  • vikram1705 on January 7, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    Comparisions apart, I think they both are the greatest cricketers of their respective eras. If we take just the bowlers, I am sure there will be a lot of better ones then them. And if we take the batsmen, there will still be many to compete along with them for the best batsman slot. But, the fact remains that there has never been a more complete cricketer than Kallis. In batting alone his numbers are as good as Tendulkar and better than lara and Ponting. Add to that his bowling exploits, nobody even comes close, Sachin inclded. There is no point in comparing Kallis with anybody, he will always win hands down. Yes, I agree Harsha that the right person to compare him with would be Sobers.

  • gudolerhum on January 7, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    Those bloggers who do not know of Sobers need to do their research. I have seen him play. Sir Garfield had all of the qualities in abundance - batsman of the highest class, top class left arm fast medium OR left arm orthodox OR wrist spin, fielder at any position but outstanding in slips or legside, & captain. When he chose to bat at 6 it was so he could shepherd the lower order & get more runs from them through his guidance at the wicket. So Kallis can take wickets when most necessary, so could Sobers; he was intuitive, at times taking the new ball in place of Hall/Griffith just to remove a particular batsman & then handing over to that pair. He may have bowled more overs than Kallis but he bowled a lot of them in his slow capacity. There has never been & never will be another like him; it is not improper to say that Khan and Kallis are as great, numbers show this to be so. Who would I rather watch? - SOBERS! Great article Harsha. Thanks. Nuff said.

  • PradeepR on January 7, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    Harsha, I wasn't even born when Sobers retired, but from a few videos I've watched of Sobers, I'd rather watch Sobers play than Kallis anyday either bowling or batting or fielding. No comparison.

  • breathsport on January 7, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    i dont think kallis made anyone a cricket fan.he is only a giant cricketing machine. probably the least gifted among the cricketers who scored more than 8000 test runs.

  • on January 7, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    Kallis is a great player, but he not more better than Sobers, Sobers could have been a technician and look for better stats but he chose to be an entertainer and still came up with great stats, compare to Kallis who is one of the most boring cricketer ever. And as a batsman he no better than the entertainer Lara and the master Sachin.

  • on January 7, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Totally agree! There's no allrounder in this era who has performed as consistently as kallis has done! Comparisons can't take us anywhere! Let's just admire these greats! And hope players like Kallis, Tendulkar, Ponting and Dravid continue to entertain us for another couple of years!

  • on January 7, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    Excellent article and the stats are so comprehensive they don't lie. I am a Sobers die hard and I have no difficulty with the comparison. Kallis has earned his respect and is right there with the best of them.

  • Engle on January 7, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    Sobers was an entertainer, Kallis is a plodder. Sobers couldn't care less about numbers, Kallis is obsessed with them. Sobers brought a new dimension to the game, Kallis couldn't Sobers was acclaimed early in his career, Kallis needed over 100 matches to be so Sobers assumed leadership roles, Kallis is being protected

  • r1m2 on January 7, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    I think I can live with HB saying "Kallis is the Sobers of his generation". It still is based on great respect for Sobers, as he is being considered to be the benchmark for batting all-round perfection.

    I would not have forgiven HB if he'd suggested or even hinted that Sobers was the Kallis of his generation.

    But going back to Kallis, I think he's not a great batsman. He's generally been a fair weather batsman. Pile on the pressure against a decent attack at their top and he's poof gone. He played against the best of England and failed, best of Australia and failed, best of Pakistan and failed. Although against the same team when they had considerably weaker attacks, he shone right through. Additionally Kallis is a very slow learner. Although great thing is he's been able to master all forms of the game, but in each form it had been a slow start to get to acceptable form.

  • Kashi0127 on January 7, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    In a day when all rounders are diminishing , pariculary in India this article is timely. We have Vittori (New Zealand), Razak (Pakistan), Swan(England), but they are all inconsistent in all round performances. Days of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Sobers, Miller are gone sadly. In India we dont seem to have even Manoj Prabhakar, Roger Binny, Abid Ali, Solkar equivalants any more. For a while we had Irfan Pathan , but he was too short lived. High time Indian board (is it doing anything for cricket?) concentrate on looking for youngsters with allround ability.

  • mautan on January 7, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    And to think that with all these figures available all the time in the last 12 years, none of the cricinfo excercises by experts of picking the 'world 11's' featured Jacques Kallis. Honestly, I have been shocked that someone who has constantly outshone Sachin, Lara and Ponting in the last 12 years( and by some margin...), was never mentioned in 'best batsman' debates. Wonder what he must be feeling, especially when you consider that he has almost 250 wickets in tests...not to mention his super human efforts in ODI's. That is what is wrong is todays world of cricket. Inspite of being an Indian, I have felt that Sachin does tend to overshadow others a bit too much. Even if they are better than him at times or for 12 years!...I hope Kallis gets his due now. Numbers don't lie.

  • on January 7, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Great article and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of the author. Kallis is THE all-rounder of all time. Not necessarily the greatest cricketer (here we add personality and leadership), but the stats show he's the greatest all-rounder, with no one coming close to second. One way of using the stats it to compare his and others' batting, bowling and catching stats against the best in each field of peformance. If you do this Kalli is head and shoulders ahead by simply adding the rankings up in terms of numbers of runs scored or wiclets taken and catched caught. The same is true of averages. His longevity (totals) and consistency (averages) assure him of holding this place for years to come, and at the same time eclipsing all-comers from the past. I am intereted in someon more qulaified than me in offering us a statistically foolproof way of confinrming my first-order conclusions once and for all. This should be a Crickinfo conclusion, not just mine!

  • Jjerg on January 7, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    I have to write that in my 40 years of life Kallis has been the best test cricketer. His ability to dominate at any point of the game in any aspect is beautiful. There may be better batsmen or bowlers but Kallis is elite in both. I also agree with AneesRazak above. Infant Khan is the proper comparison with Kallis.

    Jj

  • on January 7, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    Kallis is the Sobers of this generation. That is obvious. But Kallis is no Sobers. King Gary was a multi-faceted genius. Kallis is a workman who has toiled hard to achieve the terrific figures he has. Apart from his multifarious bowling skills, Sobers hit up the highest score in Test cricket and was the first to smash six sixes in an over in first-class cricket. He simultaneously held the record for the top aggregate in Test cricket and was second only to The Don in terms of hundreds, and he batted at no.6 only later in his career. Kallis is a great but Sobers was the God of allrounders.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    Overall to me Gary Sobers is like a prophet to the game of Cricket and no allrounder has ever equalled him.Kallis is statistically better but has never equalled Sobers herculean allround efforts to win test matches and series with both bat and ball.No allrounder has equalled Sobers exploits for Rest of the World Team in 1970 in England or in the 1966 series in England.Gary could dominate great bowling with far greater authority than Kallis .,dominating greats like Lillee and Snow.He was alos one of the games most versatile bowlers,bowling china man ,spin and pace.The cricketer who comes closest to Sobers is Imran Khan who was the greatest match-winning cricketer after Sobers,and the best fastbowling allrounder ever.At his peak Ian Botham was the best match-winning allrounder after Sobers .Kallis ,a genius in acrisis ,with his relatively low batting strike rate could rarely win matches.

  • gujratwalla on January 7, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    As one who has seen both Sobers and Kallis it is laughable to compare them!Kallis is by virtue a cautious and calculating batsman with unlimited conentration whilst Sobers was all raw power and force.I haven't seen anyone tear apart a genuine pace bowler of John Snow's calibre as Sobers did time and time again.And remember Gary batted without a helmet!That bouncer frm Sreesanth which accounted for Kallis in the recent Test would have been smashed to oblivon by Sobers!That aside,in statistics Kallis is just as successful as any Test all-rounder but the thing that realy define him is his momentous patience,courage and refusal to accept defeat,virtues of the very great cricketers.We take our hats off for him!

  • VivianR on January 7, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    I think Kallis is the greatest. He plays at a time when much more top level cricket is played than Gary Sobers ever played. In spite of his injuries, Kallis keeps bouncing back and performs so consistently in all departments of the game - batting, bowling and feilding. No other all rounders can compare.

  • cmloga on January 7, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    About time someone wrote this article for Kallis has been the least appreciated player even though he is right up with the all time greats. He certainly is the Sobers of this era and I don't think it is a strech to call him the greatest batsman / crickter of this era over Sachin, Lara and Ponting. He comapres with all these great players like for like on his batting alone and on top of that add his bowling it is not unjustified to call him the all time great of this era.

  • Jafjaf on January 7, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    Why have other posters turned it into a comparison with Tendulkar? Because we Indians love our game more than other nation, and we have the best batter ever and the best alrounder ever.

  • S.K.Chowdhury on January 7, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Yes we are indeed pleased........What a match that was!! Don vs. Sobers!!!

  • on January 7, 2011, 14:19 GMT

    Good comparison on numbers but you forgot to mention that Gary wasn't just a seam bowler but two sorts of spinners too, wrist and finger, to an excellent standard. You don't see Jaques doing a Warney or a Murali do you. He is certainly the nearest thing to Sir Gary of his generation but there will never be another Sir Gary, the complete, do everything to world class, all rounder.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Replying to Anees Razak-Imran khan is the greatest cricketer of the modern era but could never perform outstandingly silmuntaneously with ball and bat ,becoming a great batsman late in his career.Infact in his peak in 1977-82 ,Ian Botham was the more genuine allrounder championing the causes equally with bat and ball ,much like Sobers.Sobers,to me sits on another pedestal as he has changed the complexion of matches and series with both bat and ball like no cricketer ever.Kallis is staistiaclly better than Sobers but has hardly. done outstandingly with both ball and bat in a test match or a single series.Kallis has never been as versatile a blwler as Sobers,nor could dominate great pace bowling with the same ferocity as Sobers .Where Kallis compares is his ability to face the storm in any conditions.Sobers was far greater match-winner than Kallis.I would rtae Sobers,Botham,Imran,Miller and Kallis,in that order.

  • BellCurve on January 7, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    @ ultrasnow - Excellent point! Kallis' strike rate is 67 whereas Sobers' is 91. That means it would take Kallis 2.4 days to take 20 wickets, and 3.4 days for Sobers to take 20 wickets. That's the difference between winning and drawing.

  • cricfanraj on January 7, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    I really don't understand why Kallis is compare to Sachin. Kallis is an allrounder and Sachin is a Batsmen. And debate over who is best common guys Kallis is really a very good batsmen but Tendulkar and Lara are different class

  • cricfanraj on January 7, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    I agree with harsha on comparing Kallis with Sobers on numbers . What Kallis lacks is charm . He is a gritty customer but Sobers was Freak . He could do anything and everything . 6 sixes, Highest score (360*), destroying dennis lille Oh god he was just awasome. Sobers is considered as the best cricketer ever played even over Don bradmen . But comparisonwise Kallis can match the stats and calling this generation Sobers is a fair comparison.

  • vmp78 on January 7, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    Hold on!! Why is the criteria of winning matches not applied to kallis just like it is applied to Tendulkar. Also Kalli's record in Australia (during warne/Macgrath days) and his record in England (avg 38) and Srilanka (avg 33) are not igood. Kallis has never won SA a WC infact chocked, known to be a selfish player by playing too slowly, how many matchwinning second innings centuries has he scored against good opposition. Avg 65 against the Indian attack is no big deal. Kallis is a flat track bully and will feast on weak attacks. He never stood up to warne and Macgrath like lara and sachin. Instead of blindly stating he is better or best apply the same yardstick that some people apply to lara and sachin and see where he stands. He does not add up. As an allrounder he does and the lack of allrounders in the game today does make him seem like a collouses.

  • krazzyking on January 7, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    i thought comparing two generations is passe...evidently not...ask kallis himself and he would ask us not to venture into such useless comparisons. Kallis is the Kallis of his age, thats it. end of story.

    Now lets compare cricketers of this generation. No doubt Sachin is the best batsman of his age. but sorry folks, if u take into account bowling into account... kallis is a tad bit more ahead of sachin here... this comming form a die hard India fan

  • hamwil80 on January 7, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Just a point to reflect on: Sobers has a poor bowling strike rate of 96, Kallis of around 65. That means Jaque takes five overs less to take a wicket than Sobers. Bowlers should be judged more on strike rates than average or runs per over. If batting was harder when Sobers was around (no helmets, uncovered wickets) then surely bowling logically would have been easier, right? This points to Jaque as a more complete cricketer. In terms of lesser opposition, Sobers would have faced Pakistan and Indian sides at that time, which were probably of around the same ability as present Bangladesh; and Kallis has only played 6 tests against Band, out of 145.

  • on January 7, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    For the more romantic among us, style comes into the equation. I'm too young to have watched Sobers playing, but from what I've read and the footage I've seen he was very graceful to watch. Kallis isn't...although his hundred at Newlands had its own sense of romance: the committed battler, standing alone and fighting through the pain to glory.

    Who would I rather watch? Sobers.

    Who's better? Not sure.

  • swarzi on January 7, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    I think that S Rajesh via an excellent article has now revealed to the world where Tendulkar stands when it comes to 'quality batsmanship in test cricket'. He is somewhere at No. 8 in the middle order, or No. 7 when Sehwag is not counted, being an opener. S Rajesh has removed the 'single player focal jaundice' from our eyes when it comes to batting in test cricket; so Tendulkar's padded record which looks impressive with his exploits against low rated Bangladesh and Zimbabwe puts his true ability as it relates to his peers into proper perspective. I personally know that Kallis is the best No.4 who has ever played the game. Mr Boogle should not try to confuse the issue either - there can only be 'one' Gary Sobers - HIS VERSATILITY cannot be matched by anyone who played the game. Hats off to Jaques Kallis, the best batsman in the world currently. Have you ever seen a more complete player in this modern generation - against pace, spin, first innings, second innings - every thing?

  • on January 7, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    Nice article, Harsha. But why, oh why, have other posters turned it into a comparison with Tendulkar, when the focus is on all-round abilities?

  • vickstricks on January 7, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    excellent article...but i think Harsha was too sober to say that..i think there is no harm in saying and rather accepting the fact that Kallis is better player that sir sobers.. the reason i say this is the longetivity of his career and still managing the expectationns and the average(Both bat and bowling)...and the comparison after 145 test matches just shows that he is no less that the pontings and tendulkars of the world..excellent article and comparison..well done Harsha aswell..

  • BTZA on January 7, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    One stat that I think needs to be taken into account here is how many overs each of the two bowled. Sobers bowled 3432.3 overs in 93 tests while Kallis, in his position of 4th seamer, has only bowled 3056.1 in 144 tests. This might shed some more light on why Sobers has taken more wickets per game than Kallis: He bowled way more overs. If you look at it on a overs/wicket basis, Kallis has done far better. Who doesn't remember an occasion where the front line South African bowlers were unable to get a Lara, Ponting or Tendulkar out, enter Kallis, and bang - he's gone! Kallis for me is the better player.

  • shrikanthk on January 7, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    By the way, Harsha seemed to make a veiled suggestion by bringing in the amateur/professional distinction that Sobers somehow had it easy in the 60s - a relatively unprofessional era compared to the present one.

    I disagree with that. The whole idea that professionals play better cricket than amateurs is flawed. Cricket is an art-form and hence competence at it requires more than mere "professional" hard work and commitment.

    WG Grace, the greatest cricketer of the Victorian era, was an amateur. The fast bowlers he murdered in the 1860s/70s were, in contrast, professionals! Bradman was an amateur. Whereas the English bowlers he mastered in the 30s/40s were mostly professionals (be it Tate, Verity, Bedser, Larwood).

    This clearly invalidates the hypothesis that professionals are somehow better at playing cricket. Professionalism is an overrated virtue, especially in a skill-based sport like cricket. It can, at best, help create match-fit players out of mediocre talents.

  • shrikanthk on January 7, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    I think the generation loyalty among the youngsters is a far greater concern than the so-called "misplaced" fondness for past legends. We read too little history and often unfairly assume the worst about past greats.

    Kallis is great no doubt. But Sobers scores over Kallis on several counts that cannot be measured in numbers. Firstly, Sobers was a far greater entertainer than Kallis ever was. He played the game with a gay abandon in the 60s - an era notorious for some very boring test cricket. Unlike Kallis who can be a little one-dimensional with the ball, Sobers could bowl practically every variety of left-arm seam/swing/spin. Lastly, Sobers had to bear the burden of captaincy for nearly half his career.

    By the way, it's interesting Harsha mentioned Miller in the same sentence as CK Nayudu. I found that curious. Unlike Nayudu who is basically a romantic legend, Miller has hard numbers to prove his worth - a batting avg of 37 and a bowl.avg of 22!

  • krickrazy on January 7, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Yeah Yeah.So basically your saying that Kallis is the greatest Test cricketer(which basically means Cricketer as Test cricket is the only Cricket present across all eras and every cricketer will tell you is the real cricket) of all time. To which I completely agree.But our man Nirmalkumar Sankaran has a great point there.Completely new perspective.Some people use this point to rank Maradona above Pele.

  • on January 7, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    for all those who say today's batsmen are gettin easy runs and their runs are worthless...by the same scale current bowlers are then the greatest for battling ods beyond imagination of yesteryear's bowlers!! for ex kallis may have scored abt 3-4 runs lesser but wud have gottent 450 wkts at 25?

  • on January 7, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    if kallis is sobers of his generation then tendulkar is bradman of his generation. :P

  • Vilander on January 7, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Forget all rounder, Kallis is an equal to Tend in batting. Welcome to Master class King Kallis, he has left Ponting and Dravid behind.

    Its Lara Tend Kallis from now on.

  • HerbertAnchovy on January 7, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    While I can see there's an uncanny similarity in stats i believe Sobers to be the greater player. Sobers was good enough to be picked either as a specialist bowler or a specialist batsman. I can't imagine Kallis playing many tests for his bowling if he couldn't bat. The stats don't necessarily show how good Sober's bowling was as he played quite a few tests early in his career before his bowling had fully matured. Boyoctt would tell you what a splendid opeing bowler he was and he also bowled conventional left arm and wrist spin. I think Kallis' reputaion has also suffered from the perception that he is a selfish batsman more interested in boosting his average than the team cause. How often has he been seen to protect his wicket when acceleration was required, either for a declaration or when batting with the tail? His eye seems to be on getting a not out rather than getting the team more runs.

  • stormy16 on January 7, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    As always compairing players of different eras is difficult but the real point here is we are compairing Kallis to Sobers which is almost unthinkable given Sobers has been the Bradman of alrounders for all these years and no one ever thought would be matched. What I find amazing is Kallis doesnt get the recognition for his achievements. Its like Sachin or Warne or Lara get so much recongnition while Kallis hardly ever gets much even from SA - Not that he seeks or needs but I think we fail to recongnize this amazing talent. There are great batsman and bowlers from every era but there really arent many genuine top quality alrounders. Actually there are only a handful ever and Kallis is probably the best. The real difficulty with alrounders is how do you measure a batting alrounder against a bowling alrounder.

  • IMObserver on January 7, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Let us say I have a first pick in a draft. I will pick Kallis over Tendulkar. However, I will pick Sobers over Kallis or Bradman. Then I will let Sobers, as a captain of the team, pick other players.

  • natasrik on January 7, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Rajesh article the statistics clearly shows that Sachin cannot be considered as the greatest, or god of cricket, infact he is just a cricketer like others in the list. It is absolutely stupid to continue with the notion that India depends on Sachin, India have won numerous number of matches without Sachins contribution and infact of the 61 test win under his statistics, he has won only 4 MOM only. VVS has been special in the above list and sachin is not in the list. Exclude BANGA and Zimba, sachin is way down the list. From 1991, 5000 test runs, Sachin no of tons is also way below the top contenders Ponting and Kallis. To me Kallis has to be the top batsman, top bowler and a terrific slip fielder, Ponting also features top batsma and terrific slip fielder, Sachin, VVS and Dravid top batsman and Dravid and VVS terrific slip fielder. Sachin is just floating in the list if one has to consider outcome of the results in terms of win, i. e win and win only.

  • Vakbar on January 7, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    A few months ago, I would have decried this as heresy and called for Harsha's head. However, I have increasingly become a fan of Kallis - his performances seem to get better and better, and he is now increasingly scoring runs his team really needs and not just batting in his own bubble ignoring the team, as was his wont.

    However, let's be realistic, true greatness is not measured by statistics alone. However much we may admire his technical excellence and consistency, Kallis doesn't exactly quicken the pulse. Every kallis innings tends to be the same - calm and effiicient. Admirable but not the key to true greatness. There have only been two truly great batsmen of the last 20 years - Lara and Tendulkar. To prove the point, after 90 matches, Yousuf has 7530 runs and 24 centuries @53. has carried the pak batt broken Viv's batting record, but would you compare him to Sobers as a batsmen? There have been a LOT of players averaging 50+ over the last 10 years.

  • Narbavi on January 7, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    lets be honest here...sachin has been a wonderful gifted batsman etc etc...fine...but take a look at jack kallis...unbelievable numbers...around 12000 test runs wit 270 wickets 165 catches and 11000 one day runs with 260 wickets...no.3 batsman and a fast bowler as well...super human! he has played 145 tests and if u compare with others for their first 145 tests he is ahead...not just the greatest all rounder...HE IS THE BEST CRICKETER EVER!! NO DOUBT!! SACHIN FANS PLS DIGEST THIS FACT!!

  • AneesRazzak on January 7, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    i dont think this debate should be about kallis and sobers. in my opinion - and most neutrals would agree that imran khan was the greatest cricketer of all time. imran was greater than botham, wasim, kallis, kapil dev, miller etc. Imran was a born leader too - Captaincy brought the best out of Imran and he had all attributes of a great all-rounder. the only two that are probably alongside him are sobers and maybe kallis (although kallis has batted on much better strips etc). imran then sobers then kallis kapil dev etc.

  • on January 7, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    @Nilmarkumar I am 20, so forgive me if I am being ignorant, but, having seen Kallis since he started in 1995, I would differ with the fact that Kallis necessarily played around a great team throughout his entire career. In fact when he started, players like Pollock and Klusener were very raw, and then there was a period early in the noughties where he was their ONLY good batsman- around mediocre players such as Benkenstein, Dippenaar, etc. I think rather than trying to decide who is better, it would just suffice to say that when he retires, SA would lose one of the top 3 batsmen in the last 20 years, the best 3rd/4th seamer in the wiorld, and the best slip catcher in the world. That one statement I feel is compliment enough.

  • monish123 on January 7, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    yes, no doubt that kallis is altime greatest all rounder that cricket world has ever seen despite of sober,Imran,kapil devand ian bothom are good allrounderbut in my point of view kallis is big in all of them. Kallis has start his carrier as 4 -3 positon and still holding his position and after all his south africa wants him ball and he always do well. His stats are undoubtedly the best more than 11 thousand runs and more 300 wicket in both format odi and test which is unbelievable for any young player to think in his dream. He made runs and taken wicket against all opposition . Perfect example is india tour of sa where he single handily dominate all indian bowler where on other side other SA batsmen struggle , he his handy with bowl also in 1 test where he took raina and other two wickets . Kallis is best all rounder that world cricket has ever seen

  • alune on January 7, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    @Kumar Sujeet: By the way harsha has tried to make comparison between sobers and kallis, but still, I m afraid sachin does not have 250+ test wickets, or alternatively, would sachin have been able to play 170+ test matches if he was a medium pace all rounder! I doubt it.

  • ultrasnow on January 7, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    What abbout difference between their batting strike rates?

  • diri on January 7, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    I said it before and i will say it again....Kallis is the greatest cricketer to ever play this wonderful game.....he is the most valuable player in history and iraplacable. injoy watching him coz we will have to wait many decades to see a player like him when he finaly retires.....King kallis ...better than Sachin and lara put togher

  • eddy501 on January 7, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    There is no doubt what so ever that Kallis is a true great of the game. His figures hold up to any. What is more remarkable is that is an allrounder. Sure SRT has turned his arm over several times but never as a front line bowler like Kallis. But let me temper this by suggesting stats and figures only tell us part of the story. If we go by figures Tendulkar is the greatest…why? He has scored more runs and more 100's anyone else? This is true but Ponting has scored more runs and 100's than Lara did but is he as good as Lara was? Lara finished with 232 test innings and 11953 runs, when Tendulakr, Ponting and Kallis reach 232 innings they all had less runs than Lara and played more matches. Stats do not always give us a complete picture. One more thing, Tendulkar, Kallis are two players that would score runs in any era so when they are face with the weakest top 10 test bowling line up EVER (see below)it's no wonder they make hay. D.W. Steyn, G.P. Swann, J.M. Anderson, M. Morkel, Zahe

  • on January 7, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    From This Article We Might Accept The Fact That Sobers and Kallis are world class,similiar batsman but then comes the Debate of Imran or Gavaskar, Viv and Sobers and moreover Ponting or Hayden ! Its undoubtedly a great article but still kallis and sobers are not similiar as much as Sehwag and Hayden . Better throw light on them . The readers may not enjoy Sobers but will surely enjoy Hayden

  • on January 7, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Definitely the greatest of his generation, possibly ever. No-one of the current crop of allrounders comes even close! To all those doubters out there, give credit where credit is due!

  • on January 7, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Keith Miller, a great all-rounder in his own right, said that Sobers was the greatest cricketer of all. He hit six sixes in one over. Broke the world record for the highest test score. Could bowl two types of spin plus medium fast bowling. An incredible fieldsman. He was an exciting and versatile player. A genius.

    Kallis is statistically up there, but i feel he is of a different class. Not exciting. Not as versatile. Doesn't make as big scores. He's calculative. I don't feel he is a match winner. Just a dull mathematician.

    The greats of the game are often remembered for their exceptional feats, rather than their averages. And that is where I feel Kallis falls short.

    Bevan made near-impossible run chases successful. Tendulkar's ODI 200. Waugh's century off the last ball of the day. That ball from Warnie. Murali getting his 8th wicket in his last game to reach 800 test wickets. These are moments I remember as others will. But I can't remember any special Kallis moments.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on January 7, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    I think Harsha is stating the obvious. Sobers holds more because he bowled different types of deliveries depending on the condition. He also scored faster than his peers (more dominant?) but it is obvious that both were the greatest cricketers of their generation.

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on January 7, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    what separates kallis from anyone else is his under pressure performance. In the other article about Kallis (by Rajesh), i saw his second innings avg to be 60 which is 5 more than sobers (next best) and he has played more tests than Sobers. Sachin doesn't even come close and the only person featuring in that list from India is the old little master SMG.

    So kallis is way ahead when it comes to performance when it matters the most. Although we would need to see his performance where top class bowling is involved. over the past few years I think Kallis has been lucky that only other potent attack in the world is the english one. No other country has an as lethal attack as SA. had he been playing regularly against dale steyn, would he be able to score as many runs! which SRT is doing.

  • binkaf on January 7, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    With all honors and regards to Sir Sobers achievements (he deserves it all), I think J. Kallis is the greatest ever player of all time to bless the game of cricket with his grace and elegance. Yes, some one here is absolutely on money to say that Kallis is an unsung hero; he deserves way lot recognition from what he at present is receiving. People just don't seemed tired of talking of Lara, Ponting & Sachin but Kallis edges all of them and that too with quite an ease! Really, he is Mr. Cricket in true sense. I am not attempting to take anything away from past day greats and modern day greats- they were, are and will remain great but Kallis is very very special. In cricket he has achieved some dreamy feats. Even if seen only as a batsman, he is fantastic, a text book of batting, a rich rich fellow in terms of runs and 100s; and when his accomplishments in bowling and fielding department are added, he comes near to impossible. Conclusion- Kallis is the greatest cricketer, GREATEST!

  • nish075 on January 7, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    At one point of time, Ricky Ponting had come very close to Sachin Tendulkar's numbers. At that point of time, should we have thought that Ponting was as good as Sachin? Plain answer - NO.

    PS-This is just a comparison, I don't want to be the guy who's accused of bringing Sachin into everything.

  • sandy_bangalore on January 7, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    If you compare Kallis with Tendulkar on the basis of technique alone, Kallis is better when it comes to playing quality fast bowling, while Tendulkar plays spin better. Kallis stands up to Tendulakr in every aspect-longetivity,Numbers,etc. But add to it 270 catches and fielding, the greatest cricketer award is a no brainer

  • on January 7, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    The problem with such comparisons is that both arguments presented, for and against such a comparison look very genuine. However one has to simply ackowledge that Kallis is truly a champion all rounder in his own right. He can certainly hold his own in a comparison match against any of the greats who have graced the game in both facets - batting and bowling. Sadly for the other teams it looks like his best is yet to come. He will be one guy whose performances will have a major influence in the final outcome of the world cup. Cheers.

  • indianpunter on January 7, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    When does one cross the line from being a good player and transform into a great? There are many attributes of a great; ability to win games, scoring/ taking wickets in pressure situations and consistently, the ability to carry a team, peer recognition and the ability to enthrall crowds. Jacques ticks all the boxes, except possibly the last one. He is not as pleasing to the eye as tendulkar or even laxman and maybe that is the reason why he hasnt got the plaudits and recognition he so richly deserves. There is no need for any outrage. JHK is the best cricketer since garry sobers, like SRT is the best batsman since DGB.

  • srini1088 on January 7, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Great article ...Ya Kallis is a wonderful cricketer and truly desreves to be one of the best to have played the game...last innings he played against india is a real proof of his greatness....he battled against a dust bowl of a track, a decent bowlin effort and on top of it the pain he was under bcos of the rib injury...a true legend

  • Ayzaz on January 7, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    Kallis / Tendulkar are both great players statitically but the thing to remember when mentioning greats is what they achieved in their careers. Sobers was pivotal in WI becoming the best cricketing team in the world during the 80s. Imran Khan was legendary cos he lead the team to challenge that supremacy. While Tendulkar and Kallis both have sublime stats, neither of their contributions to world cricket have made any difference to their teams. Only recently you can say India have begun to achieve some kind of success but between Tendulkar and Laxman, you decide who plays the match winners role.I would pick Laxman any day for the quality of runs he provides rather than racking up another 100 for their cupboard. South Africa have not achieved anything in world cricket and so to call Kallis a great is not quite right yet.Undoubtedly though he will be referenced in history as one of the greatest all rounders ever - and that there is no doubt about.

  • Cool_Jeeves on January 7, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    Playing against India and scoring 3 centuries has suddenly brought Kallis the visibility he seemed to lack all this time, which Tendulkar has always had. Perhaps the debate about the world's best batsman is not so one-sided as the comments in cricinfo make it usually seem.

  • 12kris on January 7, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Kallis is a great cricketer, but do not compare him with Sobers! While Kallis is a very good batsman and a decent seam bowler. But Sobers is a legend in his own lifetime. He could bat at any position and bowl seamers with the new ball and spinners with the old ball- that too both varieties of spin- orthodox and chinamen. He was also a brilliant fielder both close in and in the outfield. What more can one ask from a player who made 8000+ runs in less than a hundred Tests and took 93 wickets. Add to it the then world record for the highest score (365n.o.) and 6 sixes in an over in First class cricket!He was also an astute Captain. With due respects, Kallis a distance behind him.

  • Vroomfondel on January 7, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Is Kallis another Sir Gary? Better? Who knows? We speak of Sobers in hushed tones but do not always seem to confirm the same honour on Kallis. Both were/are great players of inestimable value to their teams. Both have made cricket a greater game. To me it is not important who is the greater player, to me it is only a important that Cricket has been blessed by their presence. Both will forever be up there in the pantheon of the cricket gods. They have given us the game we love.

  • harsh123456 on January 7, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    first its right that Kallis is one of the best in the world....but dear harsha playing at no.6 is not an easier place to bat where either you have to carry the good work by team or else u have to redifine ur team innings...but I dn`t understand where is the comparison b/w Sachin and Kallis arises...I m just fed up with it....first Lara then Ponting now Kallis...common accept the Truth Tendulkar is the Best...he is not comparable to these stars...but now i find it even more interesting that people themself has realized the fact thak SRT is the best and everytime u compare someone then u look at the best in the field...hence thanks to all those who are comparing coz from the deep inside the heart they now Sachin Ramesh TenDulkar is only one and he is the best,uncomparable , numero Uno...every synonym is mere a symbolism for him....

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    Gary Sobers is the equivalent of a prophet to Cricket.Kallis figures many surpass Sobers but he has never equalled Gary's batting or bolwing talent.Remember Gary's great innings like his 132 in the tied test ,254 in 1972 in Australia for Rest of the World etc ,where he pulverized the bset of pace bowling.His allround performaces in the 1970 season for Rest of the World in England may never be equalled or his brilliance in 1966 against England on their soil.,as well as in the 4ht test against England at Kingston when he scored 113 on a broken wicket and went on to take 8 wickets.Gary was also a far more versatile bolwer than Kallis,who was often denied a share in the attack,dominated by Hall ,Griffith etc.Imagine bolwing chinaman ,spin and fast.

    Kallis is great ,no doubt,but truly there has been no allrounder in the Gary Sobers class,who simply sits on another pedestal.Kalis has had the advantage of facing lesser attacks,and playing on flat,batting pitches.

  • rjansen on January 7, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    I believe Kallis is just as good as Tendulkar, if not better. Not only is his batting stats just as good, (and that is including his first indifferent 20 tests or so), but he has spent half his career on bouncy South African pitches, while Tendulkar spent (at least) half his on the flat tracks of the sub continent. Also Kallis is only getting better and better (Tendulkar also it seems). And now South Africa is finally playing a spinner and have a good bowling attack, the pressure is of his bowling a little bit. Added to that is the fact that in Smith, Amla and de Villiers there is good batting backup. I think we will see him rack up the centuries in these next years. Let's hope he stays fit!!

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Gary Sobers is the equivalent of a prophet to Cricket.Kallis figures many surpass Sobers but he has never equalled Gary's batting or bolwing talent.Remember Gary's great innings like his 132 in the tied test ,254 in 1972 in Australia for Rest of the World etc ,where he pulverized the bset of pace bowling.His allround performaces in the 1970 season for Rest of the World in England may never be equalled or his brilliance in 1966 against England on their soil.,as well as in the 4ht test against England at Kingston when he scored 113 on a broken wicket and went on to take 8 wickets.Gary was also a far more versatile bolwer than Kallis,who was often denied a share in the attack,dominated by Hall ,Griffith etc.Imagine bolwing chinaman ,spin and fast.

    Kallis is great ,no doubt,but truly there has been no allrounder in the Gary Sobers class,who simply sits on another pedestal.Kalis has had the advantage of facing lesser attacks,and playing on flat,batting pitches.

  • wondercloak on January 7, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    On top of all of the obvious statistical praise for Kallis, for me one of his greatest achievements is how he managed to adapt his game to also become an excellent T20 player, especially after being cut from South Africa's first ever T20 world cup squad. That showed a fight and determination in a man to succeed in an area that many of his current peers and opponents like Ponting, Tendulkar, Dravid do not play internationally.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    In reply to Sunil Magmain and Best Buddy-True Jacques Kalllis is the best allrounder of the modern era and in stats the bset allrounder of them all with regards to averages.However he has never been as consistent a match-winner as Gary Sobers nor peformed as outstandingly well with both bat and ball in a single test match or series.Sobers ,on several occasions championed the cause with bat and ball in in the same test or series and if his 1970 stats for Rest of the World were counted would simply be on another pedestal.The closest to Sobers was Ian Botham of 1977-82 ,as even Imran the champion allrounder from 1981-1988 did not perform oustandingly silmuntaneously with both ball and bat.

    Kallis also has a relatively slow batting strike rate in tests and could not dominate the opposition like Sobers,particularly against great attacks.Overall Kallis is the 2nd best batting allrounder and the 5th best allrounder overall behind Sobers,Botham,Imran and Keith Miller.

  • BellCurve on January 7, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    It appears that Kallis has finally done enough to receive the recognition he deserves. What makes him so good is power, risk management and temperament, first and foremost, but also technique, reflexes and experience. There are those who have suggested he does not have the same natural talent as the likes of Lara, Richards or Sehwag. But what is talent? A high backlift? The suicidal tendency to smash length deliveries outside off through mid wicket? The mad idea that every delivery should end up behind the boundary? I would select Kallis ahead of these so-called naturally-gifted players every day. He is professional, consistent and fundamentally understands cricket. He is better at the game than anyone since Bradman.

  • on January 7, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    You said it Kumar Sujeet. Its time to start a debate on best batsmen. If Kallis was an Indian, Sachin will be placed only second to him. Kallis is a real Cricketer who can do almost everything in cricket field What ever the pitch condtion and who ever is playing aginst him. His batting style and confidence beat sachin in different conditions. You are a real genious Kallis. You have enough time to show the world whom you really are. Beware sachin :-)

  • on January 7, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    Tendulkar defers from Kallis in terms better techniques and class.

  • RaghuramanR on January 7, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    I hope that Indians put a stop to this 'ranking', 'who is greater, better etc?' business sooner or later. After all, it seems to be in our bloody blood :(

  • on January 7, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    If we have to believe the numbers then Kallis is almost there where Tendulkar stands in test cricket today.Tendulkar averages 83 runs per test for his 14692 runs in 177 tests, whereas Kallis averages 82.39 for his 11947 runs in 145 tests.Tendulkar averages 0.288 for his 51 centuries in 177 tests, while Kallis averages 0.275 for his 40 centuries in 145 tests.so, if Kallis continues to play the way he is playing right now, he will score 14583 runs and 49 centuries in 177 tests. So can we start a debate as to who is the best batsman of the modern generation?

  • on January 7, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    Kallis is an all time great. Many SAFfers themselves would probably consider Barry Richards or Graeme Pollock as having been better than Kallis; so yes the generation battle often devalues one over the other. The difference between the past generations and those of today I think is that these days we refrain for some reason to be poetic enough. Being poetic or artistically describing an event such as a Kallis cover drive is a thing of the past. We get so consumed by results and statistics that we often forget that in the end sport is interspersed with memorable events sometimes even from the most unsuspecting places. Unfortunately TV has much to do with this; all we have interjection by advertisments. TV expects us to switch on and switch off just like batsmen do between overs. Its too easy watching cricket these days and that makes it worse and we cannot argue a Kallis against a Sobers other than by just numbers.

  • on January 7, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    I disagree with Harsha here. Kallis should be rated higher than the Great Sir Gary. Kallis is probably the best or the greatest cricketer the game has seen. His record speaks everything; he is an unsung hero. I wonder why most cricket writers hesitate to acknowledge him as the greatest cricketer. He does not need to prove anything in the game now. In batting he is next best to Tendulkar, in bowling his record is better than most of the specialist bowlers playing now a days, he is damn good fielder and moreover, he has played and proved himself in all versions of cricket. Hats off to him.

  • on January 7, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Agreed..... He adds more to the Team than SRT... (ppl will kill me for saying that but what is true is TRUE)

  • evenflow_1990 on January 7, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    interesting point harsha. i think the numbers are even between the two and jacques kallis must be respected as much as sobers. you just wonder whether sobers deserves more credit because he didn't have the helmets/pitches that kallis did. its a little like the tendulkar gavaskar debate isn't it?

  • bestbuddy on January 7, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Interestingly there is one figure where Kallis outshines Sobers - the number of 50's scored, 54 against 30, or nearly double as opposed to 1 and a half times. Indicates to me that while Sobers was clearly the player with more flair, Kallis has been the more consistent. One could also argue that when he started South Africa were a weaker team than the Windies of Sobers era, and consequently played under more pressure than Sobers

  • Saroj_25 on January 7, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    Again a very nice article by Harsha, very good analysis. Yeah there should not be any comparisons between players of 2 generations, but the numbers indeed tell the truth. Kallis is like Sobers of this generation. I even remember that For kevin Peterson, Kallis is the greatest player ever. Waiting to see, what SA will do when kallis will retire, they will loose two players, Their best batsman and an extra bowler..

  • subbudu22 on January 7, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Kallis must be proud of himself after reading this article. He's been really consistent in all the departments. What a brilliant player..... Hats off to harsha for a wonderful article, which will be treated as a scripture about kallis in the history of cricket.

  • on January 7, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    I used to read Bhogle with interest. No more. Comparing Kallis with Sobers is like comparing the moon with the sun.

  • on January 7, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    While i accept the fact that Kallis and Sobers are the greatest all rounders to grace the cricketing world one cannot deny the fact that their numbers are made better ny the fact that they had the luxury of top players around them.....to me the greayest allrounder to have ever played the game will be Kapil Dev.....simply for the fact that he has always delivered with both bat and ball when it mattered the most, played on unhelpful pitches and did not have the luxury of playing around a great set of players.....

  • on January 7, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    Kallis deserves plaudits as a great allrounder of the game. His numbers are phenomenal and it's about time people stopped the Sobers comparison. Crucial difference is just their approach: Kallis with his solid, unfussy technique and substance-over-style has served South Africa well. Being a top order operator needed him to shelve the flashiness, but he comes across as a "man" who knows his strengths and his job. Sobers came from a different cricketing culture and played for the joy of it. he was more of a "boy" who was brilliant and refused to believe anything was beyond him. So while some have criticized Sobers for being too adventurous, others have accused Kallis of being boring, even selfish! The only reason I'd keep Sobers a hair's breadth ahead is his fielding and versatility as a bowler - he was capable of turning a match on either of those .. but in the same breath I'd have to admire Kallis for his longevity.

  • on January 7, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Why would anyone be furious? I was quite surprised and amazed that he didnt feature in the All time XI that cricinfo held recently and no one made a fuss about his omission.

  • Saroj_25 on January 7, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Again a very nice article by Harsha, very good analysis. Yeah there should not be any comparisons between players of 2 generations, but the numbers indeed tell the truth. Kallis is like Sobers of this generation. I even remember that For kevin Peterson, Kallis is the greatest player ever. Waiting to see, what SA will do when kallis will retire, they will loose two players, Their best batsman and an extra bowler..

  • on January 7, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    As an allrounder . Kallis has better average in bowling than Sobers .. So you can compare them.. Also Kallis as batsman is most technically correct of all .. Maybe Best Test Player in last 25-50 years???

  • Longmemory on January 7, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    If the point is that Kallis' stats hold their own in comparison with Sobers, that is incontestable. If the point is that Kallis is the best all-rounder of his era, that too is incontestable. The fur starts flying when people move from that to more subjective judgments such as "Kallis is as good a cricketer as Sobers was" or is "as great a cricketer as Sir Garry was." Its obvious to anyone who has seen even the grainy footage of Sobers in his prime that the man was sheer genius. Whatever you can say about Kallis' numbers and his consistency, he will never empty a bar. Whereas only the blind and the alcoholic would remain in the tavern when Sir Garry was batting, bowling, or fielding. Case closed.

  • disney12 on January 7, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    Finally someone speaking sense! Kallis has achieved similar results to Sobers but over a much longer career, which makes his stats even more impressive. Tendulkar, Kallis, Ponting, Dravid and the like are as impressive as they are simply because they have done the business over 140+ odd test matches. Tired of the Australian commentators who have constantly implied that Kallis is 'a little less' magnificent than Ponting because of his strike rate - and Ponting has taken how many wickets? Only after his retirement will the cricket world acknowledge that Kallis is the greatest cricketer of all time, Bradman the best batsmen, but Kallis the best overall.

  • rajun69 on January 7, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    Thx Harsha for this article. I find it amazing that hardly any mention is made of Kallis. The cricket world spends more time talking abut the greatness of Sachin (which cannot be discounted by any measure), but surely, Kallis is not too far behind? The stats prove it. Here in Australia, after the Ashes loss, I think even Ponting's status will have to be revisited. I think it would be good to do a comparison of Ponting and Kallis given that they are of the same age, playing the same number of years, and are neck-on-neck in the stats. Have you done such a comparison.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 7, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    I say. Accept it that Kallis is best allround cricketer in the world by far. He is batting alrounder like Sobers. Its not the race who is greater sportsman, i think both of these players can have equal status in cricket world. Like Sachin has scored 98 hundred, bradman has average of 99. So whats wrong in having two all time greats. We can argue about 5 great bowling alrounders but batting alrounders are only two Sobers and Kallis. With equal records. I think Kallis is definately Sobers of this generation. Like Tendulkar is bradman of this generation. There is noting wrong in accepting that. If you ask Kallis or Tendulkar they would be extremely proud to be compared with two of the greatest cricketers ever bradman and sobers. I think now we have 4 instead of 2 all time great players. Along with Warne, Murli and Wasim akram.

  • Proteas123 on January 7, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    I rate Sobbers a slightly better bat but Kallis is the better bowler and therefore the most complete all-rounder. Kallis is the only one to consistently bat in the top 4 out of the top all-rounders, that puts him ahead of the rest.

  • vineetkarthi on January 7, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    Maybe one more sub-category should be created to be consistent in terms of analysis. Kallis is essentially a batting all-rounder just as Hadlee was essentially a bowling all-rounder (in other words, Kallis could be picked just for his batting but not necessarily just for his bowling;). Also any analysis would be incomplete if these all-rounders are not compared with Adam Gilchrist who was an all-rounder of equal stature to these greats. I have always felt that these genuine all-rounders (not half talents like Irfan Pathan, etc) have added a dimension to the game and brought joy to those around... I dont know who is the best and I dont care. I have personal favourites, though.

  • on January 7, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Kallis is great....a true great...Not that he is the greatest can be ascertained by any means,. cant be for any one...U can not say the Don was the Greatest or Sachin ...Same here...Just enjoy them as long as they play and as long as no one crosses Sachin :P

  • backwardpoint on January 7, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    I have been mentioning this for quite sometime now. Good point, Harsha. I usually disagree with quite a few of your articles and views - but I couldnt agree more on this article. 2 stupendous achievements for Kallis : a. A few ppl in the commentary section compare him against a Tendulkar which speaks freaking volumes for an all rounder to be compared against a plain (but possibly one amongst the greatest ever) bat - which is good in itself. But the commenters fail to consider his other allround skills which makes him more formidable in my opinion b. In these days of limited test careers, he is pushing the upper bound and inching towards a 20 yr career himself - no mean feat considering that hes quite big and also has a "heavier" workload (pun intended!) when compared to plain bats / bowlers. He is truly and well ahead of any other contemporary "all-rounders" (again, pun!) and ahead by a huge margin!

  • on January 7, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Harsha. Perfect in every detail.

  • jammyisgreat on January 7, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    I rate him better than Sobers....Its ridiculous that JK is not considered in the All time great XI

  • on January 7, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is ageing fast.. .. needs help

  • Henk on January 7, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    Kallis is very close to the double of 12000 runs and 300 wickets, something that will probably never be achieved again. In that he stands head and shoulders above everyone else. The mark of a true alrounder is also one that would be chosen both as batsman and as bowler, very few of the so called great allrounders really meet this criteria. In fact if they did not bat in the top six this is already a clear indication that they would not have been chosen as a batsman. An easy way of checking the quality of performance both as batsman and as bowler is the relation of batting average to bowling average (batting average divided by bowling average) Kallis is approx 1.78 This numbers exercise I believe has previously been done as a blog on cricinfo and Kallis and Sobers was the two standing head and shoulders above the others. Just do this exercise for yourselves and get an objective view rather that a subjective one based on personal likes and dislikes.

  • Sanks555 on January 7, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    Thanks for the article. The answer is yes. I would rate Sobers ahead because he has more wickets per Test match and was a captain. And the SA bowling attack, in which Kallis played, had a stronger bowling attack than Sober's WI (I would trade Hall, Griffith, and Gibbs for Donald, Pollock, Ntini, and Steyn any day). But, Kallis runs Sir Gary Sobers close.

    The comparison between the two is, statistically, much more closer than the one between Bradman and Tendulkar. But while accepting one seems to be blasphemy, rejecting the other seems to be so. The power of the market.

  • MAD-1 on January 7, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    I agree with you Harsha. infact I think you've even got it slightly wrong. Kallis isnt the Sobers of his generation Sobers was the Kallis of his generation. Jacques Kallis may very well be the greatest cricketer to have ever played the game. Sobers didnt have to go through the grind these players go through and scoring two centuries with an extremely painful injury is probably a feat never achieved before.

  • on January 7, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    The most underrated all rounder. I was really disappointed when he was not selected in the cricinfo world XI's all rounders list. HE HAS BETTER NUMBERS THAN SOBERS.

  • reality_hurts on January 7, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Here is the my valid argument against Kallis why he is not better than SRT or Sobers. 1)He falied against best bowlers like Murali, never score century against SL, 2)He failed against Eng with carrier avg around just 42 3)He failed against AUS with best bowling attach like Mcgrath, Warne with AVG just 40.58 4)Most of the useless runs he scored after 2000 where the ERA is considered as THE WEAKEST in entire CRICKET history 5)Most of the Runs he scored against depleted bowling attacks after 2000 like Pakistan, India, BANG, Zim, NZ, WI that wont make him greater than SRT or Sobers. btw i am Not Indian and i am not FAN of SRT, i take LARA than SRT in test matches. Look this link http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/45789.html?class=1;orderby=default;template=results;type=batting Definitly he is one of the greatest all rounder in history of cricket but never be the heights of SIR GARFIELD SOBERS OR SRT.

  • on January 7, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Nice article. The numbers do suggest that Kallis is at least the equal of Sobers, but i honestly believe that everything is subjective and true comparisons are impossible. How can you ignore factors like the ease with which great batting numbers are achieved nowadays. How do you measure the lack of a helmet or thigh guards, flat pitches ... The uncovered pitches that Bradman played on. Those are huge things and the current generation of batsmen (including Tendulkar and Ponting - who unlike others and to his credit has acknowledged this) would do well temper there egos with this knowledge. As far as numbers go - the one thing the article didnt mention was the comparitive strike rates. Sobers is a very poor 91 while Kallis's is a much more respectable 67 (and that in a golden batting age). Id also like to highlight one fact of someone who is my favourite cricketer: Kumar Sanggakara - since he has given up the gloves he has avg'd a stunning 77 with the bat. WOW.

  • albstp on January 7, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Excellent article by Harsha.. As you told let Sir Garry be the king and Kallis the Cheiftain. But we cannot compare both as both played in different era. Sir Garry played in an era when real men played cricket and not in an era where people are made into cricket machines or any other sport from their childhood.

  • McGorium on January 7, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Wow! Harsha is going out on a limb here, isn't he, stating that Kallis is the best all rounder of his generation. This piece exhibits consummate mastery over stating the obvious. And then, he adds vein-popping imagery to boot, as if to suggest that his piece will trigger lynch mobs across the cricket-playing world. By the way, Geoff Boycott has been praising Kallis as the best all rounder of his generation, since the late 1990's. To do this piece back then would be prescient, perhaps even insightful. Coming on the back of an unbeaten 200, and two 100s in each innings, and a career average approaching 57, it's as insightful as saying that the Aussie side is no longer a force to reckon with. Contractual obligations and deadline pressures, Mr. Bhogle?

  • kdcricket on January 7, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Someone might like/dislike Kallis, but for me he remains the greatest all rounder ever produced. Sobers, Imran, Hadlee, Botham and Kapil were great without a shade of doubt, but to put things in perspective, this guy had to face up to the most successful team ever(Australia till 2005), yet he managed these figures. He has got tremendous record all over the world and add to this the fact that he is successful in ODIs too. His batting ranks alongside greats and his underutilized bowling has fetched 270 wickets. His endurance is a testimony of his greatness too and also the fact that he does not really have a 'bogey' bowler, or he is not a 'bunny' to any bowler, including Warne, McGrath, Ambrose, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Bond, Lee, Tait, Murali, Harbhajan, Anil etc. Such is his greatness.......

  • on January 7, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Kallis is the best cricketer of the modern era beyond doubt and can lay claim to the best batsman as well if he continues his amazing form.Amazing technique and class !

  • dr.jha on January 7, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    i know.... self assuming oldies... "back in our time"... one thing i am pretty certain about... both these players would have earn respect , had they switched their genertion... simple...

  • on January 7, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    Well written.. absolutely agree about the past becoming larger then life with passage of time.... So true to all spheres of life and not just with cricket or sport...

  • Aussasinator on January 7, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    Looking at Kallis' awesome displays, one gets a feel of the impact Sobers would have had on that generation of viewers. Clearly the world's most valuable cricketer.

  • on January 7, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    Great article. I have noticed people comparing Kallis with Imran and Sobers. Stats are dangerous, they give you just a glimpse of what really happened. Just like Kallis's last hundred would be a shadow of itself if you forgot the conditions and his injury having which he scored it. Sobers batting average would be higher, if he batted in this era with bats which do not have sweet spots but are fully sweet, and batsmen have all this protection against ballers, and there aren't that many great fast ballers to go around. Any how one thing that I heard about Sobers was that he had the ability to change the game easily with both the bat and ball, and I do not think Kallis can do the same with the ball. I know you will say that look at Kallis's bowling average, which is in fact better than Zaheer Khan's (I think?), but does that make him a better baller than Zaheer, I do not think so. Anyhow in my book Kallis may be the best batting allrounder since Sobers, but Sobers was way better!

  • anoopshameed on January 7, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    Kallis is a great allrounder-no doubt of that. But one cannot say he is the greatest batsman of the generation simply because his numbers do not support it. He has never been good against better bowling sides like Australia, England and Sri Lanka. Even though he has wonderful averages against West Indies and Pakistan, an innings breakdown will show that it was acheived after these teams lost their bowling stalwarts, ie after 2000. But still Kallis is unarguably the greatest allrounder of this generation!

  • on January 7, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Nopes !, don't be fooled by numbers, shut your eyes, keep your palm in your heart, imagine these words/phrases... "Free & daring strokeplay", "Range/Game", "Gifted","Presence","Uncovered pitches", "Colour of Personality", "Joy of watching", "Cavalier spirit"... now try writing what you have :-)... Cricketers can't be compared by numbers...

    That said, Kallis is a delightful & great player...

  • aruntheselector on January 7, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    There is no doubt that Kallis is in the same league of Sobers as an all-rounder.But as a batsman Kallis definitely rubs shoulders with the best batsmen of all time. Assuming a hypothetical situation that Sachin retires today,he would have played 290 Test innnings.Kallis has to play another 44 innings to reach 290 (approx 22 matches).If he maintains the same average as of today he would end up with 14474 runs,just 218 short of Sachin Tendulkar and there is all probablility of him equalling Sachin's record of 51 centuries.I think his numbers and performances and his impact in the South African side not as an all-rounder, but as a batsman very clearly says that he is an all time best batsman and can be compared in the league of Sachin Tedulkar and no doubt in the same league of Sobers as an all-rounder.

  • kapzter on January 7, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    It's about time that somebody manned up to speak as to how great a player Kallis is. I have not had the fortune of witnessing Sobers play but I always imagined he would have been like Kallis. A brilliant batsman and an excellent seamer who can bowl at 140kmph regularly. How many Asian frontline bowlers can bowl at that speed (and be accurate).I believe Kallis is arguably the greatest unsung hero in the history of cricket and most definitely is of his generation. In my view the TV/radio commentators are to blame. We have all witnessed players not worthy of praise being showered with it time and again but finally an article about a true genius. A true master with his faults but then again who doesn't. I can think of many with bigger faults. I repeat, Kallis is the greatest unsung hero of the game.

  • on January 7, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    Yeah !Agreed, but the same should be said about Tendulkar and not greater than Bradman.

  • shrikanthk on January 7, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    I think generation loyalty among youngsters is a far greater concern than the so-called "misjudged" fondness for the older players. We read too little history and often unfairly assume the worst about past legends.

    Ofcourse numbers are important. But I think it is just as important to defer to the opinions of judges who are old enough to have experienced several generations of cricketers. Kallis is great no doubt. But Sobers scores over him on several counts.

    Sobers was a far greater entertainer. A batsmen who played with gay abandon in the 60s - an era notorious for some very boring test cricket. Unlike Kallis who can be one-dimensional with the ball, Sobers could bowl practically every variety of left arm bowling. He also had to bear the burden of captaincy for nearly half his career.

    Also, I wonder why you mentioned Miller in the same breath as CK. Miller sure has the numbers to back him up, unlike CK! A batting avg of 37 and bowl.avg of 22!

    Disclaimer: I'm only 26!

  • on January 7, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    Nice article but please stop putting down Bangladesh and Zimbabwe just to make a point. Their are no easy runs in test cricket period. Going back to the argument, Statistically they are same or Kallis even slightly better but I think what makes Sobers stand out is how he made those runs. He was an attacking player who pretty much dominated any attack that he played against and this is something numbers cannot tell. Kallis is great no doubt about it and you can talk about him in the same breath as Sir Gary sobers but to me he(sobers) is still the best cricketer this planet ever saw.

  • on January 7, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Good article. With due respect to Kallis let us not compare anyone with Sobers. kallis is great and Sobers is the greatest. Again without comaring and taking away any credit from kallis we still have to admit that Sobers was a fast bowler, spin bowler and a chainaman and one of the best fielders. Sobers is Sobers and as they say in sanskrit na bhuto Na bhavishayti. Theer is no doubt that kallis is almost there, howevr just short of like I have said above.

  • itsniraj on January 7, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    Nice article Harsha. I agree completely to this. Its not an overstatement by any means. We have just compared the test match figures here, what is noteworthy is that Kallis had to perform the same duties in one day internationals as well which SObers did not have to (not his fault though), but none the lesss, its challenging to keep performing in all the formats of the game consistently like Kallis has done!!

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    As a pure batting allrounder I put Kallis 2nd to Sobers,because he never exhibited Sober's brilliance against the best of pace bowling attacks.Sobers literallly tore the best bowlers to the shreds in days when the pitches were more difficult for batting,and the bolwing better.Adding his statistics for Rest of the World team in England and Australia Sobers would really be a giant.Gary was the best match-winning cricketer of all time and a better match-winner than Kallis as a batsman and all-rounder.

    Kallis has proved his brilliance in a crisis in the Javed Miandad mould and even his batting stats perhaps place him only behind Bradman and Tendulkar.However in today's era the pitches are more batsman friendly and the bowling weaker and thuus Kallis may still rank below the likes of Lara,Viv Richards and Hammond.Kalis never dispalyed outsatnding match-winning abilitty with the bat like Viv Richards or Hammond.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    As a pure batting allrounder I put Kallis 2nd to Sobers,because he never exhibited Sober's brilliance against the best of pace bowling attacks.Sobers literallly tore the best bowlers to the shreds in days when the pitches were more difficult for batting,and the bolwing better.Adding his statistics for Rest of the World team in England and Australia Sobers would really be a giant.Gary was the best match-winning cricketer of all time and a better match-winner than Kallis as a batsman and all-rounder.

    Kallis has proved his brilliance in a crisis in the Javed Miandad mould and even his batting stats perhaps place him only behind Bradman and Tendulkar.However in today's era the pitches are more batsman friendly and the bowling weaker and thuus Kallis may still rank below the likes of Lara,Viv Richards and Hammond.Kalis never dispalyed outsatnding match-winning abilitty with the bat like Viv Richards or Hammond.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    As a pure batting allrounder I put Kallis 2nd to Sobers,because he never exhibited Sober's brilliance against the best of pace bowling attacks.Sobers literallly tore the best bowlers to the shreds in days when the pitches were more difficult for batting,and the bolwing better.Adding his statistics for Rest of the World team in England and Australia Sobers would really be a giant.Gary was the best match-winning cricketer of all time and a better match-winner than Kallis as a batsman and all-rounder.

    Kallis has proved his brilliance in a crisis in the Javed Miandad mould and even his batting stats perhaps place him only behind Bradman and Tendulkar.However in today's era the pitches are more batsman friendly and the bowling weaker and thuus Kallis may still rank below the likes of Lara,Viv Richards and Hammond.Kalis never dispalyed outsatnding match-winning abilitty with the bat like Viv Richards or Hammond.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    As a pure batting allrounder I put Kallis 2nd to Sobers,because he never exhibited Sober's brilliance against the best of pace bowling attacks.Sobers literallly tore the best bowlers to the shreds in days when the pitches were more difficult for batting,and the bolwing better.Adding his statistics for Rest of the World team in England and Australia Sobers would really be a giant.Gary was the best match-winning cricketer of all time and a better match-winner than Kallis as a batsman and all-rounder.

    Kallis has proved his brilliance in a crisis in the Javed Miandad mould and even his batting stats perhaps place him only behind Bradman and Tendulkar.However in today's era the pitches are more batsman friendly and the bowling weaker and thuus Kallis may still rank below the likes of Lara,Viv Richards and Hammond.Kalis never dispalyed outsatnding match-winning abilitty with the bat like Viv Richards or Hammond.

  • gzawilliam on January 7, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Kallis didn't have to play one of the best bowling sides over the last 15 years?

    Umm. he faced the Mcgrath,Gillespie,Lee,Warne attacks didnt he. Which if i'm not mistaken is better than the steyn , morkel , kallis , totsobe , harris attack by a mile.

  • on January 7, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    Girl, please.

    We all know Ravindra Jadeja is better than either Kallis or Sobers.

  • pvwadekar on January 7, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Harsha:- The numbers make a compelling argument, and one can say without a doubt that Kallis is a very good test all-rounder, in fact the only one of his kind in this generation. However to compare him to Sir Gary Sobers based on just the numbers is not correct. Sobers was a charismatic cricketer and the brand of cricket(batting/bowling) that he played was really exciting to watch.

    Kallis, on the other hand is as exciting as unbuttered toast. When was the last time Kallis just massacred a strong bowling attack(Sobers did that to a certain Lillie in his prime at Perth). Kallis has a good defense and and is a run gatherer, not a destroyer. If i recall correctly, he was called a bubble boy, content to play in his own little sphere without thinking of his team particularly against the strong Australian attack. Sobers would try and go for the victory and play exciting cricket, Kallis would go for the draw and play boring cricket. Who would u rather watch bat, Sobers or Kallis ?

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Without doubt Kalllis,is the greatest allrounder of the modern era and the 2nd best batting all-rounder of all.Statistically ,he is the best of all allrounders,even edging Sobers.

    However the criteria has to be the consistency of a cricketer to perform outstandingly with ball and bat in the same test match or in the same series .Kallis has hardly performed oustandingly in both departments in a single match or series.Gary Sobers ,on numerous occasions combined great bolwing performances in addition to his outstanding batting like in 1963 and 1966 in England and for the Rest of the World in 1970.Similarly Ian Botham from 1977-1982 was a match-winner with bat and ball and the best after Sobers.

    Another factor is that Kallis has had a slow batting strike rate ,inspite of having brilliantly weathered the storm in a crisis.Overall to me I place him behind Sobers,Botham,Imran and Miller ,in the 5th position.

  • Kshitij_Sinha on January 7, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Sobers captaincy was disastrous for the West Indies. That put a blip on his career, as it may well for Ponting. Kallis though will never have to deal wit that extra responsibility and pressure.

  • bks123 on January 7, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    continued........As far as bowling is concerned, apart from sobers, all other previous alrounders including hadlee were the main strike bowlers of their respective teams whereas as Mr. Bhogle mentioned kallis has been used as the 3rd or 4th seamer for SA. So in the bowling department kallis is lagging behind the four top class alrounders of the 80's. However, 270 odd wickets are a lot. And then 12k runs...ufffs...so he is as good as sobers. peace

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Nice work Harsha... I am just amazed at looking how great Kallis's numbers are... he is simply great... Good on him and Yes for me ... he is the Sobers of my generation or more importantly he is the Kallis of my generation and I am honored to witness the likes of Tendulkar, Lara, Warne, Kallis and many more in my generation....

  • Kshitij_Sinha on January 7, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    I disagree with you Harsha. Kallis will never captain South Africa and so can't match the contribution to the fate of his team in the same way as Sobers, or even Ponting. They may be equally fantastic players, but Sobers towards the end of his career had much more on his plate. For that reason, I dont think Kallis can stand with Sobers, and for the same reason, Tendulkar and Kallis cant stand with Ponting. Cricket is mostly a mental game and captaincy is the biggest part of that. However, in terms of ability, I agree with you.

  • Kshitij_Sinha on January 7, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    I disagree with you Harsha. Kallis will never captain South Africa and so can't match the contribution to the fate of his team in the same way as Sobers, or even Ponting. They may be equally fantastic players, but Sobers towards the end of his career had much more on his plate. For that reason, I dont think Kallis can stand with Sobers, and for the same reason, Tendulkar and Kallis cant stand with Ponting. Cricket is mostly a mental game and captaincy is the biggest part of that. However, in terms of ability, I agree with you.

  • dyogesh on January 7, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    If numbers are everything, why are we watching the game ? We can just watch the scorecards. Peter Roebuck for all strong claims is one writer whom i admire enormously for not throwing around numbers or as he says his "column does not stoop to statistics".

    And does being number-driven mean analytical ? Why should numbers defeat words ? Just being objective doesn't mean that it is necessarily better. I forgot whether it was Billie Jean-King or Chris Evert who said that Grand slams were not so important in their times. Yet modern day Grand slam driven champions are rated higher against people who basically never valued it in the first place.

    What has become worse with the years is that it has become easy to write articles by picking few statistics from statsguru and interpreting them.

    Should comparisons be made for the heck of it ? There is some sense in comparing players of a generation. I got more marks than my father in public exam. Does that make me a more brilliant student?

  • saadbajwa on January 7, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    Harsha, it's always a pleasure reading your pieces. The only problem I have with Kallis is that it's only when you see his recored thats you notice how great he really is; otherwise just seeing the name J. Kallis of Proteas scorecard does not over-awe me. I have always felt that despite his HUGE achievements in the sport, he is yet to win even a test series for South Africa. I have always felt that Kallis just comes, makes a good score, takes 3-4 wickets a test and takes 3 catches in slips and that's it. Any captain would want such a player, but sometimes, everyone captain wants a match winner or series winner. Sobers was the guy who showed the Windies the aggressive streak they had for so long. Kallis, well isn't he the perfect South African cricketer - brilliant, consistent, thoroughly professional, technically superb but boring to watch and big match bottler.

  • sandy_bangalore on January 7, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Absolutely! Kallis is without doubt the greatest of the current generation. And we in Bangalore love him for his contributions to RCB(esp after the debacle of season 1). Hope Vijay Mallya buys this colossus again

  • TheDoctor394 on January 7, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    I have to agree Kallis is at least as good as Sobers, and I'll leave it there. Certainly, they are the two greatest allrounders of all time.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Number crunching Mr.Harsha! You are spot on. Kallis, a legend.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    I for one have no problem with your comparison. Never do you claim one is better than other. Merely that they might share tha same table.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    Well Harsha, can't agree with you more ! It required this Great to prevent the No. 1 team take the series away from South Africa. In cricket, Kallis is alongside the Great Sir Garfield Sobers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    Well Harsha, can't agree with you more ! It required this Great to prevent the No. 1 team take the series away from South Africa. In cricket, Kallis is alongside the Great Sir Garfield Sobers.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    I for one have no problem with your comparison. Never do you claim one is better than other. Merely that they might share tha same table.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Number crunching Mr.Harsha! You are spot on. Kallis, a legend.

  • TheDoctor394 on January 7, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    I have to agree Kallis is at least as good as Sobers, and I'll leave it there. Certainly, they are the two greatest allrounders of all time.

  • sandy_bangalore on January 7, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Absolutely! Kallis is without doubt the greatest of the current generation. And we in Bangalore love him for his contributions to RCB(esp after the debacle of season 1). Hope Vijay Mallya buys this colossus again

  • saadbajwa on January 7, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    Harsha, it's always a pleasure reading your pieces. The only problem I have with Kallis is that it's only when you see his recored thats you notice how great he really is; otherwise just seeing the name J. Kallis of Proteas scorecard does not over-awe me. I have always felt that despite his HUGE achievements in the sport, he is yet to win even a test series for South Africa. I have always felt that Kallis just comes, makes a good score, takes 3-4 wickets a test and takes 3 catches in slips and that's it. Any captain would want such a player, but sometimes, everyone captain wants a match winner or series winner. Sobers was the guy who showed the Windies the aggressive streak they had for so long. Kallis, well isn't he the perfect South African cricketer - brilliant, consistent, thoroughly professional, technically superb but boring to watch and big match bottler.

  • dyogesh on January 7, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    If numbers are everything, why are we watching the game ? We can just watch the scorecards. Peter Roebuck for all strong claims is one writer whom i admire enormously for not throwing around numbers or as he says his "column does not stoop to statistics".

    And does being number-driven mean analytical ? Why should numbers defeat words ? Just being objective doesn't mean that it is necessarily better. I forgot whether it was Billie Jean-King or Chris Evert who said that Grand slams were not so important in their times. Yet modern day Grand slam driven champions are rated higher against people who basically never valued it in the first place.

    What has become worse with the years is that it has become easy to write articles by picking few statistics from statsguru and interpreting them.

    Should comparisons be made for the heck of it ? There is some sense in comparing players of a generation. I got more marks than my father in public exam. Does that make me a more brilliant student?

  • Kshitij_Sinha on January 7, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    I disagree with you Harsha. Kallis will never captain South Africa and so can't match the contribution to the fate of his team in the same way as Sobers, or even Ponting. They may be equally fantastic players, but Sobers towards the end of his career had much more on his plate. For that reason, I dont think Kallis can stand with Sobers, and for the same reason, Tendulkar and Kallis cant stand with Ponting. Cricket is mostly a mental game and captaincy is the biggest part of that. However, in terms of ability, I agree with you.

  • Kshitij_Sinha on January 7, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    I disagree with you Harsha. Kallis will never captain South Africa and so can't match the contribution to the fate of his team in the same way as Sobers, or even Ponting. They may be equally fantastic players, but Sobers towards the end of his career had much more on his plate. For that reason, I dont think Kallis can stand with Sobers, and for the same reason, Tendulkar and Kallis cant stand with Ponting. Cricket is mostly a mental game and captaincy is the biggest part of that. However, in terms of ability, I agree with you.

  • on January 7, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Nice work Harsha... I am just amazed at looking how great Kallis's numbers are... he is simply great... Good on him and Yes for me ... he is the Sobers of my generation or more importantly he is the Kallis of my generation and I am honored to witness the likes of Tendulkar, Lara, Warne, Kallis and many more in my generation....