January 27, 2011

A question of greatness

Defining it is no easy task, since greatness can be reliant on time, place, context and memory. But it's time to acknowledge that Kallis has earned the mantle
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Great. Whether followed by "shot", "catch", "player" or "match", has any word suffered more grievously at the hands of the lamentable modern penchant for hyperbole? With the possible exception of "fantastic" and "tragic", I seriously doubt it. What was once merely "excellent" or "terrific" or "tremendous" or merely "very good indeed" is now described, unthinkingly yet unblinkingly, as "great". We could blame the radio and TV commentators, whose job is to fill endless hours and who lack the relative luxury of time afforded print or even online journalists, and hence choose their words less judiciously, but that would be too easy, too superficial, too unfair. To a greater or lesser extent, we are all guilty.

How, then, do we define greatness? Grandeur, sublimity, glory, nobility, illustriousness, renown, eminence, majesty - these are just a handful of the 52 alternatives proffered by my Collins Paperback Thesaurus. No fewer than 34 of those listed are qualitative descriptions, as opposed to quantitative. None, though, quite captures the word's lasting, even permanent, nature and stature. The best, most accurate, alternative would seem, therefore, to be "immortality". Or is it?

Greatness, arguably, can be temporary, reliant on time, place, context and folk memory - think Andrew Flintoff. Yet true greatness/immortality reaches down the generations, transcending time and defying trends. As such, there is no higher accomplishment, nor compliment. But how can we be sure that what strikes us as "great" now will endure in the memory and exert a similarly unrelenting grip on the imaginations of our sons and daughters, let alone those of their sons and daughters? As with all subjective judgements, beauty above all, can "greatness" be confined to the beholder's own perception and era? And is that greatness a lesser greatness? Does there have to be at least a modicum of unanimity? Questions, questions, unanswerable questions. Not that that stops us from trying to answer them. Nowhere, moreover, is this thirst to memorialise greater than in sport, where statistics, records and feats serve as guidance, even dictators.

One obvious way to ascertain the degree to which people are remembered, and the extent of their impact, is how we refer to them. Think Beethoven, Mozart, Shakespeare and Columbus, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Mandela and Gandhi - regardless of one's nationality, none of these worthies requires a forename for instant identification. Indeed, in some cases - Leonardo, Ludwig Van, Wolfgang Amadeus, Mahatma - the forename alone is sufficient. To students of cricket, the same applies to Grace, Hobbs, Bradman, Headley and Hutton, Miller, Worrell, Sobers and Gavaskar. Not solely because of their statistical achievements and the number of times they are mentioned in Wisden, but because of the virtues they embody: innovation, courage, determination, flair, beauty, leadership and, above all, heroism.

IT GETS TRICKIER, OF COURSE, when we try to assess those of our own time. From those of more recent vintage we could easily cite another mighty array of plinth-worthy pantheon-dwellers: The Richardses (BA and IVA); Wasim and Waqar; Lillee and Chappell (G); Ambrose, Walsh, Marshall and Holding; Imran, Kapil, Hadlee and Botham; Miandad, Lloyd and Greenidge. Yet formidable and unforgettable as they all undoubtedly were, do they resonate with us as much as they do because of their proximity? Distance, surely, is imperative.

Sure, sheer weight of numbers and video evidence virtually guarantees these icons varying portions of immortality, but then, for them, opportunity knocked that much louder and more insistently. Previous generations might just as easily trumpet the likes of Trumper, SF Barnes, Grimmett, O'Reilly, Larwood, Lindwall, Mankad, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Compton and Trueman and declare them to be vastly superior, safe in the knowledge that they could hardly be convincingly contradicted. And what of the likes of Mike Procter, Vintcent van der Bijl and the Pollock brethren, men remembered with awe by those who saw and played with them, but denied wider wonder by political circumstance?

One obvious way to ascertain the degree to which people are remembered is how we refer to them. Think Beethoven, Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Mandela and Gandhi -none of these worthies requires a forename for instant identification

Of the cricketers who have entranced and enchanted us during the course of this young century, four have left an impression deep and abiding enough to survive the passing of the decades and sustain memories even for those who will simply have to take our (and Wisden's) word for it: call them the Magnificent Quartet - Lara, Muralitharan, Tendulkar and Warne. Yes, this is partly because of the toweringly imperishable numbers with which they will forever be associated, but also because of the way they played, the obstacles they overcame and the millions they inspired, whether to watch or take up the game. By our biographies and columns and blogs and DVD collections shall they be immortalised.

To these names can be added a second tier of aspiring immortals: Donald, Dravid, Gilchrist, Kallis, Kumble, McGrath, Pollock (S), Ponting and Sehwag. Men whose attainments brook little or no argument but who perhaps lack nothing more definable than the magical aura of the aforementioned foursome. A century hence, which of them, if any, will still be recalled with the same reverence? If, in 1911, you had asked that question of George Lohmann, Johnny Briggs, George Giffen, "The Demon" Spofforth and Aubrey Faulkner, the notion that not one of them would have been included in a future Hall of Fame would have been greeted with a look of effrontery and a sharp blast of derision.

NONE OF THIS SECONDARY GROUP of contemporary idols divides opinion quite like Jacques Kallis. Which is decidedly curious, given that his figures - 23,000-plus runs, more than 500 wickets and nearly 300 catches in internationals - are much the weightiest and most compelling of anyone who has ever graced the game. During a rain delay in Sunday's final one-dayer between South Africa and India, one commentator touted him as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, whereupon another retorted that he was, at the very least, one of the greatest cricketers. What a strange sense of priorities. Then again, if there's one thing Jacques Kallis is accustomed to, it is faint praise.

Two factors have long obstructed what ought to be a serene passage to greatness. One, that, by most learned estimations, his most memorable-cum-valuable innings occurred as long ago as his seventh Test, at the MCG in 1997, when a precociously mature six-hour 101 kept McGrath and Warne at bay, halting Australia's seemingly inexorable march to victory. Cape Town beheld his finest match with the bat earlier this month when, in a contest wherein no team-mate reached 60 and only Tendulkar could be said to have combated the vicissitudes of the pitch with remotely the same masterly aplomb, he was last out for 161 in the first innings and unbeaten for 109 in the second. Unfortunately, in terms of posterity, the fact that these sublime stints resulted in neither victory nor heroic resistance is likely to deplete their memorableness.

The other factor is his facelessness. No stroke, delivery or even performance instantly conjures him up. More tellingly, has any other globally renowned sportsman ever been quite so anonymous? Not, certainly, since the advent of television and universal celebrity. Not for Kallis the hubristic trappings of a My Early Life (he plainly learned from Graeme Hick on that score). Hell, there hasn't been a ghosted autobiography, an authorised biography, nor even a critical hard-covered analysis of his deeds. This should not be taken as criticism but simply as a reflection of the reluctance to give him his due. That he has kept himself so resolutely to himself is to be admired - fervently so - but it hasn't helped his cause, stifling affection, without which the mantle of greatness never sits comfortably.

So let's set the record straight once and for all. The stats, for once, tell the absolute truth: Jacques Henry Kallis, humble, unaffected, undemonstrative, unyielding Jacques Henry Kallis, is one of the most exemplary competitive artists ever to pull on a pair of flannels. Uniquely, future generations will value him more than we do. And if that's not a definition of greatness, I give up.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY argylep on | January 30, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    Stats in my view are THE defining evidence of being a great player/cricketer. Kallis may not have the swagger of a Vivian Richards or the aura of a Brian Lara or the messianic status of Tendulkar but run for run, wicket for wicket, and for fielding (catching) skills his stats are phenomenal!! Based on these he is unquestionably and by some distance the best all rounder of his (and possibly any other) era and undeniably one of the greatest cricketers of all time. I've watched a lot of cricket and cricketers over the decades and as far as technique, application, determination, adaptability, he is easily the finest white batsman I have ever seen. Ask any opposition whose wicket they prize most and they will invariably say Kallis more often than any other batsman....but don't take my word for it!! ask Anderson (Eng) and Harbajan Singh (Ind) two of the best exponents of their art and they'll tell you he is the best bastman they've ever bowled to!!

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 30, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    Thankfully, somebody did see Light. Thankfully, this article considers McGrath as something as an 'aspiring' immortal & not actually immortal. He was the most pretentious 'fast' bowler I have ever seen. Not bowling fast at all & always relying TOO MUCH on his illustrious team-mates to take catches. Also the reason my favorite: Alan 'The White Lightening' Donald is also an 'aspiring' immortal is only just because of the team's over-reliance on him in the 1990s thus taking toll on his stamina/health. Imagine if he had played a 100 tests & not just 72. He would have easily blown McGrath's record away by a mile. Donald running in was a frightening sight for the unlucky hapless batsmen & an entertaining one for the spectators as Donald smiled & teased the batsman after the the ball had been bowled. He was the GENUINE fast bowler's very definition & plus he had the stats to prove it. Unfortunately in his early days when he in county cricket in the late 80s, SA was in apartheid or else...

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 30, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    I hope Kallis blasts at least three centuries in the 3-Test series vs AUS in Sept. That may not give the same level of satisfaction that I would have obtained witnessing him spanking Warne or McGrath (Unfortunately he never did) but at least that would make his stat against AUS respectable. But against the current AUS bowling, line-up it's perfectly possible.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | January 30, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    @SCHULZ: Most batsmen generally do well at home. The stats you quote vs. various opponents include ones at "home". The acid test for a player is how he plays the best in their own BACKyards. Here's the stats for the big guns:Tendulkar: In India: 6547 @ 56.9 In Aus: 1522 @ 58.5 In Eng: 1302 @ 62

    Lara: In India: 198@ 33.0 In Aus: 1469 @ 41.97 In Eng: 1268 @ 48.8

    Ponting: In India: 662 @ 26.5 In Aus: 6851 @ 60.1 In Eng: 1421 @ 41.8

    Kallis: In India: 760 @ 58 In Aus: 915 @ 46 In Eng: 586 @ 29

    As can be seen Tendulkar has by far the best universal record....followed by a narrow margin (yes surprise) Kallis,who shows almost as good adaptability to different conditions as Lara and Ponting....But , Tendulkar is by far the most adaptable batsman...across Time (longevity), across conditions (pitches, countries) , and across bowlers (he has faced by far the most varied and best bowlers for over 2 decades).

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 30, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Kallis may average 40-something TODAY against the AUS but eliminate the stats that he achieved against those bitter rivals from the 2008-2009 series just because that last series was the only series against AUS where he did not face the modern Bowling Greats (McGrath, Warne, even MacGill when it comes to spin) and check with what we are left with. On the Contrary just check how Sachin and Lara skewed the stats of those Bowling Greats.Therein lies our answer. But at the same time, Kallis' sheer amt of wickets in cricket give us a complete picture. My point: Sachin is the Greatest Batsman. Just check comments by Donald, Warne, Akram- the three personal greatest bowlers ever for me from past cricket or check views of the greatest metronomes ever - Pollock, McGrath. Kallis is complete cricket personified. He is real 'Mr. Cricket'. The only other guy worthy of this tag is the bowling all-rounder - Imran Khan and not Hussey. (I'm from Mumbai)

  • POSTED BY vanhunks on | January 30, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    I have to disagree on some people's opinions that Kallis isn't a great because there's no-one emulating him or little kids thinking they 'are' a little Kallis. Back home in SA he is held in a massive regard and coaches readily uses his batting technique as an example of solidity and class.

    South Africa has produced some great all-rounders over the years, like Procter, Pollock, Goddard and McMillan just to name a few. Kallis will top that list and he's also the reason South Africa will keep on producing great all-rounders.

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | January 30, 2011, 2:03 GMT

    Kallis is indeed great, without using the term on him. But, if Sachin and Sir Don Bradman are often spoken in the same breath, then I would compare the other batting 'immortals' to Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Sehwag. By 'immortals', I refer to the other batsmen, who played with Bradman in the Australian Team. Kallis unfortunately belongs in a team, where there is no other outstanding talent, apart from Daryl Steyn, today, if we also take the greatness of Kallis into account. In a team game, one is neither greater nor less than one's team-mates. Hence, belonging to a team of not exceptional talent, Kallis is also perceived similarly. Although, perceptions do not ultimately matter. It does not matter, whether some are seen as great, and others as not, because basically perception differs from person to person.

  • POSTED BY Schultz on | January 29, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    Lastly (this is for the doubters). Tendulkar averages 42 V Pakistan and 42 V South Africa.

    Ponting 44 V England and 47 v India.

    Both those players are greats (Tendulkar the greatest of all) but even they don't average over 50 against everyone. Kallis is comparable with Ponting (at least) but has 270 wickets as well.

    As for entertainment. I'll take Kallis' consistency and the reassurance I have when he's batting any day of the week. There's only one this worse than boredom -losing. Kallis has saved a brittle SA batting line-up too many times to count. Something Ponting has only had to do lately...no...wait...he only averages 42 over the past 18 months...my bad...

  • POSTED BY GoldenAsif on | January 29, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    Kallis has a great record, Soberesque, no doubt about that, but he is not an exciting player to watch (just my personal opinion), he is more of a solid technician rather a great entertainer and hence perhaps he does not get due recognition from cricket pundits and ex-greats alike

    And I absoutely agree with the following comments by crickifan and perhaps that is the difference. Greatness is not all about just numbers and stats

    'Rob I still think Kallis is in between that Very good and Great mark. He certainly don't fall in to that category because greatness depends on how a player influenced others to play cricket. I don't think any one will start playing cricket by looking at Kallis bowl or bat. Take Sachin, Lara, Viv, Imran Khan, Wasim etc they influenced the people watching the game in such a manner that the audiance will try to mimic or emulate them. Sorry I disagree with you in this regard'

  • POSTED BY argylep on | January 29, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    To continue with the batting discipline consider these averages!! He has achieved AND maintained a test match one of consistently around 55 for the last six to seven YEARS!!..markedly better than his contemporary rivals SRT, Punter, and Dravid..the last two of which are falling steadily.His cumulative ODI average is even better @ over 40 for the last TEN years!!! His first class stats are not exactly ordinary either @ nearly 56 per innings!! Just three currently "active" men have better figures two of which only just marginally. For a man who was once dropped by his own country from the T/20 format "because it didn't suit his game" then held the orange cap despite a supposedly and inferior strike rate!! as leading run scorer for much of last years IPL tournament, and his T20I average is significantly better than even the short game specialists. His World Cup stats a mere 51.27 place him ONLY!! fifth best in the all time list.

  • POSTED BY argylep on | January 30, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    Stats in my view are THE defining evidence of being a great player/cricketer. Kallis may not have the swagger of a Vivian Richards or the aura of a Brian Lara or the messianic status of Tendulkar but run for run, wicket for wicket, and for fielding (catching) skills his stats are phenomenal!! Based on these he is unquestionably and by some distance the best all rounder of his (and possibly any other) era and undeniably one of the greatest cricketers of all time. I've watched a lot of cricket and cricketers over the decades and as far as technique, application, determination, adaptability, he is easily the finest white batsman I have ever seen. Ask any opposition whose wicket they prize most and they will invariably say Kallis more often than any other batsman....but don't take my word for it!! ask Anderson (Eng) and Harbajan Singh (Ind) two of the best exponents of their art and they'll tell you he is the best bastman they've ever bowled to!!

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 30, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    Thankfully, somebody did see Light. Thankfully, this article considers McGrath as something as an 'aspiring' immortal & not actually immortal. He was the most pretentious 'fast' bowler I have ever seen. Not bowling fast at all & always relying TOO MUCH on his illustrious team-mates to take catches. Also the reason my favorite: Alan 'The White Lightening' Donald is also an 'aspiring' immortal is only just because of the team's over-reliance on him in the 1990s thus taking toll on his stamina/health. Imagine if he had played a 100 tests & not just 72. He would have easily blown McGrath's record away by a mile. Donald running in was a frightening sight for the unlucky hapless batsmen & an entertaining one for the spectators as Donald smiled & teased the batsman after the the ball had been bowled. He was the GENUINE fast bowler's very definition & plus he had the stats to prove it. Unfortunately in his early days when he in county cricket in the late 80s, SA was in apartheid or else...

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 30, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    I hope Kallis blasts at least three centuries in the 3-Test series vs AUS in Sept. That may not give the same level of satisfaction that I would have obtained witnessing him spanking Warne or McGrath (Unfortunately he never did) but at least that would make his stat against AUS respectable. But against the current AUS bowling, line-up it's perfectly possible.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | January 30, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    @SCHULZ: Most batsmen generally do well at home. The stats you quote vs. various opponents include ones at "home". The acid test for a player is how he plays the best in their own BACKyards. Here's the stats for the big guns:Tendulkar: In India: 6547 @ 56.9 In Aus: 1522 @ 58.5 In Eng: 1302 @ 62

    Lara: In India: 198@ 33.0 In Aus: 1469 @ 41.97 In Eng: 1268 @ 48.8

    Ponting: In India: 662 @ 26.5 In Aus: 6851 @ 60.1 In Eng: 1421 @ 41.8

    Kallis: In India: 760 @ 58 In Aus: 915 @ 46 In Eng: 586 @ 29

    As can be seen Tendulkar has by far the best universal record....followed by a narrow margin (yes surprise) Kallis,who shows almost as good adaptability to different conditions as Lara and Ponting....But , Tendulkar is by far the most adaptable batsman...across Time (longevity), across conditions (pitches, countries) , and across bowlers (he has faced by far the most varied and best bowlers for over 2 decades).

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 30, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Kallis may average 40-something TODAY against the AUS but eliminate the stats that he achieved against those bitter rivals from the 2008-2009 series just because that last series was the only series against AUS where he did not face the modern Bowling Greats (McGrath, Warne, even MacGill when it comes to spin) and check with what we are left with. On the Contrary just check how Sachin and Lara skewed the stats of those Bowling Greats.Therein lies our answer. But at the same time, Kallis' sheer amt of wickets in cricket give us a complete picture. My point: Sachin is the Greatest Batsman. Just check comments by Donald, Warne, Akram- the three personal greatest bowlers ever for me from past cricket or check views of the greatest metronomes ever - Pollock, McGrath. Kallis is complete cricket personified. He is real 'Mr. Cricket'. The only other guy worthy of this tag is the bowling all-rounder - Imran Khan and not Hussey. (I'm from Mumbai)

  • POSTED BY vanhunks on | January 30, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    I have to disagree on some people's opinions that Kallis isn't a great because there's no-one emulating him or little kids thinking they 'are' a little Kallis. Back home in SA he is held in a massive regard and coaches readily uses his batting technique as an example of solidity and class.

    South Africa has produced some great all-rounders over the years, like Procter, Pollock, Goddard and McMillan just to name a few. Kallis will top that list and he's also the reason South Africa will keep on producing great all-rounders.

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | January 30, 2011, 2:03 GMT

    Kallis is indeed great, without using the term on him. But, if Sachin and Sir Don Bradman are often spoken in the same breath, then I would compare the other batting 'immortals' to Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Sehwag. By 'immortals', I refer to the other batsmen, who played with Bradman in the Australian Team. Kallis unfortunately belongs in a team, where there is no other outstanding talent, apart from Daryl Steyn, today, if we also take the greatness of Kallis into account. In a team game, one is neither greater nor less than one's team-mates. Hence, belonging to a team of not exceptional talent, Kallis is also perceived similarly. Although, perceptions do not ultimately matter. It does not matter, whether some are seen as great, and others as not, because basically perception differs from person to person.

  • POSTED BY Schultz on | January 29, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    Lastly (this is for the doubters). Tendulkar averages 42 V Pakistan and 42 V South Africa.

    Ponting 44 V England and 47 v India.

    Both those players are greats (Tendulkar the greatest of all) but even they don't average over 50 against everyone. Kallis is comparable with Ponting (at least) but has 270 wickets as well.

    As for entertainment. I'll take Kallis' consistency and the reassurance I have when he's batting any day of the week. There's only one this worse than boredom -losing. Kallis has saved a brittle SA batting line-up too many times to count. Something Ponting has only had to do lately...no...wait...he only averages 42 over the past 18 months...my bad...

  • POSTED BY GoldenAsif on | January 29, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    Kallis has a great record, Soberesque, no doubt about that, but he is not an exciting player to watch (just my personal opinion), he is more of a solid technician rather a great entertainer and hence perhaps he does not get due recognition from cricket pundits and ex-greats alike

    And I absoutely agree with the following comments by crickifan and perhaps that is the difference. Greatness is not all about just numbers and stats

    'Rob I still think Kallis is in between that Very good and Great mark. He certainly don't fall in to that category because greatness depends on how a player influenced others to play cricket. I don't think any one will start playing cricket by looking at Kallis bowl or bat. Take Sachin, Lara, Viv, Imran Khan, Wasim etc they influenced the people watching the game in such a manner that the audiance will try to mimic or emulate them. Sorry I disagree with you in this regard'

  • POSTED BY argylep on | January 29, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    To continue with the batting discipline consider these averages!! He has achieved AND maintained a test match one of consistently around 55 for the last six to seven YEARS!!..markedly better than his contemporary rivals SRT, Punter, and Dravid..the last two of which are falling steadily.His cumulative ODI average is even better @ over 40 for the last TEN years!!! His first class stats are not exactly ordinary either @ nearly 56 per innings!! Just three currently "active" men have better figures two of which only just marginally. For a man who was once dropped by his own country from the T/20 format "because it didn't suit his game" then held the orange cap despite a supposedly and inferior strike rate!! as leading run scorer for much of last years IPL tournament, and his T20I average is significantly better than even the short game specialists. His World Cup stats a mere 51.27 place him ONLY!! fifth best in the all time list.

  • POSTED BY Schultz on | January 29, 2011, 21:29 GMT

    Just checked Kallis' V Aus and England.

    V Australia - 4 Hundreds, Average 40 (nearly 47 over the past 12 years). Bowling average of 37.

    He averged 38.8 v Warne, btw.

    V England -6 hundreds, Average 45. Averages 22 in England with the bat but 27 with the ball (again highlighting his ALL ROUND abilities).

    His poorest record is v Sri Lanka -averages 32. However, he hasn't played against them for 6-7 years.

    There are no holes in Kallis' achievements.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 29, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    The simple truth that Warne captured most of his wickets at his home pitches which are not exactly spin-friendly UNlike at Srilanka makes him greater than Murali. They same can be said about Srilanka Batsmen who are Tigers at home but Lambs overseas...err...even on IND pitches.

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 29, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    Kallis is a Batting All-Rounder and perhaps the greatest one at that. Even better than Sobers if stats are to be solely considered. The only reason Kallis' aura in the purely batting department diminishes a bit is because of his just-about-average stats against AUS who perhaps were the only team with the greatest bowlers of the last gone decade other than SA. And Kallis never had to face his own superior bowlers. And the one who faced both SA/AUS bowlers and yet passed the Test of Fire with flying colors was Sachin Tendulkar. And it does not matter that Tendulkar played most of his tests in the subcontinent. Because I was referring to only his OVERSEAS stats. And on a better note: To score more than 11,000 runs in both tests and ODIs especially after taking 250+ wickets in each of the two versions of cricket is a STUPENDOUS act. And so Kallis is a stupendous guy. I love Kallis.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | January 29, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    Kallis is a great "Batting allrounder" .Period. He is not as great a batsman as Bradman,Richards,Tendulkar etc. He is not as great a bowler as numerous others. He is not as great a "Bowling allrounder" as Imran,Hadlee etc.....In short: Kallis is a great "Batting allrounder"...everything else is hyperbole.

  • POSTED BY I-Mac on | January 29, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    Rob - excellent article. Peterhrt - hear hear! To add support to Kallis topping the pipe is the oft overlooked fact of longevity. JK has performed exceptionally with bat, ball and in the field over the past 15 year. Not many (if any?) others have achieved over such a length period. Some might claim that there is more cricket now than 30 years ago - i counter with there being more physical and mental pressure in the modern game hence the number of a la Flintoff breakdowns that we see today. Greatest batsmen of all time? there are a good few from which to chose. Greatest bowler of all time? Perhaps less to from which to chose (which begs the question should we not separate the spins from the quicks? How about medium pacers?). The greatest cricketer of all time? Anyone would be hard pressed not to put Kallis at the top of that list.

  • POSTED BY Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on | January 29, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    Just wanted to chime in. I'll never understand why ONE of the TWO greatest cricketers of all time (Kallis) is being compared with SOME of the MANY great or greater or greatest batsmen of all time (Sachin, Lara, Dravid, Bradman, Ponting, Gavaskar.....)? None of the players that we have seen so far can come close to Kallis and Sobers. These TWO greatest cricketers are as rounded as one can expect of a cricketer. Let us not do injustice to those great or greater or greatest batsmen or to Kallis by trying to compare them with Kallis. All those specialist batsmen and specialist bowlers are just half cricketers in comparison to Kapil, Imran, Hadlee, Botham and Clive Rice let alone comparing those specialists with Kallis and Sobers. Kallis is a rare phenomenon, an extension of Sir Gary. Let us all just thank Kallis for playing cricket. It will indeed be a sad day when this phenomenon called Kallis bids adieu to cricket. Sit back and let the greatness of this phenomenon be felt and understood.

  • POSTED BY sirvivfan on | January 28, 2011, 23:24 GMT

    Kallis is a true great cricketer, no doubt about it. I think from a batting view point you could argue that he is up there with Tendulkar and perhaps better given that he bats more than half his games on more testing pitches. Just imagine if he batted on Indian wickets half the time! Similarly you can argue fast bowlers who perform on dead pitches must be up with the greats eg Waqar, Wasim and Imran, Kapil Dev etc! However Stats are one metric of many. In my playing time the true great batsmen was Viv Richards ask all the best bowlers of his time! Kallis is up there with the greats though!

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    I have heard this guy is god of cricket and that guy is god of cricket, the god of cricket will be the player who excels and remains peerless in all disciplines of the game, i.e bowling, batting and fielding, so far there is none who can claim that, and we may never see one and he would always remain elusive to us. People have ignored that there are more to crciket than just batting and always keep lauding the batsmen. The bowlers have only a few wickets to show for against thousands of runs scored by batsmen, which is unfair, the bowlers skills are also shown the number of times they make bastmen clueless, but there is no stats for that! :(

  • POSTED BY Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on | January 28, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Rob, thank you for this great piece. Why are we even debating about the greatness of Kallis? The man is a Living Legend. As simple as that. He is one of the two Greatest Cricketers of all time alongside Sir Garfield Sobers. We get to see such cricketers only once in generations. Just don't compare these two greatest cricketers with anybody else. Not only their numbers are mind boggling but those mind boggling numbers don't even tell the complete story. When you add everything together, Kallis and Sir Gary stand in an exclusive club which cannot be touched by any of the past or present players, be it Bradman and Hammond in the distant past or Lara in the past or Sachin, Dravid and Ponting in the present. I hope and wish he scores more doubles (now that he has the luxury to play quick) and more than a couple of triples before he chooses to bid adieu.

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    I am pretty satisfied with your list Mr steen but one person is kinda not just odd but veryyy odd. You mentioned Sehwag as an aspiring immortal. I believe you were in your kidding mode when reached that stage of your article. Think about it again caz its kinda absurd. Maybe you can put him in a separate list of destructive immortal players comprised off Gilchrist, Gayle, Razzaq, Sehwag, Jayasurya, Watson, Gibbs etc.

  • POSTED BY JHK11 on | January 28, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    Good article... I am just so glad that the biggest player of the game has been acknowledged for his unparalleled body of work. It is a pleasant surprise that the comments made on this article are not as anti-kallis as some of the previous articles mustered. Minds appear to turn with figurative language. The sheer weight of numbers, consistency in performance, the mammoth proportions of the teams' runs and wickets in most of SAs matches, the number of man of the match performances, the performances that handed south africa their only multi-national ODI tournament victory and many many more were insufficient to make a mark in the minds of the self-proclaimed astute followers of the game. I am very happy for Kallis, the cricketer who got me interested in the game when I was 12. I saw something special in him then, the nature of which i obviously did not know; and continued following his progress. To the man who personifies cricket (in the connotative sense), Thank You Kallis.

  • POSTED BY baobabjim on | January 28, 2011, 17:53 GMT

    well, not sure I follow the "debate"...the guy is a Living Legend. Bat and Ball.

  • POSTED BY tjsimonsen on | January 28, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    @Force01: being an atheist in all walks of life, I don't take accusations of balsphemy that serious. Especially when it's with repect to hero worshipping, and especially when you misread what I said. With their watertight defence and more patient (boring according to some, but not me) style, I still think that Kallis and Dravid would have had a better chance of i.e. maintaining an average above 50 30-40 years ago. There are no flaws in Tendulkar's technique, I agree, or in Lara's for the matter. But nor was there in Lloyd's, Haynes', Greenidge's, May's, Cowdrey's, or Boycott's - to mention just a few. But neither of these averaged in the high 50s as a number of batsmen do today. I still doubt that most - if any modern batsman would have fared better under the same circumstances - and maintain that Kallis and Dravid would have stood the best chances.

  • POSTED BY tjsimonsen on | January 28, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    @Deepak Madhavan: I do think that the very best bowlers over the past 25yrs are amongs the best the game has ever seen. That doesn't mean that Murali, Warne, Wasim, Waqar, McGrath, Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, and Pollock are better then anyone before them. Probably only two of them (Murali and Wasim) would make it into my all time XI: the two other bowlers would be SF Barnes and Lillee with Sobers as the allrounder. But NONE of the modern batsmen (after Viv Richards) or keepers would make it. @Meety: You are right, I forgot Miller. My mistake.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | January 28, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    I am one of those who have always been wary of Kallis's greatness...And still am! Kallis is basically a very,very good to borderline Great batsman and a good bowler. He is perhaps the best "Batting allrounder" to play the game ,at least in the modern era...Any other judgement of Kallis seems a little over the top to me.

  • POSTED BY pakspin on | January 28, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Bradman, Laura, Kallis, VIV, Miandad, Imran, Gary, Gavasker, Tendulker (reluctantly because I think Dravid is a better batsman on non dead pitches) , Wasim (greatest bowler of all time period) Waqar, Murli, Warne, Ambrose, Lilliee, I know I am forgetting one or two from the West Indies team of the 80s..so These guys can be considered great players..and no one can match them.."Great" is over used..therefore only the above mentioned and maybe 1 or two more from West Indies and chapter closed..as I said I wouldn't just as equally take Tendulker out and put Dravid in

  • POSTED BY peterhrt on | January 28, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    Underrating South African cricketers is nothing new. Wisden's poll of 100 luminaries to pick their hundred cricketers of the 20th century saw South Africans receive 1.4% of the vote. Graeme Pollock's absence from the top table is often explained away by his Test career being halted before he could fully prove himself. He played more Tests than Headley; scored more centuries against Australia than Compton and the same number as Viv Richards. So did Barlow. The same charge is levelled, more reasonably, at Barry Richards who still made as many Test hundreds against the Aussies as Grace, and as many as Weekes and Worrell combined. The "4 outstanding all-rounders of the 1980s" were no better than their contemporary Rice and probably behind Procter who overlapped them and offered two styles of bowling. Van der Bijl's first-class bowling average is the lowest anywhere in the world since 1940. Steyn's strike rate surpasses all who have ever played 20 Tests or more. Unsung Kallis is not alone.

  • POSTED BY waspsting on | January 28, 2011, 15:08 GMT

    The weight of numbers qualifies Jacques Kallis as great - as it does Ken Barrington, Rahul Dravid, Javed Miandad and Andy Flower. He gives his teamates and teams supporters a sense of security - and the opposition and its fans a sense of depression. This is a different type of psychological 'hit' then the fear and inspiration created by say, Viv Richards or Sehwag, but I'd say its equally valuable.

    Still, if your looking to see why he isn't given his due, I can tell you in one sentence.

    Paraphrasing Neville Cardus, the Bradman of cricket writers, "I've never thought of an innings by Kallis which didn't immediatly disappear from my mind as soon as I thought of an innings by Lara, Tendulkar or Ponting".

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    i also think one of the reasons kallis has performed poorly ( by his standards) vs aus in aus in tests is because he had to face mcgrath and warne in almost all the matches, whereas , tendulkar faced mcgrath and warne in very few of the test matches [in aus] ( only the 99 series comes to mind). So thats probably the reason. Tendulkar was Mcgrath's bunny in ODI's , but he never faced him after 1999 in aus in a full test series [happy to be corrected , of course]. Please note, I am _not_ derogating Tendulkar, but merely trying to explain why Kallis's average vs aus in aus pales in comparison to sachin's. Similarly, Kallis never had to face Donald /Pollock/ Steyn/ Morkel, etc, so his average in SA in obviously higher than sachin's.

  • POSTED BY argylep on | January 28, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    As good as Rob Steens article is he omits one indication of greatness. Specific individual achievements & milestones. Lets just look at the statistical facts....Fifth best test match run aggregate, 40 test match centuries which will probably remain the second best of all time, excluding Trotts early incomparable figures the best test match batting average @ 57.43 of anyone currently playing the game, the only man to average 50 or more across the three combined iinternational first class formats, one of only two men since Bradman to score five enturies in five consecutive test matches - incredibly he came within six runs of doing it TWICE!!...sixth in the all time run aggregate for ODIs & with the exception of Lara scored in appreciably less time than others around/above him & discounting four long retired men the current sixth best ODI batting average @ 45.84. GREAT STATS for a truly GREAT player and thats just the batting!!! Enuff said!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    wonderfully written.Jaques a truly 'great' sportsman and ambassador fir hus nation.

  • POSTED BY blaster_boy on | January 28, 2011, 12:12 GMT

    i can't understand why we r comparing kallis , sachin , lara ,sobers , bradman...... with each other. they are all great.., but sir bradman & sir sobers were who taught sachin , kallis , lara .. how to play.

  • POSTED BY diamondjim170 on | January 28, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    Good definition of greatness but you say the most important attribute of great individuals is heroism. Heroes were at Gallipoli and El Alamein. Heroes risk their lives for others. Heroes playing test cricket NO!! Keith Miller and Hedley Verity may qualify.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | January 28, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    I have to admit that I'm one of those who have tended to under-rate Kallis over the years. I'm usually a pretty good judge of cricketing talent but occasionally one slips under the radar and you dismiss them as merely 'very good' and fail to see what's there, but I think my underestimation of him is the biggest blooper I've ever made. When Merv Hughes first played for OZ I thought he was rubbish but he went on to take 200 test wickets and establish himself as an icon of the era, but this Kallis thing is in a completely different league and his greatness simply cannot be denied. I really feel a wee bit silly about that, but he still bores the hell out of me and I guess that's the main reason for my blind spot right there. Still, I'd pick him in a flash if he was one of ours.....

  • POSTED BY pjd_Howzat on | January 28, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    Cricket is the discipline of Batting, Bowling, Fielding and it also has that fighting spirit/mind over matter/mental attribute that cannot really be classed as any of those. Al the aforementioned cricketers were great in one or two of these disciplines, plus possibly the last. So that would have made them great Batters, great Bowlers or great Fielders. None of them embodies all 3 disciplines like Kallis does and throw in his mental ability.

    So if you put all that together Kallis is the first Great Cricketer of all times.

    and if anyone says Jacques Kallis do not influence a team or an outcome, then just look at South Africa with and without Kallis.

    nough said!

  • POSTED BY NAP73 on | January 28, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    Yes, diri, I have to agree re Kallis being the most 'valuable' player in modern cricket. Except for captaincy, he has it all. Not just batting (where he is possibly only second in numbers to Tendulkar), but also very handy bowling (not just a part-timer like Tendulkar etc) and useful catching. The true all-rounder that would be first pick in my modern dream team. Then I would go for Tendulkar (really only a batsman) etc. Mind you, this does also throw up the old argument that perhaps modern cricket has become too slanted toward batsmen ... Bring back some of the old 'tricky' wickets to make it more fun...

  • POSTED BY highveldhillbilly on | January 28, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    Sobers was great BUT the guys strike rate per wicket was 91.9. That worse than Paul Harris. He'd have to bowl 153 overs to bowl out a side. How can you all say he'd get into the team for his bowling alone, that's a shocking strike rate!!! Kallis's strike rate is 67.9.

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    What a wonderfully written article!!! Sure no-one can argue with the fact that Jacques Kallis is one of, if not the greatest cricketer of all time!!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    In cricket, it seems as if the word 'Great' is kind of abused. Every now & then ppl say this gr8 n tht gr8. To be a great takes hell lot of things not mere flamboyances. Just think the cricketers mentioned here are some of very very fine to play this sport. That's it.

  • POSTED BY Force01 on | January 28, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    @tjsimonsen : A batsman's technique is a function of a number of variables, with the nature of the pitches that he has been exposed to being an important one among them. None of Sachin, Dravid or Kallis has played on the moist, uncovered pitches that you refer to. There are no obvious flaws in Sachin's technique which would place him at a disadvantage on those pitches. To suggest that Sachin would have struggled on these pitches while Dravid and Kallis would have flourished borders on the blasphemous. It is but natural for anyone to feel that players of their era were the best without objectively analyzing statistics and records. I could go on record stating that the Warnes and Muralis would have wiped the floor with the Richardses, the Headleys and the Sutcliffses. It is easy to make such sweeping statements but easier to refute them.

  • POSTED BY diri on | January 28, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    There are some silly comments that kallis has not scored many double centuries and hence you cannot call him a great.... that is crap!!!! dont you think for some who doesnt get huge 200 or 300 ( which inflates the average)on flat indian pitches he has a amazing average. That shows he is the most consistant player in the history of the game...consistency over a prolonged period is another characteristic of greatness...

  • POSTED BY diri on | January 28, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    The coments about kallis,s strike rate are unfair. I remember at the start of his career when he started playing domestic cricket he was an amazing striker of the ball and had all the shots in the book. He never held back, But when he made the SA team in the mid 90,s the batting order was unstable and he had to change his game for the teams sake. He had to value his wicket much more and hence take less risk....but he addaped well. Is this not a sign of greatness??? this is why sehwag, Gillcrest ect are not in kallis class. They had 1 gear and could never addapt the way kallis did. To me this is a sign of true greatness

  • POSTED BY diri on | January 28, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    What a " GREAT " article!!!!! I always believed kallis was the most valuable player in the world . I always believed he should be picked in any team before Lara and sachin. But nobody took what i said seriously......and now after many years the world has seen what i saw a long time ago....everyone sees Kallis is the king and will always be king. we will never get another player like him in our lifetime. It makes me sad that he is only getting the recognition now when his time is almost up. If only he was born in India he would be the god of cricket and not Sachin. Lets injoy the next 2years of watching kallis because we wont see anything like it again :-(

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | January 28, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Kallis is a legend! @bentarm and@titansnights, don't be nasty, you're so far off. @bentarm - calling Eng a great attack is such a joke, keep walking. @titansnights, sure, Tecndulkar will break records for playing for 20 years, but he is who he is and Kallis is a much better all-round cricketer, end of that

  • POSTED BY whatthecook on | January 28, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    indeed, kallis takes his place quite rightly amongst the greats of the game. the wickets allied to the monumentous amount of runs scored!! kallis is undoubtebly up there when you speak about the giants of cricket! stats are the reason a cricketer is remembered above anything else! however..... when you come to consider the pantheons of the game you have to consider the individual series, as well as the averages. for example, kaluwitharana and jayasuriya changed the role of the opening batsmen in one day cricket as well as the role of the keeper, gilchrist took it a stage further, as well as being the chief destroyer in the all conquering australian team! of these players only gilchist and kallis can be named as greats, but, flintoff's all round performance against the 'great' australian side in 2005 can be considered as bringing down an empire? it was not by any means single handed but he was the only cricketer in 15 years that the australians feared!!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | January 28, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Kallis is a great cricketer in terms of runs and wickets. However, professional cricket is part of the entertainment industry. The players get paid because people are prepared to pay to watch them. By that standard, although Kallis is still a very good cricketer, he's not one of the players whom people go to matches to see. Sobers, Viv Richards, Tendulkar, Warne- people would go to a game just to watch them, regardless of the other 21 people playing. The article mentioned Trumper; his statistics are nowhere near what one would expect from a legend of the game, yet he is still remembered as one of the greats a century after he played. The best way I can put it is that Kallis is a supremely competent cricketer. What he is not is inspired.

  • POSTED BY David_Boon on | January 28, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    @Roger_Allott

    You're the first to care.

    Kallis is definately up there, he's just so boring and perhaps selfish that he never recieved the recognition.

    Also, Glenn McGrath isn't in the second tier of ANYTHING. To group him with Anil Kumble and Dravid is a downright insult. Disgraceful.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 28, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    @tjsimonsen - I don't think Kallis can be compared to Sobers or even Miller. Kallis is a Great (dare I say it context of the article!) Batsmen who bowls well & was a great (said it again!) slipsman. Kallis is the bowler "only" takes about 2 wickets a test & his stats are skewed with good cheap hauls against minnows. Up until a year ago - I would of put him behind 1.SRT, 2.Lara, 3. Punter - level with Dravid as the best batsmen of my time. I think he is at the very least level with Punter now. Miller use to open the bowling & bat at 5 or 6 for Oz, & was a fantastic fielder (before back injuries slowed him a touch) & I think with Imran Khan are ahead of Kallis in terms of being an allrounder.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | January 28, 2011, 0:54 GMT

    Steen comes as close as anybody can to nailing the case for Kallis' greatness. Unfortunately, as all too many have pointed out in this forum, it goes beyond numbers, man-of-the-match awards and other important stats to an ineffable quality that Kallis does not seem to have: the ability to excite fans, to draw their eyes to you and just you when you are plying your trade, whether its bowling, batting or fielding. If its close to midnight, I'm desperately sleepy, I have a ton of work looming up for the next morning, and Kallis comes into bat, I am switching off the telly and will catch up on what he did the next day on Cricinfo. Same situation, but its Sir Garry out there in the middle taking guard, I say "tomorrow be damned, I am not going to miss one moment of this. This is what one lives for."

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    I rate him higher than Tendulkar. 2nd best allrounder in the history of test cricket. 2nd to only Sobers.

  • POSTED BY whoster on | January 28, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    Splendid article. Kallis truly is a great player, and the evidence of his statistics overwhelmingly say so. Never gets due praise because he doesn't have the flair of a Sobers or a Botham - but he's been consistently world class with bat and ball for a very long time. As a batsman alone, he can be considered a great. As an all rounder - well, you simply cannot argue with his figures.

  • POSTED BY on | January 28, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    I reckon the only way to compare players of such stature is by the attractiveness of their better halves. Ergo, Kallis wins by country mile.

  • POSTED BY Schultz on | January 28, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    As an interesting aside, the only man to hit more 6s in test cricket than Kallis is Gilchrist. Go figure. Again, Kallis has AVERAGED 47 v The Australians over the last 12 years. He did poorly in his first 3 years against them (bringing his overally stats down to 40). As for 29 against England in England? So what? He averages 42 against England overall. You don't have to be perfect against ALL opponents on EVERY surface to be great. Warne struggled in India, yet he is acknowleged as a great. Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting are the top 3 best batsmen in the modern era. Kallis is the best all rounder (comparably with Sobers -at least his equal, if not as flamboyant). Kallis, possibly being the 4th best batsman in the past 30 years would make him great already if you don't even think of his 270 wickets at 32- had he played 20 years ago he may have had a Bat Avg of 45 but 400+ wickets at under 30. Kallis is a great, by any measure. To deny this is ridiculous, to say the least.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    @tjsimonsen - well if all those yesteryear batsmen were so much better than the current ones bcoz of all the factors u cited..then all the great bowlers were as great asthey r thought to be and todays bowleers with all the restrictions, volume of cricket, bats, smaller grounds, dead pitches are that much more better than oldies and deserve a shoo in to all time XI'..whatddya say?

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    Where have you been mr. Steen? Only a well organized article of this magnitude can give THE MAN(kallis) his dues. Excellent article, highly recommended!

  • POSTED BY Antir on | January 27, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    Jaques Kallis is indeed one of the greats. His contribution to the game may not be flamboyance but it is a great example that all young people should follow. Playing cricket and having fun is batting to get runs, bowling to get wickets and fielding to take catches. To do this effectively without gaining much media attention is an achievement that is admirable. Especially in this day and age of glory hunting. The quality of being there and being reliable is a cricketing value that has been lost in the modern era. Just because Kallis doesnt look pretty does not mean he does not look good batting. I have admired for years his technique and power. His bowling is beautiful to watch with its line, length and the right variations to get the opposition batsmen out. When the catch is going to Kallis you give up before he has even caught it. His contribution is to exemplify the way cricket should be played and enjoyed.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 22:03 GMT

    Rob that link you gave to the Aus game at the MCG actually goes to another game - SA vs Pakistan at Rawalpindi 1997/1998. Thanks for the nice piece. I sat next to the man on a flight to Cape Town many years ago and he was the nicest guy you could hope to meet.

  • POSTED BY insightfulcricketer on | January 27, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    I am an Indian fan but I consider myself lucky .. no ..its privileged to have watched a great series where Sachin and Kallis played like giants of cricket. The skills ,the serenity and the pressuire soaking these guys exhibited made me realize why these guys will be spoken of more when they are not around. I hope SA fans cherish Kallis because it will be aeons before anybody half like him comes around again. For those belittling attacks should have watched the bowling of Zaheer, Steyn,Morkel and Sreesanth in Cape Town and Durban - not an inch given. You wanted to see a farce one had to wait for the evening and see what was going on in Australia. Two team splaying sub-standard cricket -atleast one the other was made to look great by other's in-effectuality.

  • POSTED BY Roger_Allott on | January 27, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    Am I the first one to mention that Gandhi's forename was not 'Mahatma'?

  • POSTED BY SzlyAr on | January 27, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    One of the unsung greats that the game of Cricket ever witnessed. People has talked about the Laras, the Sachins, the Waughs (S), the Inzamams, but without making much noise, no one noticed the greatness of Kallis. I read in one of the articles on here before the start of the SA Vs Ind about the comparison that both the sides bring. One of the columnist was talking about how Sachin has been in the form of his life and so has Kallis...has he been ever out of form? That question itself answers his greatness. He is up there with Sir Sobers.

  • POSTED BY rupertjay on | January 27, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    I have always been amazed at the tendency of sports fans,in particular,to confuse emotionalism with objectivity.Kallis,by his achievements ,and despite his dour personality,even when reflected in his batting,ranks among the greatest cricketers of all time,second only to the very greatest,Sir Garfield Sobers,my personal idol. Does productive stolidity not count for anything in today's fast food,flash and dash world?

  • POSTED BY ZimbabweanGiraffe on | January 27, 2011, 20:30 GMT

    I really wish all the people talking of how he underperformed against the better teams would stop. Over the last 12 years he has averaged above 50 IN Australia which is pretty awesome, nobody can deny that. And over the same period he has averaged higher than ANYONE, even if you remove tests against Zimababwe and Bangladesh.

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | January 27, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    Kallis is a legend! @bentarm and@titansnights, don't be nasty, you're so far off. @bentarm - calling Eng a great attack is such a joke, keep walking. @titansnights, sure, Tecndulkar will break records for playing for 20 years, but he is who he is and Kallis is a much better all-round cricketer, end of that

  • POSTED BY tjsimonsen on | January 27, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    Still, I think that Sobers is slightly ahead compared to Kallis. Although Kallis probably could have made it into the SA side as a bowler alone in the late 90s early 00s. Sobers would probably have made it into the WI side as a batsman, seamer/swing bowler, or spinner. No-one else in the long history of the game can claim that.

  • POSTED BY tjsimonsen on | January 27, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    @titansnights: No, that's not it by any means. Bradman, Headley, Pollock, Sutcliff, the three Ws, Sobers, Richards (both), Hammond, Hobbs, Hutton and probably Trumper were better batsmen than any playing the game today given both thier stats, the impact they had, and the conditions they played under (worse, much worse, pitches, lower quality equipment, no extra protection). How Sachin could squezze into ESPNCricinfo's all time team ahead for Headley is beyond explanation (apart from pleasing his fans). I'd like to see any modern batsman facingthe likes of Hall, Griffith, Trueman or Tyson on a moist, uncovered pitch - with bats and protection gear from the 50s and 60s! The "boring" Kallis and Dravid are probably the only ones who would get away realitevly unharmed. Good to see that Kallis finally gets some overdue recognition, He has been best cricketer for the past 25 years. If he's not great, then no-one during that period has been.

  • POSTED BY Schultz on | January 27, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    The thing is: Kallis has averaged 47 against Aus in the last 12 years with 4 hundreds (getting better over the last 5+). He averages over 50 in Australia. He has done well against England, too (averages 42 -this is brought down somewhat by a poor tour in 2007/8). Kallis has done consistently well v all opponents. He has hardly played v Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. He is an all time great. Had he been an Australian, Indian or English he would have been universally acknowledged as such. Greatness is not only defined by flamboyance. Without him SA would have been in trouble over a decade. ANY team would love to have him (including Aus at its peak). Btw, Ponting NEVER had to face Warne and McGrath (great as he is as well), Kallis did and did ok (struggled first 2 years, averaged 47 against them next 12).

  • POSTED BY docgtb on | January 27, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    kallis is a true great.his contribution to southafrica is unbelievable

  • POSTED BY liz1558 on | January 27, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    Partly tbe reason that he's not got the recognition, especially in England, is because his performances here have been distinctly below par - 12 tests, 1 hundred, and an average of 29 with the bat. Also his record against Australia, regardless of one great innings, falls a long way short of his overall record, which is a lot better against the weaker bowling attacks (the current India attack included). He's a bit like Ken Barrington- statistically great, reliable and incredibly consistent, but lacking that Lara/Tendulkar/Viv Richards/Conpton-like brilliance that produces spell-binding innings consistently, that live in the memory, intimidate opponents and mark them out as the best batsmen of all time.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    noting more to say... tendulkar, walsh, bradman, gilchrest, ponting, donald, akram... all great at batting or bowling-kallis is the greatest all rounder ever and will ever be...

  • POSTED BY the_Srikanth on | January 27, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    You started your article with - Great. Whether followed by "shot", "catch", "player" or "match" - where is ball, you mentioned shot and catch but not ball. That pretty much summarizes why Kallis is not acknowledged as the greatest cricketer of this era, even thought he clearly deserves to be there. People forget his contributions with the ball as he has been continuously overshadowed by the likes of Donald, Pollock, Ntini and Steyn. If he were an Indian, he would spearhead their bowling attack. ok His current test and ODI average is better than Sachin's, more catches than Sachin, and far more wickets. He even plays T20 cricket at this age and does not use the luxury of resting himself for numerous ODIs like Sachin to keep himself fit. And he has been phenomenal in the IPLs as well, atleast 2 and 3. Open your eyes to the statistical facts and give the man his due.

  • POSTED BY mark_in_spain on | January 27, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    Greatness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, surely. For me, Keith Boyce was the greatest cricketer ever to draw breath, and Esther Mondéjar Martínez is the most beautiful woman ever to have walked this earth, but I fully expect never to meet another human who shares these two opinions.

  • POSTED BY peterhrt on | January 27, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    Cricketers' reputations become distorted by overall statistics overriding contemporary accounts. Some rate higher now than when they were playing, like Bradman, Sutcliffe and Barrington. Arlott and several others ranked Bradman below Hobbs due to his inability to conquer poor pitches. Sutcliffe admitted he was not technically in the highest class. Barrington was considered at the time to be vulnerable to the best bowling in English conditions. In 16 home Tests against West Indies and South Africa he averaged 29. Those whose reputations have faded disproportionately include Ranji, Tom Richardson, Godfrey Evans, Herbie Taylor, George Challenor, Macartney, McCabe and Bedi. Objective analysis shows Warne was nothing like as consistent as O'Reilly, nor Lillee as potent on all pitches as the West Indians or McGrath. Their media-led images claim otherwise. Kallis will join the first group, appreciated more by future generations - though under two wickets per Test suggests a reluctant bowler.

  • POSTED BY RichardDeGroenFan on | January 27, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    These chats are so funny. I absolutely love the passion. On the other article published about Kallis there are comments saying that Kallis has never done anything in big games like world cups so can not go down as a great. Makes me feel sorry for Tendulkar, Lara and anyone else who has not played for Australia for the past 15 odd years or three world cups - sorry guys, none of you can be great apparently...

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | January 27, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    Kallis ,is the greatest South African Cricketer of all.He does not posess the natural talent of Gary Sobers who was a far more versatile bolwer and a far more attacking batsman.However at his best Kallis has given some Soberseque performances and his bolwing was very effective.Today's wickets hardly offer assistance and Kallis used to often carry the load of the stock bowler.Kallis was nowehere as great a match-winner as Sobers as an allrounder or Viv Richards with the bat but when the chips were down he could have equalled them.Also take into account Kallis' superb one day figures.With greater opportunity with the ball on the wickets of the 1980's he may well have matched Ian Botham or Imran Khan's all-round prowess.Toady as a cricketer he gives Tendulkar a run for his money.Kallis comes close to being the best cricketer after the retirement of the King,Sir Garfield Sobers-the greatest of them all.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | January 27, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Without doubt one of the greatest cricketers of alltime,who would have been a great player in any era whether in the 1940's,1960's or 1980's with the gt.4 allrounders.Staistically,the best allrounder of all and morally the best batting allrounder with Gary Sobers.His batting has displayed phenomenal consistency in a crisis,reminding you of the tenacity of great batsmen like Miandad,Steve Waugh and Border when the chips were down.His batting alone could win him a place in a an all-time side.In weathering a storm he was Sober's equal as a batsman ,if not better.Sadly, his bowling has declined but remember he has hardly got an opportunity in such a competitve attack.Since he has hardly performed outstandingly with ball and bat in the same series the likes of Sobers,Botham,Imran and Miller edge him as an allrounder.However adding his recent performances overall as a cricketer he may rank amongst the top dozen cricketers of all,edging the likes of Botham ,Miller and Hadlee.

  • POSTED BY reeksrok on | January 27, 2011, 17:28 GMT

    As a young kid about 10 years ago I immortalised four people: Tendulkar for the sheer aura he created on stage and Lara for I saw the strokes that mesmerised me. Two others I loved to watch and support and whom the rest of the world had not included in their hall of fame: Kallis and Nathan Astle. I watched these two people with the same adore as the great lara and tendulkar. Kallis was merely a figure of stability back in those days but the way he played was always the picture perfect batsman i still idolize. Nathan astle may have gone in to wilderness but he was the attacking batsman i adored to watch. But i am happy that the young man in me was able to pick kallis and happy that i have followed him and heres hoping he plays great knocks in the time to come

  • POSTED BY nlambda on | January 27, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    Kallis' performance against Australia at their peak was ordinary. This is one reason he is not considered as great a player as Lara and SRT who took on the Aussies at their most invincible. Kallis also tends to bat in a "bubble" at a steady risk free rate which sometimes (remember WC 2007 against Aus) is just against team needs. A great accumulator of runs. But is he really in the same league as SRT, Lara, Ponting etc.?

  • POSTED BY Scgboy on | January 27, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    well written article and even though I am an Australian ,I concur fully.He's in a funny way what you would term a quiet achiever.Gets the job done with a minimum of fuss.No doubting the excellence though.its i guess in key , with his over all persona , thats his greatest achievements , have come in the manner they have.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    @bentarm: He is a minnow basher you say? If you refer to the stats article by S Rajesh: "Jacques Kallis: Take a Bow" You see that Kallis' Test average against all teams EXCLUDING Bangladesh and Zim is 8 runs higher than that of Tendulkar's. Hence the difference between Kallis and Tendulkar's average grows a lot bigger when you take out the minnows from the equation.

  • POSTED BY Milind_Jadhav on | January 27, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    I cannot imagine that greatness is all about numbers. Where do attributes like humility, respect for the opponent, magnanimity and such like things figure? Attitude displayed by Kallis towards Tendulkar when the latter scored the 50th century was churlish to say the least. He can perhaps be excused for his excitement for scoring his first double hundred in 143 tests but then a person playing at the highest level needs to bear in mind that he is an icon and all of his actions are watched by millions of hopefuls. A few words of praise would have earned him far more respect rather than saying that other players too made valuable contribution or something to that effect. How can he be called a great if he cannot be a "role-model"!

  • POSTED BY va_jatt on | January 27, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    KALLIS is a great batsman.. without any doubt.. but i hate when people start compairing every single player with SRT.. I AM BIG SACHIN FAN.. but when read a certain article about a certain player you should talk about the same player not compare the player with SRT. anyway i do think that kallis deserve much more than this.. he is best SA player ever.... wish u good luck for world cup go kallis scores some more centuries

  • POSTED BY Chapelau on | January 27, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    @Brendon Lillis - as an English fan I have to say that Kallis is the world's outstanding player right now and as a test all rounder is in a class of his own. Flintoff was good and a "talisman" but not great. I would definitely put Kallis into the greats of all time, not with Bradman, but at least comparable to the "great" Sobers.

  • POSTED BY Paulk on | January 27, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    I think there are different kinds of greatness. In Kallis' case it is his body of work overall at the highest level of the game that puts him right up there with the greatest in history. A different kind of greatness is Gilly who sets your pulses racing in expectation every time he walks to the wicket and rarely fails to live up to that expectation (except towards the end of his career). In my book the are both up there with the greatest in history.

  • POSTED BY pete101 on | January 27, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    Lets take country of origin, hype and when a 'great' played out of the discussion. Lets look at the most simplest of questions. If you were a captain, and could pick any side of any era. Who would be the first person you would pick in your team?

    a great batsman, great bowler or fielder? Would you not pick a player that on an average day will take wickets possibly a catch or two and score 40-60 runs in the game. Isn't that more valuable than a hundred or 50-60 runs in a game. Your 'match winners' (Sehwag, Lara, Tendulkar...) will take a game away from you from time to time. But once again on average, the all-rounder will get you into a commanding position more often than a match winner. Surely the greatest player should be measured on the most value to a team. So who's the most valuable player? Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Jacques Kallis? Kallis for me is the most complete all-rounder that would be in any side for either batting or bowling. very interesting article. Nice one.

  • POSTED BY Tsotsi on | January 27, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Vakbar - you say that Tendulkar and Kallis are on different planets when you look at their records, which records would these be? The ones that show Kallis has scored more runs than Tendulkar during the last decade at a better average? The ones that show that Kallis has scored more centuries in the last decade? The ones that show that he has taken more wickets in the last decade? Kallis has Scored 8630 runs at an average of 58,7 and took 205 wickets while Tendulkar scored 7129 runs at an average of 53,2 and took 31 wickets. These are facts and not emotional projections.

  • POSTED BY chishtyirfan on | January 27, 2011, 15:59 GMT

    I have no doubt he is one of the greatest of all time and greatest of modern generation. If you follow his betting bowling feilding records. His contribution for south african cricket is un matchble.

  • POSTED BY jupiterlaw on | January 27, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    Let greatness be determined by the career numbers that they left behind. When it is determined through the prism of human judgement, it is bound to be biased because greatness, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. The British would tell you that Ghandi was a rebel who deserved to be hanged, yet the Indians will say that he was their freedom fighter and one of the world's great men. Go figure it.

  • POSTED BY PradeepR on | January 27, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    For us Indian cricket fans there was a time when a game of cricket involving India began and ended with Sachin's batting. When he got out the television was either promptly turned off or switched to another channel. I wonder if Kallis ever had the same kind of magical effect in SA.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    Undoubtedly and arguably, the most consistent performer of this era! He has certainly achieved the greatness he deserves! Hats off to him! Everybody might not agree with me, especially the Indians but for me, Kallis is better than Tendulkar, why? The reason being, most of Kallis's century have been match winning ones, Kallis plays well under pressure and Kallis also bowls his medium pacers, he has been doing so since his debut, its not easy to bowl medium pace in every match and then bat, bat like Kallis does! Impossible for anybody to even come near to his hallmarks! As an allrounder, he is number 1 for me. Whereas Tendulkar's century have mostly been to the losing cause! Tendulkar rarely bowls and he is not an allrounder. Tendulkar is next to Kallis for me! but he is also the greatest batsman, and Kallis is undoubtedly the greatest allrounder and cricketer of this era!

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    In batting his class can be compared to Dravid. In bowling his skills can be compared to flintoff. He is such a great alround allrounder and to deny that someone should have narrow mind to appreciate the broad achievement of Kallis. If someone thinks entertainment is all about hitting in few matches without consistency then you need to appreciate only hard hitters and not class batsmen like Kallis.

  • POSTED BY Micky_Panda on | January 27, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    One of the most important stats should be how often a player was the main man in winning the match or avoiding defeat. If a player makes a big score, but too slowly to result in a win or avoid defeat, it goes to waste. Kallis has certainly been a great player in the Test arena through being very solid and reliable. He would have been a trully great player in the top echelon if he could have pushed his run-rate a little more. Kallis has not been well suited to 20-Twenty matches as when he makes a big score, his team usually loses through the run rate being too slow. Kallis should bat with a higher strike rate for the good of the team, in limited over formats. Some of the other great batsmen were also a rather too slow. Its easy to love players like Sehwag and Gilchrist who would never throw away a limited over match win through batting too conservatively.

  • POSTED BY Sharqy99 on | January 27, 2011, 15:18 GMT

    The most important yardstick is 'Worldwide Impact'! Kallis surely falls well behind when compared to the other greats mentioned in this article in terms of inspiring people across the world to pursue excellence in whatever they do.

  • POSTED BY Engle on | January 27, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    Greatness is bestowed upon you NATURALLY.

    If you have to argue and justify your case, then you lose the argument-the person cannot be classified as a great. The more you argue, the more you lose.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | January 27, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    cont`d . What scares an opposition is a player who is going to win a match, perhaps a series; the knowledge that in a 3 or 4 test series he (Lara, Tendulkar, Imran, Bradman) is going to win a match and there`s not much that can be done about it. Kallis, throughout his incredible career has not concerned other teams in quite this way.

    World XIs. I didn`t have Kallis in mine. Perhaps the only player who I think can`t be left out of one is Bradman, although Sobers and Sachin would have to come close. But Kallis would be an automatic selection in any national team that`s ever played the game. Where could you play him in a World XI though? He`s not in the best 5 No 3s or 4s to have played the game, he`s not a 5 or 6. He`s not a matchwinner at 7 (Sobers, Botham, Imran, Miller, Hadlee).He obviously doesn`t get there as a bowler.

    So strangely, one of the best ever all-round players, for mine, is not one of the greats. Just one of the best to have played the game.

  • POSTED BY HostileJ on | January 27, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    Fully agree with Kevin Harris. Kallis doesnt blow the cover off any bowling attack like a Tendulkar, Bradman, Ponting etc.. Neither does he smash through batting line-ups like murali, steyn, mcgrath, warne etc.. But on average, he gives his side almost 60 runs every time he goes in to bat; takes a wicket for every 27 runs he concede; and most probably take 1 catch for every 6 wickets another bowler in the team gets... He will probably have 30,000 international runs, 600 international wickets and around 600 international catches by the time he retires. THAT, is what makes Jacques Kallis the greatest, most complete allround cricketer of all time.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | January 27, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    RohCricket: Then Shahid Afridi is great! Imran Nazir is great! Rahul Dravid is not great. Hanif Mohammed is not great. Sunil Gavaskar is not great. Steve Waugh is not great. Herbert Sutcliffe is not great. EVERYBODY CAN'T BE A VIV RICHARDS MATE! There is one and only one Viv Richards. Gilchrist and Sehwag come close.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    @ Rohcricket:

    What a completely ridiculous comment! How can you say that when you think of great all rounders, Kallis doesn't come to mind|?! He has better all-round figures than everyone you have mentioned.

    Do yourself a favor and go and look who has held the #1 position in the rankings for all-rounders the most in the past decade (and is the current holder of both the test batting AND test all-rounder #1 ranking - batting shared with Sehwag).

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | January 27, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    cont`d. Performance against the best - well that`s been Australia in both forms of the game for almost all of Kallis` career. OK, perhaps it`s not entirely fair to cherry pick figures in this way, but it`s a significant sample.

    24 tests, 1 MOM award, average 40 with the bat, 36 with the ball. 47 ODIs, 2 MOM awards, 33 with the bat, 50 with the ball.

    Overall, 36 with the bat, 42 with the ball. 5 centuries (114HS), best bowling 3-22.

    Not bad figures at all, but not the sort of stuff that keeps opposing captains awake at night. My memory, as for Rooboy(?), who admittedly came to a different conclusion, is of expecting Kallis in a 3 test series against Aus to score 250-300 runs, take 7-8 wickets (some important ones), and some very good catches. And that`s invariably what he did. No less, but never any more. That sort of stuff never scares the best.

  • POSTED BY RichardDeGroenFan on | January 27, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Is there a support group out there for sufferers of LOST or Love Obsession of Sachin Tendulkar? Seriously guys, form a club. VAKBAR you could be chairman. We all acknowledge Tendulkar is amazing but there are other great players also. Some of them are not even Indian (insert gasp here...).

    Kallis has been an increadible and underated player for a very long time. Statistically he is virtually unrivaled and speak for themselves. Those who say he has played on bouncy decks etc. I am pretty sure the Aussies also did. The sub contenint teams play on roads and the POMs/Kiwis play on seamer friendly strips - there is reason to pull apart all stats if you try to.

    He is surely one of the best bats of our generation and a more than handy bowler (better average than Flintoff, Vettori and any Australian spinner since Warne) and has spent the majority of his time running into the wind. Pretty hand in the slips too.

    Great article. Great player. Thanks JK

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | January 27, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    cont`d, Kallis and Dravid suffer in comparison here, because they`re not going to take the game away from you quickly, like Sobers, Bradman or Tendulkar, Sehwag or Gilchrist. I think a fair perception of Kallis has often been that he struggles to up the tempo when required. Great batsmen can do this and are feared for it.

    The other thing that frightens oppositions is the ability to `bat big` (in the modern parlance) - to score double or triple centuries. Bradman (12), Lara (9) and more recently Sehwag(6) are the exemplars here. As we know, Kallis scored his first double recently. This also counts against him in the `perception of greatness`stakes.

    Kallis hasn`t captained his side. Bowlers aside, most of those regarded as greats have. (Refer to the Cricinfo World 1st and 2nd XIs) There can be few sports where captaincy is as demanding. It`s not entirely in jest when incoming Australian captains are reminded that they`ve assumed the most important job in the country.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | January 27, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Fantastic article, lots of interesting posts(Jaundiced_Observer et al).Just a few things I`d like to mention; strike rates, captaincy, performance against the best and world XIs - all subjects which have been referred to already. I`ll preface these comments by saying that I`ve watched Kallis for many years, including his recent brilliant and stirring performances against India.

    Kallis` strike rate in tests is about 45, just ahead of Dravid (42), well behind Tendulkar (54), Ponting and Lara (60) or the freakish Sehwag (80). Figures for players from earlier eras is difficult or impossible to calculate,and even exact stats for some of Sachin`s earlier tests are unavailable. Nevertheless, for a group of near contemporaries, who average about the same,these numbers are not insignificant.

    Sehwag is a slightly unusual case, (John McEnroe`s doubles partner, Fleming? springs to mind - the man without a second serve) in that he plays the same whatever the situation.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    HE is the greatest BORING cricketer i have ever seen, i cant remember not even 1 of his 100....where as i can remember tend..lara...and even sobers 100s and i was not even born when sobers was playing. His batting nor bowling never inspire me to play the game and that's something GREATS do. To me he is still only second great.

  • POSTED BY shovwar on | January 27, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    Kaliis hav to retire to become the best cricketer of all time...cos only wen he is not around ppl would realise...Look at his stats ...(wen i mean by stats i dont mean by only batting stats or only bowling stats...its everything) the greatest batting stats makes u the greatest batsmen , the greatest bowling stats makes u the greatest bowlers and the greatest batting, bowling and fielding stats combined makes you the greatest cricketer.....Such a waste that he was borned in SA...Cricketer like him should have borned in place like India....He would have definitely been the God of cricket....

  • POSTED BY diri on | January 27, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    What a " GREAT " article!!!!! I always believed kallis was the most valuable player in the world . I always believed he should be picked in any team before Lara and sachin. But nobody took what i said seriously......and now after many years the world has seen what i saw a long time ago....everyone sees Kallis is the king and will always be king. we will never get another player like him in our lifetime. It makes me sad that he is only getting the recognition now when his time is almost up. If only he was born in India he would be the god of cricket and not Sachin. Lets injoy the next 2years of watching kallis because we wont see anything like it again :-(

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    why men never accept some talents i dont know i am sure that kallis one among the good front line players all the time like sachin lara ponting etc,he is genuine all rounder i dont know no one catch his position he is talented in his job

  • POSTED BY hst84 on | January 27, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    @vakbar: first of all buddy, ur comparing an allrounder with a specialist batsman, keep that in mind. Kallis, apart from comparing with his compatriots, has given his team what many allrounders have only dreamt of since the inception of cricket either test or one day. Achievements arent achieved just like that and its not about numbers its about how to go about ur game. well, the point that u pointed out about the bowlers of SA and Ind, u must be knowing that zaheer and harbhajan are far more experienced than steyn and morkel and anyone over here would be knowing how experience helps in a single game and playing them out safely and having getting out only a single time in the series is a little praiseworthy. Cheers !

  • POSTED BY doesitmatter on | January 27, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    how can somebody be great when two better attacks he faced England and Australia he has not done that well ..he averages below 30 in Eng ..he is a minnow basher and this includes India,Pak and WI...and pls don't compare with Sir Garfield..

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    He is Jack of all trades, great assest to SA...has served the country well...

    FINE FINE all rounder...!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Now, in test matches, obviously, the pressure to score at 6 runs per over isnt there and thats where kallis adds great value. He is a Test match great , but not a ODI great ( not yet, i.e.). His last few test innings have been at a higher s/r, so i hope he can score at a similar rate in the WC and win it for SA for once ( rather than scoring at a s/r of 70 odd and then getting out). I believe he is a bit like Trott with his temperament ( of course, much better off side player), so his style is more naturally suited to test matches. I can remember him struggling to get the ball square in that 434 vs 438 game against Aus. Then , he got out. But when SA bat first, he of course, can play the anchor role and play match winning innings.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    ok , so lots of sachin adn kallis comments already! I'll post my 2 cents worth. The reason I don't rate Kallis (batting wise) except for a few innings (like the one in 3rd test vs SA) as highly as , say, Pietersen, Flintoff, Steyn , Sehwag , Gayle, Ponting, Tendulkar, Lara is because he does not strike fear into the minds of opposition. He does not have the ability to win an ODI match off his batting , nor does he have a hgh S/R (around 72) . Similar problem with Clarke . He has an average higher than Ponting but , if in a WC semi final, Aus are 30/3, who would you prefer to be at the crease? Ponting. Similarly, opposition know that all they have to do is bowl a few dot balls at kallis and he would probably look for 1's and 2's and then get out when the required rate increases. I agree, overall, he adds great value as a bowler and slip catcher. But he has choked too many times when chasing huge or high scores, including in a semi final vs India when SA had plenty of time to win.

  • POSTED BY HowWasThat on | January 27, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/495719.html Read this and you will see how Kallis measures up to Tendulkar and Ponting - whats funny though is that they actually fall a bit behind him....really what must he do to be considered a GREAT?

  • POSTED BY mahjut on | January 27, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Not too concerned about his greastness as to make a point i was making before the other Kallis article closed contributions. Kallis has generally been penalised for being a slow starter yet after finding his feet in 1999 his growth has been exponential (not like the other players CricFan - that you said), only Sachin has followed the same trend amoung those considered "modern greats". Kallis, like all others, has his achilies - which is England (even in their no-glory days) :( but as someone said earlier - Great is in the eye of the beholder...

  • POSTED BY hamwil80 on | January 27, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    All this talk about Kallis not having an 'impact' on the game is nonsense - just look at how SA struggle without him. Don't chastise the man simply because he has an introverted personality - we shouldn't all be glory-mongers.

  • POSTED BY titansnights on | January 27, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    @Kiwirocker: you are a lone voic or not..who cares about it and you have no idea about cricket if you criticize sachin..and its clear you havent seen the next test match, in which sachin farmed the most of strike and was the last man to be out...and kallis have never performed well in Australia or against australia...wait till both of them retires and compare the average then...and about playing in SA and scoring runs, you got to be kidding me..its his home condition and he have to score runs, ifnot, he is not worthy at all..plz learn about cricket mate and talk after that...Sachin is the greatest batsman next to Bradman and Kallis is next to Sobers..thats it

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Wonderful rhetoric. I like him almost as much as I like Lara and Gayle. Just a as much as I like Tendulkar, Sehwag,et al. Your every erudition in this article conveys the "greatness" of your topic methinks. Well done. Do one on Lara I would love to see it.

  • POSTED BY RohCricket on | January 27, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    jaques kallis: a very very good player, but great, not yet. and i put that down to the fact he isn't as entertaining as botham, sobers, khan or kapil. even flintoff. i think how great a player is should be judged on what impact they have on the game. while he has a big impact on the game, especially in south africa, when you think great all-rounders, kallis doesn't immediatley come to mind. but then again, i might look back at this in a few years and i might have changed my mind.

  • POSTED BY Proteas123 on | January 27, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    Kallis's only equals in history are Bradman and maybe Sobbers. None of the current generation come anywhere close. Not much seperates Kallis, Ponting and Tendulkar in terms of batting but when you add 250 wickets there is no doubt at all that Kallis is the best of all.

  • POSTED BY Vakbar on | January 27, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    I can'tr believe the drivel i've read hear, particularly this classic: "Clearly Kallis is a better batsman.Lets do not forget Kallis has also scored bulk of his runs on bouncy SA tracks instead of Tendulkar's worthless runs in Indian dustbowls".

    Here's a fact: tendulkar has score more hundreds away from home than in India over the last decade. And here's another compare Kallis' record against the Aussie bowling from 1995-2007 (when it was the best in the world): home and away, tendulkar's record (including on bouncy pitches) is on a DIFFERENT PLANET to Kallis': and he had the ability to DOMINATE that attack, something Kallis has failed to do against ANY attack - exactly the same applies to Lara.

    Moreove, let's compare kallis and tenulakr in SA: whenever they have played - as last month - Tendulkar gets runs and hundreds. And who is facing the better attack? tendulkar was taking on Steyn and Morkel and let's be honest, Zaheer's good, but the Indian attack cannot compare. QED

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    And here in SA, we where all gobsmacked to how the English used to idolise Flintoff as the best allrounder, and we would be comparing him to Kallis, and thinking, what the F? Some players would receive tons of attention and Kallis wouldnt even register on the radar. Times have changed, GREAT) And its not like he's just been in good form over the past 12 months, he's been in good form for the past 12 years!

  • POSTED BY RehanAhmad on | January 27, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Top most performer, match winner, excellent team player, reliable, technical correctness, strong defense etc. are the hallmarks of a GREAT Cricketer and Jancques Henry Kallis has every right to claim being one. He didn't receive the due praise and recognition that he actually deserved but he has all attributes required to fall in the elite category of Bradman, Sachin, Lara, Sobers, Richards and Ponting.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    Kallis is most probably South Africa's best ever cricketer. Two things hold him back from being this generation and an all-time great: 1) The fact that he never truly dominated against the best opposition in his career (Australia). 2) The fact that he never raised his game and led his country (ie. captaincy) in any form of the game.

    On point 2, this is why Ponting deserves more respect in this article and should be in a 'magnificent quintet'. Achieving almost much as Lara and Tendulkar with the bat, with the additional pressures of batting at number 3 AND captaining Australia (despite the actual 'quality' of his captaincy, the victories speak for themselves). Team achievements should also be considered when talking about the greats.

  • POSTED BY xkcd on | January 27, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    I completely agree with you. The man is statistically superior to Sir Garfield Sobers and yet he isn't even mentioned in the "Greatest All Rounder Ever" debates. Sobers is claimed to be miles ahead of the rest, followed by Imran/Miller and the rest of the all rounders. This was clearly proven even in the Cricinfo XI lists. I can't understand this.

    I agree that batting's gotten easier these days, but then again Kallis averages (2 runs per wicket) better with the ball than Sobers. They're batting averages are almost the same. Sure, GS could bowl all sorts of things (off spin, wrist spin, seam up etc) but surely you can't overlook the fact that Kallis has a better bowling record than him!

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    it amaziz me to read some saying, he is 2nd best to the Sachin or Warne,well quite honestly he may not be the flamboyant but much better than anyone out there,if u disagree compare the matches he won for SA.he is the great>>>>> rest watch and learn how to calculate a winning inning.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    Kallis is not the greatest batsman of all time. Neither is he the best bowler or fielder. He is however, undoubtedly the greatest cricketer of all time. Not one of the worlds best ever batsmen have got anywhere near as many wickets as he and none of the top wicket takers can claim to have scored his weight of runs. Just add all his catches to that and you have someone who has made a major contribution to every aspect of the game.

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | January 27, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    One reason that Kallis does not get credit for is that he is an absolute team man. Every SA player who has played with him agrees to that. Kallis has carried SA batting for over a decade. The world we are living in dictates perceptions and perceptions become reality unless changed. Media has touted Kallis as a player who scores slowly which is totally incorrect. Kallis has a strike rate on par with any modern day batsmen. Another example of how J kallis never gets credit was recently picked world XI's where Sobers and Imran were included as ALL time best all rounder while Kallis has better stats than any of those. Sadly we are living in a commercial world and mediocre players like Sehwag, Dhoni and Yuvrajs get more publicity than Kallis who has scored everywhere, anywhere and against everyone. Tendulkar saved himself to face the lowly bowlers and has poor average in fouth innings but not J Kallis. I reckon Kallis is most under rated player of modern era along with Inzemam and V.Laxman!

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | January 27, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    It disappoints me to see that a great player is not getting credit he deserves. I am tired of reading praises of impostor Tendulkar.World knows that Tendulkar only plays for records.A recent example was how he left tail enders high and dry during first test against SA and conveniently saved himself as a NOT OUT.World's greatest cricketer EVER has been J. Kallis.Lets compare Tendulkar's batting with Kallis.In tests Kallis has average of 57.50 runs compared to Tendulkar's 56.90. Clearly Kallis is a better batsman.Lets do not forget Kallis has also scored bulk of his runs on bouncy SA tracks instead of Tendulkar's worthless runs in Indian dustbowls. Kallis has won more matches for SA than Tendulkar and his other team mates combined. Here is the real stat: Kallis also has 270 wickets in test matches and 166 catches. Is there any other cricketer including Bradman, Sobers, Imran Khan ever compare with J.Kallis? Please make up you mind as numbers tell the story.Kallis=Complete Cricketer EVER

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | January 27, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Thanks for writing this. I have been a lone voice on every forum indicating that J Kallis is the greatest cricketer ever to play the game. I think we all have our own biases based on our national affiliations (I am not from SA) or other attachments so a relatively objective measure to differentiate a good player from great player is his statistics. For example J Kallis has better batting average than Indian impostor Tendulkar in both test matches and ODI's. People used to complain about Kalli's strike rate but he is also on par with other so called great players. Now the real twist is that Kallis also has 500 international wickets and 166 catches in test matches. No other player in history of game has achieved these statistics. Kallis also has a superior fourth inning record than Tendulkar. If we just consider the batting then Kallis is better than Tendulkar…if we consider his overall figures, he is better than ANY player who every played cricket and that includes, Khans & Bradmans...

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    I have long felt that he is one player long overdue to be a Wisden Cricketer of the Year, less sure about the knighthood as has been suggested. I agree with Sreerang that he has got and knows his job and fulfills it completely.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    The old saying refers to cricket as the gentleman's game. While the definition of a gentleman in today's game will differ from that in which is was originally used, there can be no disputing that Kallis is one of the modern gentleman. He gets on with his job, he has a hard edge to him but it always comes down to the performance on the pitch. Many others (although not all) referred to as 'great' share this trait. If Kallis was an Indian I doubt he would be able to walk around outside of his house, yet in SA we'll bump into him, Smith and Boucher out for a beer in a local bar and think little of it. Embracing the movie star cricketer persona that so many 'ok' cricketers have tried to become in the ridiculous era where men are considered first for their marketability and second for their cricket, does not come naturally to him. There can be no South African cricketer since readmission who has put his body and his reputation on the line for his country as much as this guy. Legend.

  • POSTED BY Nuxxy on | January 27, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    There are lots of South African kids who want to be a Kallis. Being a South African, I know that Kallis is a great, but in terms of the rest of the world, it isn't just his quiet demeanor. The SA team as a whole seems to lack the emotional appeal of other teams. As effective as the well-oiled green-machine is, it's not cuddly.

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | January 27, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    I dont understand why Kallis is thrown in to the 'secondary group'. If its based on a single cricket skill I agree but thats missing the whole point - Kallis is a multi skilled alrounder and surely is on the same pedastal as the 'magnificinet quartet'? Another way to look at it different eras will have their own 'magnificient quartets' (Eg: Richards, Lillie, Botham, Holding) but very few of these will have a genuine alrounder and Kallis is top of the altime alrounders list and surely will be on any list of his era. The most amazing thing about this guy is his calm attitude and hardly ever in the limelight. If you compare Warne and Lara were great players but were drama queens of sorts but Kallis just gets the job done much like Murali and Sachin.

  • POSTED BY CarolL on | January 27, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    At last someone has stood up to shout his Greatness, well done Rob.... Just one thing though, it is interesting to compare Kallis, after 91 Tests with Sobers's 91 Tests.

  • POSTED BY wonky on | January 27, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    It's not hard to see why he is so unnoticed though. It's the "star affect", the reason why everyone considers Warne the best spinner and Murali a chucker. He is more flash and controversial and has the "wow" factor. But fully agreed, character does not make greatness, its performance year in and year out. SA has effectively on average been the number two side for 15 years and ran into the greatest Aussie side of all time. Jacque is the reason for this. For the doubters of the world like Chappel, the line in the article to repeat is "future generations will value him more than we do", because when they look back it will be a greater all-rounder average than Sobers, a man who could make the side as a bowler or batsmen in his whole career. A mark those future generations will try and achieve. Like Tiger v Nicklaus. I wish though more recognition would come from his generation, he gets a "blog", the rest get "cricketers of the year awards" and ESPN slots as legends. What a joke

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Jeeeeez, you took a long time to get to the point oke. I had to stop reading before you got there.

  • POSTED BY DirkL on | January 27, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Facelessness, maybe, but not torso-lessness. On SATV, Kallis had a spell of glamour lathering himself under the shower with Sanex.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    it seems like to be great, u have to play either from india or australia...Kallis has played this gentleman game as a gentleman what more u can ask from a player. u doesnt have to look attractive, u are there to score run or take wicket for ur country which i believe kallis has done more than anybody who played this game.. now stop comparing him to anybody..There is nobody like Kallis... Best cricketer of all time..

  • POSTED BY natasrik on | January 27, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Absolutely no doubt he is the greatest. You can tell so many things about a persons attitude, character etc but when it comes to performace it is has to be Sir JAC KALLIS. It is not that people don't watch cricket if Sachin/ Ponting/Murali/Lara/Drvaid/Warne are not playing and commentators stop commenting, from cricketing point of you he is the no 1.

  • POSTED BY HowWasThat on | January 27, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Greatness, yes it is a slippery beast - but the definition is not merely about who inspires, it is also about who you call on in times of trouble - any good batsmen can walk in at 250 for 1 and blaze away, but it takes a special character to walk in at 20 odd for one, with a brittle middle order to follow, and knuckle down - this was the lot of Kalis for many years, suffice to say the growth of Hashim Amla and the agression of AB Devilliers and fighting spirit of Prince has given Kallis the sapce to be more agressive showing the other side of his skills - lets not forget his fastest Test hundreds were made in recent months - Bradam was the greatest Batsmen, there are a host of greatest fast or spin bowlers depending on which rose tinted glasses you happen to be wearing, Sobers could very well be the Greatest all-rounder to have played the game- BUT there can be no doubt, J.H.Kallis is the greatest Cricketer and when he plays no more, I fear South Africans especially, will miss him most

  • POSTED BY Rooboy on | January 27, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    Top article. I have to admit I was always a doubter regarding Kallis' greatness. I suppose this was mainly because most of the games I saw Kallis play were against Australia, and he never seemed to do much damage against Aus. But since having pay TV and being able to actually watch more tests involving SA, not to mention just the sheer quality of Kallis' statistics, I am no longer a doubter. Kallis is a great of the game and I think any reasonable person would find it hard to argue otherwise.

  • POSTED BY MiddleStump on | January 27, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    @Pauld: Warne is not rubbish, just that a player can't be great if he simply cannot succeed in certain conditions. Consistently failing to make a mark indicates a pronounced weakness in an aspect of the game that cannot be wished away. No matter how intense the propaganda to forcibly thrust greatness on anyone. It is altogether different than Bradman not getting an opportunity to play in India. As mentioned in the article, greatness is used all too often for just good players and performances.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    kallis is the big Daddy of Cricket..!

  • POSTED BY Pablo123 on | January 27, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    As Subraya said, it is becasue of his lack of being in the spotlight, or his lack of anger on the field that has kept him off the tongue of most.

    He is simply the greatest cricketer to have played.

  • POSTED BY Sreerang on | January 27, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    Well, I have felt so for the last few years that he has never got his due. And the reason, to me, is that his style of play is singularly ordinary and that's not criticising. He's got a job & he does it. Thankfully, going by the applause he got in the just concluded series, at least he is valued & loved by his own countrymen. A very good article, Rob. I don't see anybody disagreeing here. :D

  • POSTED BY faisal_khan_1 on | January 27, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    Most player-of-the-match awards of all time: 1. JH Kallis = 22/145 2. M Muralitharan = 19/133 3. Wasim Akram = 17/104

    Most player-of-the-series awards of all time: 1. M Muralitharan = 11/61 2. JH Kallis = 9/52 3. Imran Khan = 8/28

    Kallis has the highest frequency of man-of-the-match awards (one in every 6 games) along with Wasim Akram. He also has the third highest frequency of man-of-the-series awards (one in every 5) after Imran, Marshal, Hadlee and Ambrose.

    Forget his other stats. This alone shows that he both a match winner and a match saver.

  • POSTED BY tikna on | January 27, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    The last line is very well put. In future when Kallis is the past he will be remembered as one of the greats. At this point in time though he doesnt get what a lot of others do. May be thats because cricket in SA is not as important as it is in India, Pakistan, SL, WI and perhaps even AUS when it was winning everything. Add to the fact the guy isnt the best in PR and brand building sort of thing (which is not at all a criticism) and its not suprising that he is talked of less or rather the superlative adjectives arent given to him.

    The most important thing though is that I believe his team mates value him immensly and that is in itself the most important thing.

  • POSTED BY seaboy on | January 27, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    "Great" article!! Keep it up

  • POSTED BY Deep_N on | January 27, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    "and the millions they inspired" - That tells it all Rob... I have not seen any one person who has come out in the press to declare that he wants to be another Kallis... Tragic, but true. He will remain one of the very best, we saw in our generation, but not the greatest !

  • POSTED BY mrmonty on | January 27, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Hear, hear..Some are born with greatness, some achieve greatness..If Tendulkar/Warne belong to the first category, Kallis is undeniably the second kind. They all demand respect.

  • POSTED BY KunzMan on | January 27, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    Excellent article Rob. Some have commented that he is not the greatest because he has not influenced people. Fair enough that he is not flamboyant or attractive to the eye. BUT HE IS EFFECTIVE TO THE CORE. And Youngsters might not learn his bowling or batting style. THere is more to be learnt though. 1) The calmness. 2) The mental approach to the game. 3) The fighting spirit. 4) The Modesty 5) All this contribution after knowing the fact that he is not an eye catcher 6) The execution part of changing your game with time inspite of age.

    This is what Jacques Henry Kallis is. He is the greatest cricketer atleast of the modern era if not all time to me

  • POSTED BY pauld on | January 27, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    Middlestump - the only thing that's tiresome is people saying Warne is somehow a rubbish cricketer because he didn't excel in India. Plenty of greats never played in India - Bradman for one, and indeed, most cricketers prior to 1950. I don't rate performances in India higher than performances in any other country, they all have their own peculiar challenges and pitfalls on their pitches, and it's inevitable you can hold up any facet of someone's record where they haven't excelled, whether it's Warne in India, Murali in Australia or Dravid in South Africa, to name but a few. It doesn't necessarily detract from their greatness.

    Kallis though - what a legend of the game. Fantastic article.

  • POSTED BY highveldhillbilly on | January 27, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    Finally, a well balanced article. Kallis's greatness is debated because he's South African and because he's not flashy but make no mistake he is a true great. From a batting perspective he has carried SA for 13 years. And if greatness can be measured by your opposition I'm sure that opposition bowlers prize Kallis's wicket the most in the SA line up.

  • POSTED BY nlambda on | January 27, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    I am one of those who recognize Kallis' gifts but do NOT consider him a great. The reason is that Kallis is more of a steady player, he has never really dominated the way other "greats" have. Tendulkar and Lara have played some breathtaking innings. Off the top of my head I remember Tendulkar smashing Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath in 2001 while Lara hit Donald for 5 fours in a row in a test match in SA. Absolutely spine tingling stuff. Kallis has never DOMINATED attacks. He is an accumulator who will get his 100 off 200 balls with 10 risk free fours. And taking 270 wickets in 140-odd tests is also neither here nor there. Appreciate the 270 wickets. But <2 wickets per test really does not make him much of a "good" bowler. This is the dilemma of rating Jacques Kallis.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    Kallis will be considered one of the greats in my eyes, there's no doubt about that. He has more centuries than Ponting, more wickets than Gillespie, and more runs than Steve Waugh. As you can tell by my examples I'm Australian, and I respect this man higher than any all-rounder we've produced since I began watching cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    I have always admired Kallis for his run-making ability yet, I was never one to include him in my favourite or best cricketer lists. That opinion started to turn in the last few years but it came full circle with the test series against India. While the double hundred was brilliant and the 161 a masterclass, the innings that made me a true fan was the 109 in the second knock. Batting with an obviously painful injury (without a runner), on a extremely tough deck, Kallis showed his class in steering South Africa out of trouble (with some good help from Mark Boucher). This knock fully converted me from a casual fan to a true admirerer and needless to say he now features on both my lists. If only he was Australian....

  • POSTED BY AhmedHassan on | January 27, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Guys it wud be unfair to compare sachin and kallis, but still if anyone compares them and takes into criteria all the objective factors, kallis slightly edges past sachin due to his allround abilities

  • POSTED BY vickstricks on | January 27, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    Excellent article..really awesome. cant agree more...We need to give Kallis the respect for what he has done for Cricket SA and to the Game. i hope if not today atleast till the time he hangs his shoes he shud be regarded as the best who ever played... for me he comes right befor Tendulkars and Lara's and Dravid( Though i am real Fan of Dravid) of the world and defintly befoire the disgraceful Ponting and the rest.. and if he is not rated one of the gr8s then as rightly said by Rob Steen --- I GIVE UP

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    Great as word is used a little too loosely these days, Steen! you probably did use it again. To me great means the best in the business, the spot cannot be filled with too many contestants. When you think of a field/area, what name comes into your mind first, its TOM - top of mind in excellence. You think of squash - Jahangir khan comes first, you think of boxing Mohammad Ali is there, in Tennis Feddrer, in golf Tiger woods, F1 racing schumacher, tour de cycling armstrong and last but no the least in cricket it has to be Bradman. Rest i believe are remarkable cricketers/players and not greats otherwise we shall be putting horse and pony on same ranking.

  • POSTED BY graebags on | January 27, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    I'm one of those who has to acknowledge Kallis' greatness based on statistics, yet somehow can't warm to him or feel affection because he is less flamboyant or 'beautiful' in style. It's why I think Gilchrist deserves a place at the top table, as he changed the way cricket was played (every keeper has to bat now), was a brilliant allrounder & brought incredible excitement to the game. You would go the match just to watch him play, or turn off the TV once he was out - perhaps that is another quality of greatness?

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    This is definitely one of the best articles on Cricket...Sachin will go down as the greatest batsman in cricket. And Kallis will go down as Best allrounder and an aspiring immortal..!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    well written article,i think most underrated player is jack kallis,he absoulatly deserve to be the best.there may be others close to him, but i never seen anyone fighting like him alone.simply the best.

  • POSTED BY japper on | January 27, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    @MiddleStump: Every body talks about Warne not being successful against India, but no one remembers the significance of Warne's contribution when Australia conquered the so called Final Frontier during season of 2004 and Warne bowled absolutely beautifully. The delivery with which he cleaned up VVS during the first test was reminiscent of what he did to Mike Gatting and Herchelle Gibbs and VVS didn't recover from that shock till the 4th test when Warne actually didn't play. Unfortunately for Warne that was the last time he bowled to Indian Batsmen before he retired.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    The Article is fine except for a really stupid comment; Mahatma was not Gandhi's first name, it's a title. His first name was Mohandas, which is not unique by any means.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    whence this sudden adulation of jacques kallis? south africans have known of his greatness for a decade and more - why is the rest of the world catching up only now? could it be the doug rug which, i have to admit, has taken years off him? either way, we are going to miss him terribly when he's gone - south africa had a taste of what it will be like in the one-dayers against india - and we will have little hope in the world cup if he is not around to be the fulcrum of a winning side. oh and one small thing, rob - mahatma was not gandhi's given name, but a title. his given name was mohandas

  • POSTED BY Sehwag_Is_A_Flat_Track_Bully on | January 27, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    Looking at Kallis' stats, they are stats of a god. By the time he retires, he should have 25000k+ runs, 600+wickets and 200+ catches. BTW what is Sehwag doing there? Kind of an insult to Donald, Dravid, Gilchrist, Kallis, Kumble, McGrath, Pollock and Ponting. He still has a chance to make it into that group, but let him improve his average outside of the sub-continent.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. I've been jumping to Kallis' defense since the 90s. For some reason, the damage done by frustrated English journalists in '98 has managed to stick to Kallis throughout his career -- this nonsense about him being a "selfish" cricketer can be traced directly back to those reports (Andrew Miller of Cricinfo fame being a particularly prominent advocate of this theory through the years). Ironically, there has seldom been a more selfless cricketer. For much of his time as SA's batting anchor, he's had to prop up fragile, flashy batting orders. In his early days Kallis was a dominator, particularly in domestic cricket, but he curbed those instincts over the years to serve the team. Yet, while men like Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid were lauded for tailoring their games in this way, Kallis was vilified. It's ridiculous. Great to see him finally get his due, first during the India series, and now in this article. Hail King Kallis!

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | January 27, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is an indisputable great of the game and it is pleasing to see him FINALLY getting the acknowledgement. He is an ALL-ROUNDER, that very rare breed and most difficult role to fill and is by far the best of his era. Too often there has been an unhealthy bias towards the naturally gifted geniuses like Lara and Tendulkar but there are several batsmen who have matched them in match winning and match saving performances, averages and SR. So what if they are not as stylish or gifted, they get the job done and deserve just as much appreciation. As for Warne and Murali, they may be by far the greatest spinners of their era and by a touch, greatest bowlers but the two W's, Ambrose, Donald, Pollock to name a few also played their roles well enough to be mentioned just about as often. Steyn is fast approaching that status as well. I hope to see more articles on other great players who don't get enough praise, probably because they are not from certain countries.

  • POSTED BY timus6778 on | January 27, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    superlike................................................

  • POSTED BY Tony4SA on | January 27, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is my hero! A colossus with the bat, needling with the ball and one of the best slip fielders ever. So what if he keeps to himself and isn't a glory hunter, he's just being his unpretentious self! Long live his legacy as one of the greatest cricketers.

  • POSTED BY MiddleStump on | January 27, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Steen is right. The word 'great' is used too often but Kallis is certainly the greatest all round cricketer since Sobers. However please do not subject us to another dose of the tiresome Warne propaganda in an otherwise good article. His assumed greatness simply cannot coexist with his disappearing acts when playing in India. As for Murali, history will also place an asterisk against his wicket tally for the controversy created by his action in getting them.

  • POSTED BY blaster_boy on | January 27, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    one of the best article on cricket .. i ever read.

  • POSTED BY crickifan on | January 27, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Rob I still think Kallis is in between that Very good and Great mark. He certainly don't fall in to that category because greatness depends on how a player influenced others to play cricket. I don't think any one will start playing cricket by looking at Kallis bowl or bat. Take Sachin, Lara, Viv, Imran Khan, Wasim etc they influenced the people watching the game in such a manner that the audiance will try to mimic or emulate them. Sorry I disagree with you in this regard ...

  • POSTED BY i-s-r-a-r on | January 27, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Excellently written article. If he was playing for australia or india or even england he probably would have been more famous, and people would have noticed him more. but oh well....like you said, we haven't valued him properly but the future generation surely will.

    And if not the first tier, then in the second tier you surely should have mentioned Steve Waugh. The man who changed the game (test cricket) as we knew it, no one used to play test match as aggressively as the Australians did under his command. One of the greatest cricketers ever!

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    I loved the way the article was put up. No doubt Kallis is immortal in the world of cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Rob, I could not put it more eloquently. In this day of me-too chest thumping and showmanship, albeit deserving of all the recognition for his greatness, Kallis has single-mindedly carried South Africa without clamoring for attention. The statistics merely do justice in part to his feats. For someone who is not naturally talented, he has worked hard to hone his skills and will go down as THE best allrounder and one of the best Number 3 batsmen after Bradman. Hope people recognize and enjoy the remainder of his career.

  • POSTED BY souths70 on | January 27, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    As an Australian I really want this made clear that the both men below I mention I hold in great esteem.

    Tendulkar is the greatest batsman I've ever seen. Kallis is the greatest cricketer I've ever seen.

    As an outsider who has seen both men wreck my nights after 6 PM local time in summer; this is how I see their respective contributions to the game.

  • POSTED BY Jaundiced_Observer on | January 27, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    Beautiful tribute, and over due in my opinion. He seems to fit into just THAT niche as bowler, batsman, allrounder which seems to elude the bestowment of greatness that is automatic to others in a different niche. As batsman, he is defensive/abrasive with water tight technique, more a Barrington than a Barry Richards. As a bowler he is 3rd/4th change , not the usual fast bowler charging in opening the bowling ( never mind that the sheer volume of work he has put in as bowler for SA is priceless). As an allrounder he is not the hardhitting bat/fastbowler nor a graceful gazelle like Sobers on the field. And yet, in each area, inconveniently for most, his figures speak for themselves. He has traded robustness and solidity for the last grain of flamboyance he possessed. Your words-- " Uniquely, future generations will value him more than we do. And if that's not a definition of greatness, I give up."--are so very apt, and I cant think of more fitting words for Rahul Dravid.

  • POSTED BY Kaze on | January 27, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    Greatness like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Kaze on | January 27, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    Greatness like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • POSTED BY Jaundiced_Observer on | January 27, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    Beautiful tribute, and over due in my opinion. He seems to fit into just THAT niche as bowler, batsman, allrounder which seems to elude the bestowment of greatness that is automatic to others in a different niche. As batsman, he is defensive/abrasive with water tight technique, more a Barrington than a Barry Richards. As a bowler he is 3rd/4th change , not the usual fast bowler charging in opening the bowling ( never mind that the sheer volume of work he has put in as bowler for SA is priceless). As an allrounder he is not the hardhitting bat/fastbowler nor a graceful gazelle like Sobers on the field. And yet, in each area, inconveniently for most, his figures speak for themselves. He has traded robustness and solidity for the last grain of flamboyance he possessed. Your words-- " Uniquely, future generations will value him more than we do. And if that's not a definition of greatness, I give up."--are so very apt, and I cant think of more fitting words for Rahul Dravid.

  • POSTED BY souths70 on | January 27, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    As an Australian I really want this made clear that the both men below I mention I hold in great esteem.

    Tendulkar is the greatest batsman I've ever seen. Kallis is the greatest cricketer I've ever seen.

    As an outsider who has seen both men wreck my nights after 6 PM local time in summer; this is how I see their respective contributions to the game.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Rob, I could not put it more eloquently. In this day of me-too chest thumping and showmanship, albeit deserving of all the recognition for his greatness, Kallis has single-mindedly carried South Africa without clamoring for attention. The statistics merely do justice in part to his feats. For someone who is not naturally talented, he has worked hard to hone his skills and will go down as THE best allrounder and one of the best Number 3 batsmen after Bradman. Hope people recognize and enjoy the remainder of his career.

  • POSTED BY on | January 27, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    I loved the way the article was put up. No doubt Kallis is immortal in the world of cricket.

  • POSTED BY i-s-r-a-r on | January 27, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Excellently written article. If he was playing for australia or india or even england he probably would have been more famous, and people would have noticed him more. but oh well....like you said, we haven't valued him properly but the future generation surely will.

    And if not the first tier, then in the second tier you surely should have mentioned Steve Waugh. The man who changed the game (test cricket) as we knew it, no one used to play test match as aggressively as the Australians did under his command. One of the greatest cricketers ever!

  • POSTED BY crickifan on | January 27, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Rob I still think Kallis is in between that Very good and Great mark. He certainly don't fall in to that category because greatness depends on how a player influenced others to play cricket. I don't think any one will start playing cricket by looking at Kallis bowl or bat. Take Sachin, Lara, Viv, Imran Khan, Wasim etc they influenced the people watching the game in such a manner that the audiance will try to mimic or emulate them. Sorry I disagree with you in this regard ...

  • POSTED BY blaster_boy on | January 27, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    one of the best article on cricket .. i ever read.

  • POSTED BY MiddleStump on | January 27, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Steen is right. The word 'great' is used too often but Kallis is certainly the greatest all round cricketer since Sobers. However please do not subject us to another dose of the tiresome Warne propaganda in an otherwise good article. His assumed greatness simply cannot coexist with his disappearing acts when playing in India. As for Murali, history will also place an asterisk against his wicket tally for the controversy created by his action in getting them.

  • POSTED BY Tony4SA on | January 27, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is my hero! A colossus with the bat, needling with the ball and one of the best slip fielders ever. So what if he keeps to himself and isn't a glory hunter, he's just being his unpretentious self! Long live his legacy as one of the greatest cricketers.