A patient accumulator
Jacques Kallis may not count among the most exciting of run-machines, but he has been a sturdy engine that has clocked more than 20,000 international runs. At the Wanderers, he went past 10,000 runs in Tests and became the first South African and the eighth overall to scale the milestone in Tests, and the fifth in both formats. It's been a bit of a huff and puff in the final stretch - 2008 was not the best year for Kallis - but with two major milestones now behind him - he went past 10,000 ODIs runs in Australia - South Africa would hope he finds his old prolific form as they aim to take over the No. 1 spot in Test cricket.
Both Kallis and Ricky Ponting, who was the last before Kallis to enter the 10,000-run club, made their debuts in December 1995. Both are currently playing their 129th Test but Ponting has been quicker to the mark by a fair distance. Kallis took 29 innings to go from 9000 to 10000, losing considerable ground: only Allan Border and Steve Waugh have taken longer.
|Milestone||Tests for Kallis||Innings||Tests for Ponting||Innings|
Both Ponting and Kallis have also been the highest run-scorers in the past decade. Kallis had a poor start to his Test career - he averaged 28.31 in his first 21 Tests - but his average has been double that since then. Ponting averages over 60 in the period, while Kallis is not far behind.
With four members of the club still playing, the battle for the highest run-scorer in Tests could see an close finish in the coming years. Kallis is the youngest of the lot at 33, but he is 2414 runs short of Tendulkar, who is currently No. 1. While Tendulkar is nearing 36, Dravid is past 36, and Ponting is early into his 35th year. Another contest to watch will be for the highest average among the 10,000-club. Despite his recent poor run, Kallis enters the zone averaging 54.42. Ricky Ponting leads the list with an average of 57.01. Rahul Dravid also reached 10,000 with an average of over 55 but his recent poor form has reduced it to the 52-mark. Tendulkar, whose average was in the mid-57s when he reached 10,000, currently finds himself at 54.27. Like a good Test, this battle will be a gripping cat-and-mouse game. Kallis, though, tops the averages among players with 10,000 runs in international cricket.
Most teams would have settled for Kallis' runs, but he is one of those rare players in the modern era: a true allrounder, he also bowls medium-pace and is a safe catcher at slip. Many will debate his place among the greats but Kallis' statistics are legendary: over 10,000 runs, 200 wickets and 100 catches in both forms of the game. Kallis and Jayasuriya are the only two to score 20,000 and deliver more than 20,000 balls in international cricket. Among those in the Test 10,000-club, Steve Waugh's 7805 balls is the next best after Kallis' 16704.
|Player||Matches||Runs||Average||Wickets||Average||Bat avg - bowl avg|
Kallis has batted at No. 3 and 4 through his career, but he has been far more successful at two-down, with more than 6000 runs at over 60. He has one of the highest averages at No. 4, only a touch behind Graeme Pollock, considered perhaps the greatest South African batsman. If not for his current poor run - he has not scored a century in his last 17 innings - Kallis was averaging over 70 at No. 4
Kallis averages over 50 both home and away, with his mean in South Africa four runs more than his 52.36 away. Against Australia, Kallis averages 37.89. He has struggled mainly against them at home, with his average in Australia being 45.75. He has also been below-par in England and Sri Lanka - averaging 29.30 and 35.33. They are the only teams besides Australia against whom Kallis averages below 55. Against Bangladesh, he's averaged 79.25 in six Tests, and his whopping average of169.75 against Zimbabwe has been boosted by his average of 503 in three Tests in Zimbabwe.(For Kallis' career batting summary, click here.)
His consistency in the past few years has been remarkable. Kallis topped 1000 runs in a calendar year in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007. He scored hundreds in five consecutive games in 2003-04, and in four in 2007. He has gone past 50 in five consecutive innings on three occasions - six in one instance - and had a streak of nine straight matches with at least a 50-plus score in 2007 - he managed seven in two other run-scoring streaks. In a three-year period from March 29, 2001 to March 18, 2004, Kallis went 52 innings without a duck. That consistency has been rewarded with 20 Man-of-the-Match awards, the most for any player.
However, he is yet to score a double-century, with 189 not out being his best. This despite the fact that nine of his 30 hundreds have been 150-plus scores. Among the list of top 20 batsmen with most Test centuries, Kallis is the only one besides Mohammad Azharuddin, who has 22 tons, without a double-century.
|200 and above||-||1.85|
Kallis has been bowled a fair number of times, perhaps due to his tendency to play the expansive drive through the off side. He has been out bowled more often than lbw.
|Mode of dismissal||Kallis||Ponting|
|Caught by fielder||34.24||41.05|
|Caught by wicketkeeper||23.37||17.37|
One criticism against Kallis has been his runs against the weaker teams. So, does his 996 runs against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe really sway the numbers? We tried removing numbers against the two teams and check the records for the six who went past 10,000 in the last decade. (To be fair to Zimbabwe, their teams were competitive till a few years ago, but to be objective we have to ignore performances against them altogether.)
|Batsman||Total runs||Average||Total runs excluding Zim and Bang||Average||Difference|
Kallis' average dips the most, but Rahul Dravid and Steve Waugh also see considerable declines. Another reason perhaps Kallis' is not considered among the best is perhaps because most of his runs - 2073 to be precise - have come against West Indies, another weak team in recent years, at an average of 74.03. We take a look at how Kallis performs compared to others in South Africa's top six in Tests he's played, and the numbers show why he is such a vital component in the batting line-up. Barring a few cases, Kallis outdoes his compatriots against most teams.
|Opposition||Kallis' average||Avg for SA top six||Kallis' avg away||Top six away||Kallis' avg in wins||Top six in wins|
Critics have also pointed out how Kallis' average is boosted by his runs scored in not-out innings. Waugh and Border have more runs in unbeaten innings than Kallis, while three other batsmen in the 10,000-club have more than 1250.
Kallis averages 62.46 in South Africa's 63 wins during his career. It drops to 34.10 in 34 losses, and is 72.00 in 31 draws. He finds himself among some illustrious names in averaging over 70 in draws. In South Africa's 24 wins while batting first, Kallis averages 78.25 with eight hundreds. He also performs better in the team's second innings, in which he averages eight runs more than in the first.
Out of Kallis' 3773 runs in the second innings, 2669 have come in the third innings of a game at an average of 71.02. He's made 1599 runs from 25 unbeaten scores in the second innings. Kallis has scored a third of those second-innings runs in drawn games, averaging 111 with six hundreds and four half-centuries.
Although his step-up as a batsman reflects in his batting averages under Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith, Kallis' bowling average has declined under Smith's captaincy - a similar trend to that in ODIs. However, in 2007 and 2008, Kallis managed to take 49 wickets at 27.30 apiece, compared to his 66 wickets at nearly 40 in the four years prior to that.
For someone who has hit a half-century in 24 balls, and has 66 sixes in Tests - only Lara among the 10,000-club has more - Kallis' strike-rate is only 44.07. In his 30 centuries, Kallis' strike-rate is 50.00, not among the best post 1990. Nonetheless, it's an approach that has worked wonderfully for both Kallis and South Africa.
Mathew Varghese is sub-editor (stats) at Cricinfo