South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Test, Cape Town January 1, 2013

Kallis and Steyn on the cusp of individual milestones

The year is set to begin with accolades for two of South Africa's favourite cricketing sons. Having got to the top of the rankings, the team's goal is to ensure they stay there
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When Graeme Smith drove into Newlands Cricket Ground in his white BMW X5 shortly after 9.30am on New Year's Day, he looked like a man who had enjoyed his festive break. The effects of relaxation were written all over his usually serious expression because for the first time in over a decade, Smith spent Christmas Day with his family.

While Smith took the opportunity to enjoy rare time off in the summer, he also used it to reflect on what more he wants to achieve as Test captain. The conclusion he came to was the same one he hinted at from the day he lead South Africa to the top of the rankings: he would not be satisfied with that alone.

In a time when the cricket power base has shifted significantly over small periods, Smith eyes an opening for South Africa to establish an era of dominance. Other members of the squad have said the same and the impression coming out of the camp is that they have their lenses fixed on the bigger picture.

"It's great to sit in team meetings and listen to the guys talk about how they're approaching the year. There is real motivation to be better and not just to sit on our laurels and say we were part of something special and that is enough for us," Smith said. "Everyone wants to be a part of more."

For two players, some of that "more," is likely to come in this Test match. Dale Steyn is one wicket away from joining the prestigious '300-wicket club', of which three other South African bowlers, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini are already part of. And Jacques Kallis is 20 runs shy of becoming the fourth batsman in the world to amass 13,000 Test runs.

While Steyn is the spark in South Africa's bowling, Kallis is the very heart, mind, stomach and head of the Test team. His own body has begun to feel the effects of 17 years of international cricket but he has achieved more than most ever will in that time.

When the 13,000 comes up, Kallis will be the fastest to the mark in terms of number of matches. Cape Town will be his 159th Test, while Rahul Dravid got there in 160, Ricky Ponting in 162 and Sachin Tendulkar in 163 matches. Kallis would have played more innings than Tendulkar in reaching 13,000 and it seems Tendulkar is the only one Kallis cannot catch. With both Dravid and Ponting retired, there is every chance Kallis could pass them both and finish his career as the second highest run-scorer of all time.

Add to that that Kallis is the only one of the top 20 leading batsmen in the world who can be labelled a genuine allrounder and his status as one of the legends is unquestioned. He has often sailed under the radar with pundits reluctant to call him the best allrounder to grace the game but for Smith and South Africa, he is that and more.

"Everywhere we go now he is starting to get the due that he deserves," Smith said. "We hope that he gets even more. He is an incredible player. I don't think many people understand how immense getting to 13,000 runs is. South Africans will hopefully be very proud of him because he has put South African cricket on the map in a big way. He will go down as an all-time great and we can be proud of that."

That Kallis' major milestone will come on his home ground is fitting. Steyn has reason to feel the opposition is a chosen one. He announced himself as a major force on the international stage against New Zealand more than five years ago when he took 20 wickets in two Tests against them in 2007-08. In perfect synergy, Donald, the current bowling coach and one of Steyn's heroes, also took his 300th wicket against New Zealand.

If Steyn nips out his first victim at Newlands, he will become the joint third-fastest to the milestone. Dennis Lillee achieved the feat in 56 Tests and Muttiah Muralitharan in 58. Steyn will play his 61st match to put him level with Richard Hadlee and Malcolm Marshall.

Although Steyn has copped some criticism in recent times over what some see as waning powers, he maintains that it's more a case of him saving the savage spells for when they are most needed. His ability to swing the ball at pace is still unmatched and Smith will continue to rely on him to step up in pressure situations.

"Dale is our go-to guy and he always seems to make an impact for us," he said. "As a captain, he is a real asset to have because I can throw him the ball and I know he will make a play somewhere in the match. When he gets that bit between his teeth, you really start to see things happening and other guys feed off him."

Though the opposition are unlikely to pique the interest of England, Australia or India, the first two days of the match are sold out and Smith said it's this fixture his men most look forward to. "For us, Newlands is the marquee Test match of the year. It's a great atmosphere and we love playing here. The support that we get here is terrific. People wanting to be a part of this Test match is important to us," he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BellCurve on January 3, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    @TopC - I will explain the use of the constant 18. A good specialist bowler takes around 4 wickets per match and contributes around 15 runs with the bat. His total contribution is therefore equal to 4*18+14=86. A good specialist batsman scored around 80 runs per match and takes around 0.33 wickets. His total contribution is therefore equal to 0.33*18+80=86. By the introduction of the constant 18 the contribution of batsmen and bowlers are equalised.

  • on January 2, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest Modern Day Cricketer. He is already one of the best batsmen in the world. Besides his batting he even bowls.( not as much as before). He is so good it's as if South Africa had 12 players instead of 11. His bowling average is around the same as some bowling heavyweights like Harbhajan Singh and Zaheeer Khan etc. His batting average stands above all other players anyway. Ponting , Tendulkar are great no doubt but Kallis was more then a batsment, he was your complete player. First name on your team sheet.

  • youfoundme on January 2, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    It's an exciting series for me. Being a Kiwi I'm obliged to follow 'my' side, but South Africa are a team that are cut from a different cloth, compared to all other nations that have reached the same heights. I admire their progression through a rocky history, and I'd like to think the application and intensity that people like Kallis and Steyn bring to the game can rub off on our players.

  • on January 1, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    This Ferdous Moonda is as good as the swetest mithai. The writing is smooth as silk without being overly flattering. The use of facts to boost a viewpoint, is very skilfully done. As for Kallis, he has always been a superhero in my eyes. I have lost count of the gems that he has produced with bat and ball, over and over again. I don't bother looking at records anymore. Just sit back and watch a Master teaching the minnows how the game is played. Amazingly, he makes most of the opposition look like minnows whenever he is playing, in whatever format. The land of SA is truly blessed to have players like Kallis, Amla, Stein, Smith etc., all part of the same playing eleven. Thanks for the memories, guys. This is the most gifted team of all time.

  • GingerBiggles on January 1, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    Jacques Kallis - simply put, the greatest all-rounder in test cricket history. He deserves all the credit and plaudits that he is getting. More often than not, over the last decade, his steadiness and consistency have been outshone by the genius of Sachin or the sheer dominance of Ponting. But how can one ignore the ample facts - almost 13,000 runs, 300 wickets and 200 catches. If his body lets him continue in the same vein for 2-3 years more, we could still see Tendulkar's and Dravid's records fall. Cricket will be a lot poorer the day he decides to retire and one hopes that that day does not come about for some time.

  • TopC on January 4, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    @ Xolile. On reflection, I rather like your "Quality" Criterion. However, examining the all rounder candidates shows that the top 10 batters contribute an average of 71.6 runs and 1.7 wickets per test; and the top 10 bowlers contribute 39.2 runs and 4.0 wickets per test. This implies an equalizing multiplier of 14. If we assume that catches and stumpings have half the weight of wickets, then the formula would be: runs+wickets*14+catches*7+stumpings*7 (per test averages), This would result in (igroring stumpings): 1.GS Sobers WI 93tests 80.37+2.53*14+0.59*7=129.9 2.JH Kallis SA 158tests 82.15+1.78*14+0.61*7=115.6 3.IT Botham Eng 102t 50.98+3.75*14+0.59*7=111.8 4.TL Goddard SA 41t 61.37+3.00*14+0.59*7=111.6 5.RJ Hadlee NZ 86t 36.33+5.01*14+0.23*7=109.7 6.WR Hammond Eng 85 85.28+0.98*14+0.65*7=108.0 7.RB Simpson Aus 62t 78.53+1.15*14+0.89*7=107.0 8.AW Greig Eng 58t 62.05+2.43*14+0.75*7=106.6 9.MH Mankad Ind 44t 47.93+3.68*14+0.38*7=105.7 10,CL Cairns...

  • TopC on January 4, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    @ Xolile Sorry, but your 18 constant is meaningless: since it is applied to everyone it is redundant; adding nothing; and subtracting nothing to/from the comparisons!!

  • flavoidastic on January 3, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    Well Written.. Even as an Indian I would rate Kallis as one of the best batsman and as the Best Allrounder ever to play cricket..Even in Australia last month, Australia were struggling against Kallis but he got injured and Australia amassed huge total.. Such is his capability even at this age!! But sadly, as stated, he has never been given the due he deserves..It does not matter if he surpasses Sachin's record or not because both should not be compared..As Ganguly once said Sachin maybe the best batsman but the best player would always be Kallis with his all round capabilities..As for records Sachin fears Kallis that is why he retired from one day where he was not playing much matches and not from tests where he performed so badly..

  • on January 3, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    I'm so proud to be a South African - I remember early on in Kallis' carreer 1994/95 he was plagued with back injuries and batted number 8 averaging almost 10 or so (may have been provincial from what I recall) , but once that cleared he hasn't slowed down or been injured in 17 years...this is almost ridiculous the amount of effort that he puts into his fitness while pushing himself to the extreme in batting as well as bowling!

  • Kazimabidi on January 3, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    To leave out Ian Botham from the list of the best all rounders will be a sin. While Kallis and Sobers were batting all rounders , Botham was a great bowler who also batted well. Sobers (92 tests) and Botham bowled almost same number of deliveries in their careers (21,500) . Botham took 383 wickets while Sobers had 235. The bowling all-rounders get all opportunity to bat but a batting all-rounder gets a chance to bowl only if he is good. This is the reason Kallis, despite playing almost 60 tests more than Sobers and Botham, bowled fewer deliveries. Do Not forget , he played alongside 3 great S.African bowlers - Donald, Shaun Pollack and Dale Steyn. Yet he has taken 283 Wkts.. I will rate him over Sobers.

  • BellCurve on January 3, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    @TopC - I will explain the use of the constant 18. A good specialist bowler takes around 4 wickets per match and contributes around 15 runs with the bat. His total contribution is therefore equal to 4*18+14=86. A good specialist batsman scored around 80 runs per match and takes around 0.33 wickets. His total contribution is therefore equal to 0.33*18+80=86. By the introduction of the constant 18 the contribution of batsmen and bowlers are equalised.

  • on January 2, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest Modern Day Cricketer. He is already one of the best batsmen in the world. Besides his batting he even bowls.( not as much as before). He is so good it's as if South Africa had 12 players instead of 11. His bowling average is around the same as some bowling heavyweights like Harbhajan Singh and Zaheeer Khan etc. His batting average stands above all other players anyway. Ponting , Tendulkar are great no doubt but Kallis was more then a batsment, he was your complete player. First name on your team sheet.

  • youfoundme on January 2, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    It's an exciting series for me. Being a Kiwi I'm obliged to follow 'my' side, but South Africa are a team that are cut from a different cloth, compared to all other nations that have reached the same heights. I admire their progression through a rocky history, and I'd like to think the application and intensity that people like Kallis and Steyn bring to the game can rub off on our players.

  • on January 1, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    This Ferdous Moonda is as good as the swetest mithai. The writing is smooth as silk without being overly flattering. The use of facts to boost a viewpoint, is very skilfully done. As for Kallis, he has always been a superhero in my eyes. I have lost count of the gems that he has produced with bat and ball, over and over again. I don't bother looking at records anymore. Just sit back and watch a Master teaching the minnows how the game is played. Amazingly, he makes most of the opposition look like minnows whenever he is playing, in whatever format. The land of SA is truly blessed to have players like Kallis, Amla, Stein, Smith etc., all part of the same playing eleven. Thanks for the memories, guys. This is the most gifted team of all time.

  • GingerBiggles on January 1, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    Jacques Kallis - simply put, the greatest all-rounder in test cricket history. He deserves all the credit and plaudits that he is getting. More often than not, over the last decade, his steadiness and consistency have been outshone by the genius of Sachin or the sheer dominance of Ponting. But how can one ignore the ample facts - almost 13,000 runs, 300 wickets and 200 catches. If his body lets him continue in the same vein for 2-3 years more, we could still see Tendulkar's and Dravid's records fall. Cricket will be a lot poorer the day he decides to retire and one hopes that that day does not come about for some time.

  • TopC on January 4, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    @ Xolile. On reflection, I rather like your "Quality" Criterion. However, examining the all rounder candidates shows that the top 10 batters contribute an average of 71.6 runs and 1.7 wickets per test; and the top 10 bowlers contribute 39.2 runs and 4.0 wickets per test. This implies an equalizing multiplier of 14. If we assume that catches and stumpings have half the weight of wickets, then the formula would be: runs+wickets*14+catches*7+stumpings*7 (per test averages), This would result in (igroring stumpings): 1.GS Sobers WI 93tests 80.37+2.53*14+0.59*7=129.9 2.JH Kallis SA 158tests 82.15+1.78*14+0.61*7=115.6 3.IT Botham Eng 102t 50.98+3.75*14+0.59*7=111.8 4.TL Goddard SA 41t 61.37+3.00*14+0.59*7=111.6 5.RJ Hadlee NZ 86t 36.33+5.01*14+0.23*7=109.7 6.WR Hammond Eng 85 85.28+0.98*14+0.65*7=108.0 7.RB Simpson Aus 62t 78.53+1.15*14+0.89*7=107.0 8.AW Greig Eng 58t 62.05+2.43*14+0.75*7=106.6 9.MH Mankad Ind 44t 47.93+3.68*14+0.38*7=105.7 10,CL Cairns...

  • TopC on January 4, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    @ Xolile Sorry, but your 18 constant is meaningless: since it is applied to everyone it is redundant; adding nothing; and subtracting nothing to/from the comparisons!!

  • flavoidastic on January 3, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    Well Written.. Even as an Indian I would rate Kallis as one of the best batsman and as the Best Allrounder ever to play cricket..Even in Australia last month, Australia were struggling against Kallis but he got injured and Australia amassed huge total.. Such is his capability even at this age!! But sadly, as stated, he has never been given the due he deserves..It does not matter if he surpasses Sachin's record or not because both should not be compared..As Ganguly once said Sachin maybe the best batsman but the best player would always be Kallis with his all round capabilities..As for records Sachin fears Kallis that is why he retired from one day where he was not playing much matches and not from tests where he performed so badly..

  • on January 3, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    I'm so proud to be a South African - I remember early on in Kallis' carreer 1994/95 he was plagued with back injuries and batted number 8 averaging almost 10 or so (may have been provincial from what I recall) , but once that cleared he hasn't slowed down or been injured in 17 years...this is almost ridiculous the amount of effort that he puts into his fitness while pushing himself to the extreme in batting as well as bowling!

  • Kazimabidi on January 3, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    To leave out Ian Botham from the list of the best all rounders will be a sin. While Kallis and Sobers were batting all rounders , Botham was a great bowler who also batted well. Sobers (92 tests) and Botham bowled almost same number of deliveries in their careers (21,500) . Botham took 383 wickets while Sobers had 235. The bowling all-rounders get all opportunity to bat but a batting all-rounder gets a chance to bowl only if he is good. This is the reason Kallis, despite playing almost 60 tests more than Sobers and Botham, bowled fewer deliveries. Do Not forget , he played alongside 3 great S.African bowlers - Donald, Shaun Pollack and Dale Steyn. Yet he has taken 283 Wkts.. I will rate him over Sobers.

  • TopC on January 2, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    @ Xolile your ideas show some merit, but, you seem to omit fielding from your calculations; surely an essential element of being an all rounder. I cannot devine your purpose in the 18 multiplier in your criteria 2 and 3! As to quantity your criterion is grossly biased towards the modern day player; remember that WWII took at lest 6 years out of the careers of many of the contenders of that era; also far fewer tests were played by earlier players, because of the constraints of TRAVEL times and AMATEUR status. Finally, only a single (maybe combined) criterion can possibly provide an objective, rather than subjective, result. Maybe someone else can come up with a more acceptable measure. @ Advin specialist fielding positions are held by those most suited to them; as such they are, surely, an important part of being a true all rounder, nevertheless, the weight of catches, and stumping, is already reduced for the reason you state. All interesting so far, but I'm yet to be convinced!

  • on January 2, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    Kallis is the Best All Rounder in all formats of the game and dare I say, of all legends in history too. Stern remains the best fast bowler in the current era. Now, as both have reached their milestones in the first day itself, I can say they deserve feats much greater then these. I hope they will continue to entertain us.

  • ZiggyMarley on January 2, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is the best batsman of the modern era. He has played half his games in South Africa, where it is far more difficult to score runs than India for instance. Throw in his wickets, catches and performances in both ODIs and T20s, and even Sobers cannot touch him. It's pretty damn obvious. I'm not even really a fan of him but I can look at numbers objectively and say that, over a 17 year career, surely there is not a player who can compare to Kallis?

  • Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on January 2, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Kallis can make as many runs as he wants but he'll never be able to pass Sachin's tally !! .....EVER !!! :D

  • Silverbails on January 2, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    I think that if Jacques maintains his form and fitness over the next few years, he should be able to overtake SRT as THE top run-scorer in Test cricket. He certainly DESERVES that accolade, considering his contribution to the number of Proteas's wins that he's been directly involved in over the years, which sadly CANNOT be said of Sachin!! Of course, one shouldn't forget about his bowling and fielding exploits over the years, which certainly make SRT's overall Test records relatively poor by comparison!!

  • on January 2, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    @ inefekt. I don't agree with your assessment of Kallis particularly his test match batting average. It has remained at 55 + for more than TEN years which consistently makes him the top batsman in that format. He has the best average at 56.92 of ANY interntational player currently playing test match cricket and with SAs 2013 test schedule at home in conditions that favour him and where he has an outstanding record I suggest his average will actually improve. In fact I think it'll be nearer to 60 much superior to Sobers 57. At the end of his career & the start of Kallis the mid 40s was considered a decent average in tests and if you achieved that then you could be regarded as a very good player. Different bats, tracks, bowling attacks and in conditions all round the world aside the statistical bar has been raised to + 55...now considered the true benchmark for great players. Greatest ever?...possibly not? Greatest NOW?...Certainly!

  • BellCurve on January 2, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    @inefect - If you want to reduce Kallis batting average by 10%, then you should also reduced his bowling average by 10%. Hope you follow the logic?

  • inefekt on January 2, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Kallis is a great cricketer no doubt but let's not be silly and label him the best to ever play this game. That's going way over board and is disrespectful to great players of the past. Sobers averaged 60 for most of his career, only dipping below that towards the end. Batsmen today bat with railway sleepers while the players of yesteryear batted with fence pickets and still needed to hit the ball a good ten meters further to register a boundary due to the lack of ropes. It's quite widely acknowledged that batsmen today have averages which are inflated by at least 5 runs per innings, probably closer to 10. Also, Kallis hasn't even finished his career so he's yet to experience the inevitable twilight career slump we've seen recently with guys like Ponting and Sachin so his averages are going to fall. By how far? Perhaps 3 or 4 runs so he's likely to finish with his average below 55. That average is effectively mid to high 40's given the advantages outlined above. Greatest ever? No.

  • on January 2, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Scoring 13000 runs in Tests is not a simple thing. Its a perfect reflection of Class, commitment and composure for years. There can and will be very few who can cross this goldstone. Kallis is one of greatest players ever played. From now on every run he scores makes records in form or the other like the way sachin did in recent times. He deserves kind of respect what sachin or other great players are enjoying.

  • BellCurve on January 2, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @TopC - Your formula could essentially be reduced to Runs*Wickets/Matches. That doesn't make sense as the number of times a batsman has been dismissed and the number of runs a bowler concedes are not taken into consideration. Consider instead the following forumulae: 1 Quality: Batting Average / Bolwing Average 2 Quantity (Career): Runs + Wickets * 18 3 Quantity (Contribution per match): (Runs + Wickets * 18)/Matches If you run these furmulae you'll see Kallis tops the list for 1 and 2, and Sobers for 3. These two really stand out head and shoulders above the rest on a purely statistical basis.

  • on January 2, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    its great reward for u and me bcoz i love ur cricket too much inspite of being indian, when india having also sachin and drawid bt u r great among all. bye go and rich 13000 runs best of luck.

  • on January 2, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    To Shahed Ahmed and any others who doubt that JACQUES KALLIS is the GREATEST CRICKETER who ever lived, please look at the figures: Name: Runs : Batt Ave: 100s : Catches: Wkts : Bowl Ave: Kallis : 12980 56.92 44 192 282 32.57 Sobers : 8032 57.78 26 109 235 34.03 Tendular: 15645 54.32 51 114 45 54.64 Ponting: 13378 51.85 41 196 5 55.20 Lara : 11953 52.88 34 164 0 00.00 Dravid : 13288 52.31 36 210 1 39.00

    There is NO Question that KALLIS is the greatest all round cricketer EVER, but also on of the top two or three BATSMEN ever. You cannot argue with the figures.............

  • on January 2, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Yes, Kallis is the one of the greatest all rounder in test criket.Now he knock the door of 13,000.At this stage his Avg is greater than sachin,ponting or dravid.We can say that he is equally gud in test as sachin,But the main thing is he never carry the hopes of billion people,no pressure whatsoever in his shoulder when he went to the crease.No hype he can gather.So its the main reason teams are not concert to "how can get rid off" but if u talk about Tendulkar every team at every time they making plan and strategics about Tendulkar wicket.And waht more Tendulkar is all time greatest batsman in Odi;s.I respect Kallis and sorry for he is not geting fame as other but with same side its the main reason of success of Kallis.Cric info please publish!!!

  • Advin on January 2, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Top C - I find your analysis interesting .However if your model shows Imran Khan at No 9 and a lesser allrounder than Goddard,Greig ,Mankad and Cairns ,then the model is flawed.Maybe catches need to get less weightage as Botham and Sobers were specialist catching fielders while Imran was not.I would say Sobers,Kallis and Imran are the three best allrounders ever.

  • Rich001 on January 2, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Dale Steyn is one wicket away from joining the prestigious '300-wicket club', of which three other South African bowlers, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini are already part of.

    One too many 'of' s in that sentence.

  • on January 2, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    Shahed Ahmed. You are the ignorant one. Kallis has made runs against everyone. Fewer in England than anywhere else but more than 80 of his Tests have been played on SA wickets favorable to seam bowling. He is the best batsman in world cricket and, with Sobers, the best all-round cricketer ever.

  • RaadQ on January 2, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    @Shahed Amhed, he averaged 65.50 against England in England (and they were #1), and 56.50 against Australia in Australia. On top he picked up some handy wickets and took some good catches, all at this age. And you claim he cannot perform against top teams? How did Tendulkar perform against the exact same oppositions?

  • Humdingers on January 2, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    @Proteatensious - not quite sure why you want to bring in Indians and Australians into your 2 cents when I don't see anyone comparing Kallis to Tendulkar or Ponting. He's an all rounder but also can hold his own in batting (RE: 13,000 runs) and bowling. His true worth will come through once he retires (as with all the greats of the game). @Soso_killer - well said mate.

  • on January 2, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    why people consider Kallis among the best modern day batsman, I just do not understand. Look at his records, he struggled against good quality bowling. I mean his best records are against India, NZ, PAK (post wasim, waqar, saqlain and soaib) and WI. Come on guys, look at his records against Australian, Paksitan, sri lanka with murali, you you will shut up. I think he is a fine player, but to say he is as good as Ponting or Tendulkar or a Lara is just ignorance.

  • SunkenBrush1850 on January 2, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    The Blackcaps are going to play competitively 1 of the 3 or 4 days this test lasts. Other than that we will get a hiding to the best current test team on the planet. The likes of Steyn and Kallis deserve all the accolades they are given. 13000 runs is just a number, same with 300 wickets. Its about going out there and getting the job done, something South African cricket has done very well over the past couple of years...something which New Zealand cricket needs to learn to do to get out of the ICC ranking cellar.

  • Mervo on January 2, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    AND Glen McGrath had almost 600 wickets at 21 average. Long way to go!

  • TimRichman on January 2, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    For crying out loud, Firdose, JK still has to score the 20 runs - this is cricket, nothing is guaranteed. He could get a pair, he could get 19 and SA only bats once, there could be injury or rain. So to say that he WILL get to 13,000 runs in the next Test is, at the very least, tempting fate. I'd say it's crummy imperative journalism - which, sadly, I'm now quite familiar with.

  • disney12 on January 2, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest cricketer of all time - period. Just one thought though, he could get a duck in both innings and not reach the 13000 runs in this home test! Let's not jump the gun - however, I back him to get a century again at Newlands as he so often does...great article, go SA!

  • Proteatensious on January 2, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    I will never understand many of these articles regarding Kallis , which aim to flatter the man but still blatantly underestimate him . Whether Kallis is the best batsmen of the modern era is debatable , amongst Lara , pointing , and Tendulkar but argue about him being the best player of the modern era and you are a fruit cake . What really confuses me is that he is actually so much better than other player in recent time but he must be considered as one of or arguably etc.

    Please Jacques ignore these easy records and go for sachins test centuries , let all Indians and Australians know that any argument against you be the greatest is invalid.

    (1990 til present)

  • TopC on January 1, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    I am one of Jacques Kallis' greatest fans....certainly the best all rounder playing the game today. But, the greatest ever? No I don't think, statistically anyway. Purely on the basis of statistics, consider this list: 1. GS Sobers (WI); 2. IT Botham (Eng); 3. TL Goddard (SA); 4. AW Greig(Eng); 5. JH Kallis (SA); 6. MH Mankad (Ind); 7. CL Cairns (NZ); 8. RJ Hadlee (NZ); 9. Imran Khan (Pak); 10. KR Miller (Aus) ....Based on the formula: (Runs/test)*[(Wickets/test)+(Catches/test/2)+(Stumpings/test)/2]

  • Soso_killer on January 1, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    Lol @Englishcricket you probably embarrassed at the lack of talent in England. South Africa were isolated for over 20 years in sports (not just cricket), and yet in the last 20 years we have achieved so much in terms of cricket and rugby than England has achieved in its entire history.

    How many English men have scored 10 000 runs in test cricket? What about 400 wickets?

    Smith, Amla, AB in 3 years time will have achieved what no English man has ever achieved. And by the way your best/greatest batsman is a South African, i would do very well to keep my mouth shut if i were you.

  • on January 1, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    The South African team is well oiled and raring to go.As they step out onto Newlands the side must remember the cricket commentators that have passed away recently-Greigy and CMJ. Two fine men who were great friends of our team.NZ will have to play hard and have some luck.Remember the weather and light plays a role too.Ready for action.

  • on January 1, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    Altho' now 37 we regrettably have to accept that he is in the twilight of his career but with comparatively a lighter schedule in 2013 he has another 10 test matches - a potential maximum of 20 innings - with most of them at home - and particularly in CT where he has an exceptional record I fully expect him to surpass both Dravid & Ponting in terms of runs scored by the end of this calendar year. I also predict that he'll be closing in on 300 wickets too. Only then perhaps will he finally be recognised for what in terms of bald statistics he is and that is quite simply the greatest all rounder of the modern era. He will fitness & form permitting finish tests as the 2nd highest run scorer of all time AND in the top 30 bowlers of all time. People have lamented the recent test and ODI retirements of Ponting & SRT but I can honestly say that it'll be a REALLY sad day when he finishes as his achievements will NEVER be surpassed.

  • Greatest_Game on January 1, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Mikey76 0 Cook might well pass them all if he has the staying power & can last another 10 years. However, @ EnglishCricket would say that it means nothing - just that he played a lot of innings.

  • mikey76 on January 1, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Cook will be up there in 10 yrs. already has 7000 runs and he's only 27.

  • greatshinwari on January 1, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    I think kallis is the master of all batsmen of the last two or three decades....best in all discilplines of the game...truly the legend...

  • Robster1 on January 1, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    Test match attendances at Newlands are almost very large - a couple of years ago against England there were over 80,000 there.

  • chris54 on January 1, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    Kallis is the main reason that SRT doesn´t retire. He wants to make sure he can´t be caught. Even if he retires now, Kallis would need 3 years at 1000+ runs per.year.

  • klsau on January 1, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @EnglishCricket Not every player in these exclusive clubs are all about 'quantity'...it's about sustaining quality along with this quantity...The players in these clubs are all-time greats(Kallis has an average of about 57...very impressive even in the modern game)...It's just that you you can't use it as the sole argument to compare with past legends

  • on January 1, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    Will supersports show the games? anyone knows?

  • on January 1, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    When someone takes wicket at a rate of malcom marshall in 60 tests, you must say he is a great great fast bowler. And about kallis there is nothing new to say.

  • thirdmanboundary on January 1, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Firdose, how do you do it? You seem to write these wonderful, insightful and engaging pieces almost every day. I've impressed not just by the quality of your writing but by the speed at which you produce it without lowering your standards. Until you came along, South Africa sorely lacked a talented cricket writer. (I remember Gary Kirsten trying his hand at one point and the results were pitiful. He knows a ton about cricket but not much about sentences or how to shape an essay). So, as a South African living in the cricket wilderness of the US, I want to thank you for keeping me in touch through such compelling pieces. Whatever you write, I enjoy. So, you and Jacques Kallis alike, please don't retire early! I hope the New Year is a great one for you and surprising in pleasant ways.

  • on January 1, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I think they have all the ingredients and capabilities to stay at the top for a longer period.Because they have a very good and proven coach.Who knows the game very well.He realize that their couple of players will retire in near future.So he started bringing young talented players in side and giving them chance to groom along with seniors.Most important thing he do to keep each individual physically fit and mentaly strong to contribute in sucess of team.

  • ravikb on January 1, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Firdose, how are you so sure that Kallis reaches 13000 in this test match itself? There are 2 instances in this article that says so. First one is "When the 13,000 comes up, Kallis will be the fastest to the mark in terms of number of matches. Cape Town will be his 159th Test" and the next one is "That Kallis' major milestone will come on his home ground is fitting.". He still needs 20 runs more. There is a very good chance of that not happening in this Test match. Don't jump the gun before hand. It will come hard and bite you.

  • EnglishCricket on January 1, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Its all about quality NOT quantity. These 'exclusive' clubs mean nothing just played lots of matches common sense.

  • SurlyCynic on January 1, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    I really hope the SA media don't mention 'domination' and 'legacy' too much. Let's just enjoy getting to #1 and hope the good performances continue.

    When England got to #1 they started talking this way and look what happened there. At least we haven't favourably compared our bowlers to Warne and McGrath like they did but let's not go there.

  • SurlyCynic on January 1, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    I really hope the SA media don't mention 'domination' and 'legacy' too much. Let's just enjoy getting to #1 and hope the good performances continue.

    When England got to #1 they started talking this way and look what happened there. At least we haven't favourably compared our bowlers to Warne and McGrath like they did but let's not go there.

  • EnglishCricket on January 1, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Its all about quality NOT quantity. These 'exclusive' clubs mean nothing just played lots of matches common sense.

  • ravikb on January 1, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Firdose, how are you so sure that Kallis reaches 13000 in this test match itself? There are 2 instances in this article that says so. First one is "When the 13,000 comes up, Kallis will be the fastest to the mark in terms of number of matches. Cape Town will be his 159th Test" and the next one is "That Kallis' major milestone will come on his home ground is fitting.". He still needs 20 runs more. There is a very good chance of that not happening in this Test match. Don't jump the gun before hand. It will come hard and bite you.

  • on January 1, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I think they have all the ingredients and capabilities to stay at the top for a longer period.Because they have a very good and proven coach.Who knows the game very well.He realize that their couple of players will retire in near future.So he started bringing young talented players in side and giving them chance to groom along with seniors.Most important thing he do to keep each individual physically fit and mentaly strong to contribute in sucess of team.

  • thirdmanboundary on January 1, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Firdose, how do you do it? You seem to write these wonderful, insightful and engaging pieces almost every day. I've impressed not just by the quality of your writing but by the speed at which you produce it without lowering your standards. Until you came along, South Africa sorely lacked a talented cricket writer. (I remember Gary Kirsten trying his hand at one point and the results were pitiful. He knows a ton about cricket but not much about sentences or how to shape an essay). So, as a South African living in the cricket wilderness of the US, I want to thank you for keeping me in touch through such compelling pieces. Whatever you write, I enjoy. So, you and Jacques Kallis alike, please don't retire early! I hope the New Year is a great one for you and surprising in pleasant ways.

  • on January 1, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    When someone takes wicket at a rate of malcom marshall in 60 tests, you must say he is a great great fast bowler. And about kallis there is nothing new to say.

  • on January 1, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    Will supersports show the games? anyone knows?

  • klsau on January 1, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @EnglishCricket Not every player in these exclusive clubs are all about 'quantity'...it's about sustaining quality along with this quantity...The players in these clubs are all-time greats(Kallis has an average of about 57...very impressive even in the modern game)...It's just that you you can't use it as the sole argument to compare with past legends

  • chris54 on January 1, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    Kallis is the main reason that SRT doesn´t retire. He wants to make sure he can´t be caught. Even if he retires now, Kallis would need 3 years at 1000+ runs per.year.

  • Robster1 on January 1, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    Test match attendances at Newlands are almost very large - a couple of years ago against England there were over 80,000 there.