South Africa news April 12, 2013

Kallis honoured to make it to Wisden list

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After 18 years as an international cricketer, the world's top-ranked Test allrounder Jacques Kallis, was finally named one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year. It may seem surprising that it took so long for the publication to honour Kallis, but given that its awards are confined to performances in England, their time lag was justified.

Until last July, Kallis' record in England was modest. He averaged less than 30 and only had one century, scored in Manchester in 1998. He had done better with the ball, with 35 wickets at 27.51, but the 2012 tour improved those statistics dramatically. He scored 262 runs in three Tests, including 182 at the Oval, which saw his batting average in England surge to 35.33 and he added four crucial wickets to his tally, including Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell in the first Test.

Kallis played an important role in South Africa taking the No.1 rankings off their opponents. For Kallis, to be included in the list was simply recognition for his role in ensuring the team finally summited after bubbling under for so long.

"It's a great honour, I had a pretty good season with South Africa and it's nice to be rewarded for that," he told Kolkata Knight Riders' official website. "But I don't play the game for those accolades. I play games to win for the team I am playing for. As much as it is a nice accolade, it's nice that the team had a good year as well."

Kallis also contributed to South Africa's series win in Australia with a hundred in Brisbane and at home against New Zealand and Pakistan. What is most noticeable is that he has begun to score at a quicker rate, playing the longest form of the game more aggressively.

His continued ability to maintain standards of excellence has earned him praise from many quarters, including Brendon McCullum, his KKR team-mate. "I'd say he is probably one of the five cricketers of all time," McCullum said. "He is a freak, so much talent and he is such a humble guy as well. He deserves every bit of the accolades he is getting because he is such a great guy, such a great team man and it's a great privilege to play with him."

KKR are the most recent beneficiaries of Kallis' skill. He opens both the batting and the bowling for them and Trevor Bayliss believes he will be vital to their title defence. "He just keeps doing it, batting and bowling. It's incredible - the longevity he has shown at the very highest end of world cricket," he said.

With age creeping up on him, Kallis is being carefully managed by South Africa. His bowling loads are monitored and he no longer plays bilateral ODI series. While he knows he is in the twilight years, Kallis hopes to be able to keep going - not because he wants to continue to stack up achievements but because, to borrow from Cyndi Lauper, he just wants to have fun.

"I'm getting on in life now but I'm still hungry; still enjoying it and there is still lots to achieve in the game. As long as I wake up in the morning happy to play this game and wanting to get results for the team I am playing for, I will carry on for as long as the body holds out," he said.

"I am not really one for setting personal goals. I prefer setting goals for the team. My personal targets would be to make the correct decisions for the team as many times as I can and hopefully Knight Riders will come out on top again."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 18, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    The true benchmark for being a GREAT all rounder is if you removed one facet from his game would he still be selected with the other? The answer to that unequivocally is...Yes!....every time!!!..on any track, anywhere around the world, in all conditions, and against every opposition. Based purely on bald statistics he is unquestionably the finest cricketer of certainly the modern (and arguably of any other) era. His figures are just phenomenal and they are unlikely ever to be surpassed. I've had the privilege of watching him play and I can honestly say he is the best white batsman I've ever seen. It will only be when he retires will everyone realise just how good (great) he is and although he is so unassuming and modest he deserves EVERY accolade the game can bestow on him.

  • AllroundCricketFan on April 15, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    Greatest all round cricketer ever. Batsman and Bowler. Take a bow Sir, you are truly a legend of this game. Makes other batsmen and bowlers look average with your numbers.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on April 15, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    The greatest cricketer to ever live!! Why? Because you will never find a player that can contribute more to his team with the skills that Kallis has. If you a captain and you have Kallis in your team, you are a very happy chap. Batting average of 56 (more than SRT), bowling average of 32 and almost 300 Test wickets, chuck in 180 catches. WOW !!

  • Nadeem1976 on April 15, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    There is no doubt that kallis is greatest bating alllrounder along with sobers. Kallis is what you describe a perfect cricketer. He has every attribute to be known as only a cricketer. Great batsman, good bowler, great slip fielder and great team player. Dream player for me. He should win ODI worldcup in 2015.

  • mithse89 on April 14, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    There is no doubt that KALLIS is the greatest player. i think we should congratulate wisden for getting their list finally right!!

  • dummy4fb on April 14, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Jayasuriya did not reinvent ODI batting Mark Greatbatch did exactly the same thing in the 92 WC! Please to compare Jayasuriya to Kallis is like comparing Shane Watson to Gary Sobers delusional :)

    @ maximum6 not sure how you can deduce Kallis has a problem with the moving ball since he plays most of his cricket in SA where the ball tends to move around a lot. Saying that I'm not sure why he hasnt be fantastic in England maybe its just one of those things ? still a batting average of 35 and a bowling average of 29.30 in England is still better than Flintoffs record in England with Batting Ave 35 and Bowling Ave 36 - Funny how people always use Kallis's performance in England as a judgement to say hes not good yet his performance there is on a par with England best all rounder since Botham!

  • AltafPatel on April 14, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks If 32 wickets is measure then Afridi has taken more than it and still playing. If 28 centuries is measure, Afridi has strike rate of 114 with batting average more than 25, little lower than Jayasuriya. To remind that, his highest score is 189, not 194. If 189 rates his best effort than Afridi has record of 37 ball 100 and second record as well of 45 ball hundred. Jayasuriya was not so consistent as Kallis without doubt in both, batting and bowling. Excellent fielding was Kallis's another plus point making him perfect. Without doubt he is best all-rounder in both formats and everyone accept that.

  • Greatest_Game on April 14, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @ Baseball-Sucks. If you quote stats, quote ALL the stats. You list Jayasuriya's 123 ODI catches, conveniently failing to note that Kallis has taken MORE ODI catches - 125! Oops. Coincidentally, the number between the two - 124 - is the exact difference between Jayasuriya's 445 ODI's, and Kallis' 321. What an astounding twist of fate! and what's more, SJ's best ODI bowling figs are 6/29, & JK's are 5/30. Almost spooky that the numbers are so close!

    Not astounding is Kalllis' better ODI batting ave, 45.26 versus SJ's 32.96, & that JK's ODI bowling ave of 31.69 beats SJ's 36.75. Those are the numbers that count. Kallis' better batting ave is expected - he always batted in the top order. Jayasuriya however spent half his career batting down the order - he was primarily a bowler, yet Kallis has the better bowlin figs, ave, & strike rate!

    Not unexpected at all, though, is that you are simply wrong! Kallis IS the better ODI all-rounder - Jayasuriya just played a lot more games!

  • Baseball-Sucks on April 14, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @Pakeeran Siriratnam ; Sanath is a hit n miss batsman?? lol It is a bit too consistent for a hit n miss batsman to score 28 ODI centuries, isn't it ?? I am not sure if somebody can make his way to his best score of 194 where the opposition team got all out for 54 runs. Dude, you can make over 13000+ career runs by riding the luck. Jayasuriya's average is low coz in the beginning of career he was batting at no. 6 or 7. And ODI batting requires constant aggression , specially when you open. Kallis doesn't have those big hitting abilities like. Kallis couldn't even dream of becoming a match winner like Jayasuriya. Thats why Sanath made Wisden list at the age of 25 where Kaliis had to wait till 35. Sanath will be remembered as the man who change the game.