South Africa news September 10, 2013

SA has produced the best allrounders - Bacher


South Africa is home to more world-class allrounders than any other nation, according to former Test captain and administrator Ali Bacher. In his new book, Jacques Kallis and 12 other Great South African All-Rounders Bacher and author David Williams pay tribute to the country's premier allrounders, who Bacher believes are the stand-outs in their field.

"David and I are of the opinion that this country has produced more great allrounders than any other Test-playing nation," Bacher told ESPNcricinfo ahead of the publication's launch. "Most other teams only had one great allrounder at a time but South Africa had many."

Bacher made reference to the likes of England when Ian Botham starred for them and Pakistan in the time Imran Khan played and compared that to South Africa's stocks. "There were two periods when South Africa had four allrounders in the same team. I captained Eddie Barlow, Tiger Lance, Mike Proctor and Trevor Goddard. And then if you look at the team Hansie Cronje led, they had Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Brian McMillan."

In addition to the names mentioned above, Jimmy Sinclair, Aubrey Faulkner, Basil D'Oliveira, Tony Greig and Clive Rice make up the other men the book examines. While Bacher says "Garfield Sobers remains the greatest cricketer of all time," he hopes to shed light on the talent South Africa has produced.

He is particularly proud of the comment Steve Waugh made during an interview with him at Lord's this year. "Steve Waugh called Jacques Kallis 'one of the greatest cricketers of all time,' and that is really a compliment worth sharing," he said.

Although Bacher had personal interactions with 10 of the 13 cricketers, writing the book "told me things I didn't know about them." For example, he spent time with Basil d'Oliveira's family in Cape Town. "They showed me the house where he was born and from which the family were evicted when the Group Areas' Act came into being. And I also went to the point where he would run at Signal Hill. It was a wonderful day spent with them," Bacher said.

D'Oliveira's fitness regime was not the only one Bacher took note of. Rice, the only inclusion in the book who did not play Test cricket, was also known for his athleticism. "He was one of the first cricketers to really place an emphasis on physical fitness. After training he would sprint around the field and he always said he just wanted to be the fittest cricket around so when the time came to play Test cricket he would be ready," Bacher said.

Rice never donned the whites for South Africa (he played three ODIs) but many believe he would have been exceptional if he did. "Mike Proctor said of him, 'He always gave his best shot. If given the opportunity at Test level, he would have been considered one of the best allrounders in history,' Bacher recalled.

Proctor himself called South African provincial matches among "the toughest he played," according to Bacher, which speaks of the quality of the allrounders the country has produced. Through the work, Bacher would find a common thread running through all the men he featured. "They all have tremendous commitment and passion and they all work hard at their skills," he said.

Bacher does not have an answer for why the number of South Africa's seam-bowling allrounders has dwindled in recent years but is hopeful more will be discovered soon, because he thinks it can only be to the benefit of the national team. "As a captain, it's definitely easier when you have allrounders in your side," he said. "You can effectively be playing with 13 or 14 men on the field. That's a huge plus."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    On Batting talent alone, Kallis can be considered an all time great in my opinion.Even within his contemporaries(Sachin,Ponting,Lara maybe) He stands head to head.His test and Odi avg are both slightly better than Sachin. His bowling was very impressive. To those saying that 288 test wickets in 150 matches isnt match, let me remind you. He hasnt bowled much in the last two season BUT he was never USED as a strike bowler(could have been).Look who he had to relieve! He was used to give the likes of shaun pollock and donald a rest in tests. He was the third of forth bowling option and its his skill more than his numbers that make him a proper bowler.He would have made most bowling sides in the world purely on his 140kph swing bowling. An excellent fielder.For me, he personifies the perfect athlete, a master cricketer.I havent seen the great allrounders of the past, but he def. is equal to the best batsman of his time, he might be it and may well be the great allounder ever.

  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    @Kallis Critics

    His Bowling average and strike rates are similar to that of India's Zaheer Khan. So, what is Zaheer Khan if Kallis is a batting all-rounder? ODIs Z Khan (Asia/India) 2000-2012 200 197 10097 8301 282 5/42 29.43 4.93 35.8 7 1 J Srinath (India) 1991-2003 229 227 11935 8847 315 5/23 28.08 4.44 37.8 7 3 JH Kallis (Afr/ICC/SA) 1996-2012 321 280 10636 8558 270 5/30 31.69 4.82 39.3 2 2

    Tests J Srinath (India) 1991-2002 67 121 15104 7196 236 8/86 13/132 30.49 2.85 64.0 10 1 Z Khan (India) 2000-2012 88 158 17612 9545 295 7/87 10/149 32.35 3.25 59.7 10 1 JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2013 162 267 19842 9341 288 6/54 9/92 32.43 2.82 68.8 5 0

  • ESPN on September 12, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    Kallis the best

  • Ashok on September 11, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Yes, South Africa produced many All- Rounders in the past & Kallis is the living example of one. Aparthied ban imposed on SA crippled the careers of All rounders like Proctor, Barry Richards & Barlow. Each of them was a superb cricketer & was comparable to Kallis. Without international Test record, it is impossible to judge their greatness. Pollock had limited chance to prove his value.It was just a stroke of luck that John Arlott brought D'Oliveira to England which eventually enabled him to represent England & be known as a formidable Cricketer. I watched Dolly play against Grifith in a Test match in England. Tony Greig made his transition from SA to England national team under his own steam. He even captained England. Recent matches between India A Vs. SA A showed that Parnell has the potential to be one fast bowling all rounder, once he gets over his health issues. Gary Sobers was the greatest ever All round Cricketer the world has seen, as Bacher states! No one comes close to him!

  • Chris on September 11, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Truth hurts but the fact of the matter is he has played a staggering 162 (2 innings of bowling per match) test matches and 342 ODIs to date so his 288 and 270 wickets is nothing great. And according to test rankings, there are only 10 countries of more than 200. Its difficult to win an argument with facts my friends. Kallis is a world class player but more of a batting all-rounder than a genuine one :P

  • Karabo Obakeng on September 11, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    EDIT______@ Cricket_is_Unpopular-hopefully for the last time; Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jauysariya, Steve Waugh, Carl Hooper, Scott Styris and Chris Cairns. What do those guys have in common. Here's a clue, they've only been really seen as all-rounders in the ODI format, while Kallis' stats are freekishly similar in both formats. If you concentrated more on cricket and a lot less on baseball, ice hockey and American football then we'd have a lot less of these embarrassing moments.

  • Karabo Obakeng on September 11, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    @ Cricket_is_Unpopular-hopefully for the last time; Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jauysariya, Steve Waugh, Carl Hooper, Scott Styris and Chris Cairns. What do those guys have in common. Here's a clue, they've only been really seen as all-rounders in the ODI format, while Kallis' stats are freekishly similar in both formats. If you concentrated more on cricket and a lot less baseball, ice hockey and American football and a lot then we'd have a lot less of these embarrassing moments.

  • Mark on September 11, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    and Cricket_is_unpopular...surely if the likes of Kallis achieved what he did against some of the best teams, the inclusion of the teams you mentioned, would more than double his stats as there would be more teams to take runs and wickets off, that are not that strong.....oh yes...and those countries you mention do play cricket, although they are not in the same league as the big boys. Think you should find a sport you actually know something about before commenting.

  • Tshepiso on September 11, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    "Cricket_is_Unpopular", you are totally clueless about the game hence your name. Its 288 and 270, also +10,000 runs in both formats. I doubt there ever will be someone as great as he is in his role. Look at the likes of Shane Watson, undoubtedly talented but his stats tell you that no matter how talented you are, its difficult to maintain the rate of scoring and wicket taking as much as Kallis has maintained. Kallis is natural talent plus 99.9% perfection! Respect that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chris on September 11, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Seems a lot of people find it hard to hear views which greatly differs from them. Kallis 288 and 270 wickets yeah but how many matches? I'm not denying his batting his batting is exceptional but bowling is overrated. Anyone can get that amount of wickets with a staggering amount of matches. Had Cricket been played by numerous more countries like USA, Canada. France etc then I can guarantee you that there would've been more than 2 dozen better all-rounders than Kallis.

  • No featured comments at the moment.