ODIs may limit Kallis' BBL stint
Playing as many ODIs for South Africa as possible in the lead-up to next year's World Cup remains Jacques Kallis' priority despite his new gig in the Big Bash League. On Thursday, Kallis was unveiled as Sydney Thunder's big-name signing for the next two seasons but the all-rounder will miss some matches during his first campaign in Australia.
Kallis' agent Dave Rundle confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that his player will return home from Sydney to play in an ODI series against West Indies early next year. South Africa are scheduled to play five ODIs against West Indies between January 16 and 28, which could clash with the BBL, which is typically held in December and January and Kallis will put country before club and cash for that period.
The matches against West Indies will be South Africa's last competitive outing before the World Cup and Kallis understands why taking part in them will be imperative to his hopes of representing South Africa at the tournament. "He wants to play as many ODIs as he can in the lead-up to the World Cup, especially because he doesn't just want to be one of those players that's just in the team. He really wants to contribute to South Africa winning," Rundle said.
South Africa have at least 23 ODIs pencilled in before the World Cup, which will keep Kallis busy over the next few months. He has been included in South Africa's touring party to Sri Lanka in July for three matches and aims to be part of the squads that travel to Zimbabwe (3 matches and a tri-series including Australia), New Zealand (three matches) and Australia (TBC) as well as the one that plays in the home fixtures against West Indies.
The busy ODI calendar has also meant Kallis will put limits on a journeyman T20 career for now. The only twenty-over cricket in his diary is the Champions League T20 in September, which his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders have qualified for.
Although Kallis only played in eight of Kolkata's 16 games and missed out as the tournament reached its business end, the franchise's CEO Venky Mysore called him the "heart and soul" of the team. Kallis was equally gracious about the tournament and Rundle said he told him it was "one of the most enjoyable IPLs he has been involved in."
Kallis is expected to take part in the IPL in the future as well as "maybe some other twenty-over cricket but only from next year," Rundle said. Given the number of games over the next few months Kallis' focus remains on South Africa, being selected for the World Cup and staying injury-free to be able to play in it. As it stands, he is on track. "He's had no injury worries, nothing like that," Rundle said. "Let's hope it stays that way."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent