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Popular players of South African cricket team: Jacques Kallis

by on February 23, 2011
in Profiles, South Africa


Formidable batsman, splendid bowler and an extremely athletic fielder, very few cricketers in the history of the game have been as complete in all departments as the South African cricket team all-rounder Jacques Kallis.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1975, the tall, good looking South African made his ODI debut against England cricket team in 1996. Since then he has represented South African team in 307 matches and scored a staggering 1100,2 runs at a fantastic average of 45.84. Kallis likes to spend a lot of time at the crease; hence he has 17 centuries and 80 fifties to his name with a top score of a 139. With the ball, Jacque Kallis has often been the opening bowler for his team and has not shied back from bowling at the toughest stages of the game. To his credit he has 259 wickets in the ODIs at a decent average of just under 32 with his best bowling being 5/30.

Kallis has always been a solid performer for his team during the World Cups but has not been lucky to have won any edition of the tournament yet. His high point in his world cup career came in the 2007 Cricket World Cup tournament held in the West Indies where he was the leading run scorer for his team with 485 runs though this was not without heavy criticism from the South African press, who blamed the stylish right hander for playing at a slower rate than he normally does.

At the 2011 Cricket World Cup Jacques Kallis was the main stay of the South African side and a lot depends on his shoulders if his side our to lift the gold laden trophy for the first time. Kallis has now retired from International Cricket. His legacy however will live for many generations. Due to his match winning ability and classy batting, it is fair to call him “King Kallis“. 

Jacques Kallis is one of the four batsmen who have reached the mark of 13,000 runs in world test cricket. He may be the most undercover batsman and may not be considered one of the greatest batsmen of all times, but the facts suggest something else. No matters what the people around the globe say about Sachin, Ponting or Lara being the greatest test batsman of all times, but the facts suggest that the most prolific batsman in test cricket is Jacques Kallis himself. His average of 56.10 is unmatched by any of these players.

After the inclusion of South Africa in world cricket, this team has performed as a unit and has been among the best teams throughput with splendid consistency. The credit for the success of the Proteas goes to some of the greats which also include Kallis and his magnificent run with both bat and ball. Whenever we talk about the greatest batsman in test cricket, Kallis leaves behind all his counterparts which includes Ponting, Sachin and Lara even when we do not take his all-round abilities into account. His average is far superior to the other three and his number of innings per fifty is also the least (2.62 innings per 50+ score) which is a little above Sachin Tendulkar (2.66 innings per 50+ score).

If we look at the number of centuries, he is only behind the legend Sachin Tendulkar, who has 51 test centuries as compared to 44 centuries of Kallis. But the number of centuries per innings is far below than that of Sachin. Out of the 44 test centuries, South Africa has lost only three times which shows how much an inning of 100+ scores from Kallis is important for his team’s victory. Kallis is the only batsman in the history of test cricket to have an average of over 40 in all the four innings of test matches.

History has the tendency to be kind of entertainers and pioneers and unfortunately for Kallis, he does not fit properly into any of these criteria. In terms of style, elegance and entertainment Kallis plays second fiddle to Dravid, Sachin and Lara, but style alone should not account for a batsman’s greatness. It will take a lot more than an assessment of style and record to term Jacques Henry Kallis as the greatest batsman after Sir Don Bradman in test cricket. His average of 55+, both away and home shows his quality and dependability as a test batsman. He lacks the aggression and dash of Lara, Sachin or Ponting, but his way of amassing runs has been incredible.

The tag of an all-rounder has been the one point which has been a reason for Kallis not being considered as the greatest batsman. As soon as one starts comparing Kallis with other great batsmen, we suddenly have this feeling that, why are we comparing an all rounder with a batsman? But the fact is that, this all rounder has been the greatest batsman throughout his test career, apart from being the greatest all rounder of all time in tests.

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