Jaques Kallis- one of the greatest all-rounders of all time, if not the best, bids adieu to Test cricket after the Second Test Match between India and South Africa at Durban, starting from today.
Jaques Kallis is the fourth highest run scorer the history of Test cricket, behind legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid. And if that was not enough, Kallis has 292 test wickets at an average of 32.53 and 199 catches to his credit, which is second only to Rahul Dravid.
Kallis has plundered 13,174 runs at sizeable average of 55.12. He has 44 centuries and 58 half centuries to his credit. At times, Kallis makes you wonder if he is an all-rounder or a premiere batsman. With an average of 55.12 he edges past all the three batsmen ahead of him. That shows how much this player has had a long standing impact on world cricket.
Kallis made his debut in 1995, 18 years ago. He announced his entry as a batsman in his seventh test, a drawn Boxing Day classic when he scored a fighting 101 at the MCG. It was not an innings of class, but it surely was an innings of character and temperament. Jaques Kallis had that un-ending hunger for runs, he always prized his wicket. He was always reluctant to give it away. His was one of the most prized wickets in World Cricket. After the Boxing Day knock, where he scored his first Test match ton, he grew in stature as a batsman and played many special innings, and contributed heavily to Proteas’ success. Kallis never had the glamour quotient in him as a batsman, he was all about determination, grit and great temperament. In the middle order, he was the rock of South African batting line-up. He served as the talisman for the team, when it went into deep crisis. Sometimes you need batsmen like these in cricket, in any format of the game. But as years passed by, of late he had been an epitomy of aggression. He showed the world, that he too is capable of playing the big shots.
Like any other legend, he had also been criticized severely citing that he is slow scoring and his inability to dominate bowling attacks when it was meant to be. This certainly points fingers at his loyalty to the team, putting his individual performance over the team. But these critics certainly don’t have any idea about the team dynamics in the South African team. He has always put his team first and his individual goals are just secondary. As we talk about his batting attributes, people tend to forget the value he adds as a cricketer with his bowling. He is just eight short of 300 wickets. He has troubled some of the best in the business like Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist. A Kallis bouncer can trouble the best of the batsmen. It is as lethal as it can get. His stunning attributes as a bowler illustrates his worth as a team player.
As Indian stalwart Rahul Dravid rightly pointed out he is and always will be “Once in a generation” kind of cricketer. A legend and a complete cricketer. Its easy to believe that SA was playing 2 men named Kallis, one a skilled bowler and the other a class batsman, than to believe that one player with superhuman skills scored over 13,000 runs,44 100’s and also took close to 300 wickets. A big salute to this legend! Hope he makes it big in Durban and ends on a high.The greatest this great game has ever seen.
By Jithu Jose Parackal