Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Jacques of all trades!

Jacques Kallis. That is a name which every cricket team in the world would be hoping was in their playing eleven. It is really surprising that despite his achievements in the game over the past decade he is not spoken of in the same league as a Sachin Tendulkar or a Ricky Ponting.  His numbers as a batsman alone rank up along with the best to have ever played the game. To add to it, nearly 300 wickets in both forms of the game, we are now talking about one of the greatest all-rounders to have ever played the game. 

Kallis started as a lower middle order batsman, who could be considered good enough to be a first change bowler in the team. As the years went by, his skills as a batsman demanded a position in the top four. His bowling work load reduced, but Kallis the batsman just went leaps and bounds from then on. An average of over 60 in the 100 Tests he has played at no 4 is a testament to the fact.
For most part of his career Kallis was accused of being an extremely slow batsman. But over the last four years, he has shown a side of his game, which was never seen before. This can be seen in the figures below.

Strike Rate
Overall Career
Since 2008

                                   Statistics showing Kallis record in ODI cricket

His strike rate over the last four years in limited over cricket is 83 as compared to an overall career strike rate of 73. Mind you, despite his aggressive stint, the average is more or less the same which shows that he has vastly improved his game over this period. A part of the credit must go to the IPL, where he has developed his game and took it to the next level.

As a test batsman, he is already the fourth highest run scorer in the history of the game. In the process he has also become the second fastest batsman to score 13000 runs in tests.

There was a period in the 1980s when almost every major team had a great all-rounder. England had Ian Botham, Pakistan Imran Khan, India Kapil Dev and New Zealand Richard Hadlee. It is surprising that ever since, other than Kallis no other player has fulfilled all round duties over a long period of time. Andrew Flintoff, Chris Cairns, Lance Klusner all had their moments in the game, but never could consistently play over a long period of time mainly due to injuries as they couldn’t sustain the vigours of both batting and bowling. Shane Watson, one of the best all-rounders currently playing the game too has had an injury prone career. With the amount of cricket being played these days, it’s almost impossible to imagine an all-rounder having a long career. It is a tribute to how Kallis has maintained himself over the years and be able to contribute in both aspects of the game. Add to that a career tally of 192 test catches, which is the third highest in Test cricket, he is definitely amongst the greatest all-rounders to have ever played the game.

              How does Kallis fair in comparison to all-rounders of yestyears?
Batting Avg
Bowling Avg
Difference (Bat. Avg - Bowl. Avg)
J Kallis
Garry Sobers
Ian Botham
Imran Khan
Richard Hadlee
Kapil Dev

As we can see Kallis is matched only by Sir Garry Sobers in respect to the difference in batting and bowling averages, but Kallis has played more than 60 matches than him and yet maintained his performances. His durability and consistency is something which all aspiring sportsmen should strive to achieve.

Tendulkar is revered as God in India and recently MS Dhoni considered Zaheer Khan as the Tendulkar of India’s bowling. Kallis batting has been as good as Sachin over the years and has nearly taken the same of amount of wickets as Zaheer as. With this one can realize what a multi-dimensional cricketer he has been.

A fast bowling all-rounder is a dying breed, and with the standards set by Kallis, it is hard to imagine anyone in the near future matching his feats.  At 37, there might not be a lot of­­­­­ cricket left in Kallis, but he will definitely go down as one of the greatest players to have ever played the game if not the greatest. His loss would be a large void to fill in for South Africa and the cricketing world.  


Rohit Ramachandran PoduvalAbout Rohit Ramachandran Poduval
A Classical Leg Spinner, Writer and Software Engineer. Please feel free to add my to your circles. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook


Jack Mendel said...

Very nice article - to the point

I don't consider Kallis in the same league as Ponting, or Sachin, or even Lara if im honest. The reason, is that Kallis is not particularly exciting or innovative. He is a good batsman obviously, but he is not one that gets people to sit and watch, he doesn't play whirlwind innings that grab the attention like ponting and Sachin did.

Kallis is a professional and hard working batsmen, and he has been extremely lucky to have played for so long. However, quite honestly, regardless of the numbers he gets, to me he isn't a player i rank as the best batsmen to watch, even if he is statistically the best.

rohitrp2003 said...

Thanks Jack. Yes I do agree with you that he may not be in the same league as a Sachin or Lara in terms of pure class. But you do have to agree he is one of the greats. He has scored in pretty much all conditions and to add to it, he has got lots of wickets. Greatest allrounder, great batsman, but as such not the best batsman to watch. Sometimes the really good players are the best to watch. Laxman, Damien Martyn, Mark Waugh, they didnt become great, but they were just too good to watch :)

Jack Mendel said...

I think that if we are talking underrated cricketers, Dravid is the key. Always in the shadow of Sachin, but always firm and reliable. Kallis was the best batsmen in the side for nearly 20 years, and i still watch him bat and think he bats like a novice sometimes. He dosnt have the class and dominance of ponting or sachin or lara. He is a great batsmen, but not a personal favorite

rohitrp2003 said...

Yes not a personal favourite of mine either.. But whatever said and done..hes a legend :) I guess you will agree with that

Jack Mendel said...

of course

rohitrp2003 said...

:) Do have a look at my article on the DRS and let me know what you think

Jack Mendel said...

And would love your thoughts on mine - Che For One Day - Pujara for the ODI side

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