Thursday, April 05, 2007


Jaques Kallis Feels The Heat


Jacques Kallis is undoubtedly one of the finest all-rounders to have played the modern game. He is an all-rounder in the true sense of the term, in that he can bat and bowl - with a high degree of success - against the best in the business. Chris Cairns and Andrew Flintoff are probably the only two players of Kallis' era who may come close to his abilities. However, even their records are not as impressive as Kallis.

Having said this, both Cairns and Flintoff had a certain X factor that afforded them the the "match winner" label. Their consistency might have been lacking at times, but it was (is - in Flintoff's case) their ability to pull off the unimaginable and inspire their team mates to over-achieve that gave them their aura.

It is this very lack of a "X factor" that prompts ex-players and supporters to question his real worth to the South African team. It is indeed a fair question, and similar to the type of interrogation that the Indian superstars are currently dealing with. What is a player's value to the team if he is unable to play according to the state of the game?

This is the question that Kallis is constantly being asked. It is also the question that he has not been able to categorically answer with consistent and sustained evidence against the stronger teams. The memory of South Africa's previous tour Downunder comes to mind, where Kallis seemingly adopted a go-slow (read: increase my average) approach when the need of the hour was to wallop the tired and jaded offerings from the Australian attack.

Recently, Kallis has been chastised for his lack of awareness of the game situation in South Africa's pummeling at the hands of Australia in the Super 8 World Cup clash. Instead of keeping quiet and letting his bat and his on-field attitude do the talking in a battle he is unlikely to win with words, Kallis has lambasted his critics after his half century in South Africa's latest victory - against Ireland.

Seriously, who is Kallis trying to fool? His half century against the Irish is on a similar level to India's record 400+ score against Bermuda. It holds no significance and is not an indicator of form or an indicator of his ability to adapt to different game situations.

Kallis would be better served practicing his stroke play in the nets rather than issuing feeble warnings about how he intends to "remember" the "guys" who have criticised his play.


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