Last summer I waged a lone war against the world’s best cricket all-rounder. Simply put, I contend that Jacques Kallis should not be playing one day cricket (and definitely not 20:20!!). (PS – if you don’t know what cricket is, or who Jacques is, then just skip this post).
Yesterday, a South African XI played a Kallis Invitation XI as part of Jacque Kallis’ benefit year. It was an exhibition match (including Lara, Rhodes (bowling!), Kirsten, and Donald), and in the true tradition of these types of games was meant to be a great spectacle. The SA team batted first, posting 258 (see full match summary here). Kallis’ team started the run chase badly, with AB de Villiers back in the hut after only 2 balls. But this brought the man of the moment to the wicket… What would he do in this benefit game? Would we see the Kallis who holds the record for the fastest test 50 of all time? The blindingly brilliant batsman who can dominate an attack and is impervious to sledging?

No, we got to see the Kallis who most often arrives at one day games! Horrificly slow batting. Kallis’ one day batting record shows him to be equally impervious to the actual match state. His team needed to score in excess of 5 runs per over, yet he managed to take 48 minutes and 32 balls to score all of 10 runs! And by the time he was out, his team was 24/2 after 12.3 overs! They managed to recover well, but just fell short, losing by 3 runs in the end. Even the retired Rhodes managed 12 off of 10 balls, and retired Kirsten got 22 off of 17.
Over the past 5 years, Jacques Kallis has established himself as the world’s best batsman-allrounder. In the longer versions of the game, he is supreme, and would be my first choice number 3 batsman and second change bowler in any test match, in any conditions. But Jacques has never grasped the one day version of the game. As a bowler, he is not enough striker, nor enough container, to be a good enough one day bowler. He is a stock filler bowler who can do a job, but not much more. So, he makes the one day team on the basis of his batting. And here, I part way with the cricket experts (I am a “couch coach”). Jacques Kallis isn’t a one day batsman’s big toe! (In other words, he totally sucks at it). Its not that he couldn’t be brilliant – he could be, and I live in hope that he will be… this summer.
But his record is putrid. He has made some great 100’s, yes. But nearly all of them were batting second, and his team lost! (Trust me, I spent last December holidays entertaining myself by analysing every single one of his innings (check out Stats Guru at CricInfo). So, they shouldn’t count. Hundreds don’t win one-day games! Fast runs do!
OK, you might get bored with this one man vendetta I have. If so, just ignore it.
But the reason I am on this mission, is that it is a great story:
When do you get rid of your best talent?
You do so when the rules of the game change, and your talent doesn’t!!!
More on this later this season, as (I predict) Kallis continues to disappoint and frustrate his one-day team mates and supporters.

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