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Why Kallis ranks as one of greats of the modern game

August 02, 2014 09:41 IST

Why Kallis ranks as one of greats of the modern game

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Rajneesh Gupta analyses Jacques Kallis's remarkable career in international cricket, and wonders whether we will ever see another complete cricketer like him.

South Africa’s legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from all international cricket on Wednesday, bringing an end to one of the most illustrious careers the sport has seen.

One of the true greats of the modern game, his numbers are simply staggering!

He is South Africa’s most successful batsman, both in Tests and One-Day Internationals. And if you add the  292 and 273 wickets he claimed in Tests and ODIs respectively, it gives ample proof of how important a cog he was in South Africa’s wheel for nearly two decades.

Also, a double century of catches in Tests and a century of catches in ODIs -- mostly in the slips – ranks him among the safest fielders in the game.

Check out Kallis's amazing record in international cricket:

Format

Mts

Runs

Bat Avg

Wkts

Bat Avg

Cts

6s

MoM

MoS

Tests

166

13289

55.37

292

32.65

200

97

23

9

ODIs

328

11579

44.36

273

31.79

131

137

32

6

T20Is

25

666

35.05

12

27.75

7

20

2

0

All international cricket

519

25534

49.10

577

32.14

338

254

57

15

(MoM = Man of the Match, MoS = Man of the Series)

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Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Why Kallis ranks as one of greats of the modern game

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Career Highlights:

  • The only player to score 10,000 runs, take 250 wickets and hold 100 catches both in Tests and ODIs.
  • The only player to aggregate 25,000 runs, 500 wickets and 250 catches in international cricket.
  • The only South Africa batsman with over 10,000 runs in Tests and ODIs.
  • The fourth highest scorer in international cricket, after India's Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting of Australia and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara.
  • Only Sachin Tendulkar (100) and Ricky Ponting (71) scored more international hundreds than Kallis, who has 62 to his credit.
  • Kallis scored hundreds in five consecutive Tests in 2003-04. Only legendary Australian Don Bradman, with six, did better.
  • Won 57 man of the match awards in international cricket. Only Tendulkar (76) and Jayasuriya (58) won more.
  • Won 15 man of the series awards in international cricket. Only Tendulkar (20) won more.
  • Hit 254 sixes in international cricket. Only seven batsmen have hit more sixes than him.

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Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Kallis finishes as third highest run getter in Test cricket

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Talking of Test cricket first, the following table lists the leading run-scorers in the format.

Kallis is third behind Tendulkar and Ponting in the highest run-scorers' list in Tests, with 13,289 runs in 166 matches.

Only Sangakkara (58.32) has a higher batting average than Kallis (55.37), while only Tendulkar (51) scored more centuries than the South African.

These figures are enough to put Kallis in the same bracket as the game’s greatest names.

But hold on! He also boasts of a rich haul of 292 wickets in Tests, which is more than the combined tally of all the other great names!

 

Mts

Runs

Bat Avg

100s

Wkts

Bowl Avg

Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)

200

15921

53.78

51

46

54.17

Ricky Ponting (Aus)

168

13378

51.85

41

5

55.20

Jacques Kallis (SA)

166

13289

55.37

45

292

32.65

Rahul Dravid (Ind)

164

13288

52.31

36

1

39.00

Brian Lara (WI)

131

11953

52.88

34

0

-

Mahela Jayawardene (SL)

147

11671

50.09

34

6

51.66

Kumar Sangakkara (SL)

126

11665

58.32

36

0

-

S Chanderpaul (WI)

156

11414

51.88

29

9

98.11

Allan Border (Aus)

156

11174

50.56

27

39

39.10

Steve Waugh (Aus)

168

10927

51.06

32

92

37.44

Sunil Gavaskar (Ind)

125

10122

51.12

34

1

206.00

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Image: Jacques Kallis plays the straight drive for a boundary
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Kallis's average only second to Tendulkar in ODIs

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In One-Day Internationals also, Kallis finds a place among the leading run-scorers, with only Tendulkar beating him on average.

Sanath Jayasuriya has more ODI wickets than Kallis, but the South African has a better average.

Highest run-scorers in One-Day Internationals:

 

Mts

Runs

Bat Avg

100s

Wkts

Bowl Avg

Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)

463

18426

44.83

49

154

44.48

Ricky Ponting (Aus)

375

13704

42.03

30

3

34.66

Sanath Jayasuriya (SL)

445

13430

32.36

28

323

36.75

Kumar Sangakkara (SL)

377

12806

40.39

19

-

-

Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak)

378

11739

39.52

10

3

21.33

Mahela Jayawardene (SL)

420

11681

32.90

16

7

79.71

Jacques Kallis (SA)

328

11579

44.36

17

273

31.79

Sourav Ganguly (Ind)

311

11363

41.02

22

100

38.49

Rahul Dravid (Ind)

344

10889

39.16

12

4

42.50

Brian Lara (WI)

299

10405

40.48

19

4

15.25

It is evident from the above numbers that Kallis could have walked in to any international team on the basis of his batting alone.

But his bowling was also quite effective and his all-round skills provided South Africa the required balance and made them one of the top teams in the world.

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Image: Jacques Kallis of South Africa hits a six
Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

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Kallis's record only second to Sobers as an all-rounder

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These days, any batsman who rolls his arms occasionally, or any bowler who puts bat to ball is quickly termed as an all-rounder.

But a more serious approach is needed while ranking a group of players. One such method is to subtract a player’s bowling average from his batting average -- the higher the figure, the higher a player’s ranking.

Of course, we need to have some qualification criteria in place so that the irrelevant entries are excluded. This is very important, as Don Bradman, as we all know, had a batting average of 99.94 and claimed two wickets at an average of 36.00.

This gave him a difference of 63.94 in batting and bowling averages. While no one can argue about Bradman being the greatest batsman of all-time, hardly any one will agree that Bradman was also a good all-rounder in Test cricket.

A qualification limit of 1000 runs and 100 wickets gives us sufficient data to look at, while giving all players of their pennies worth a fare chance to feature in the study.

A total of 57 players have accomplished this all-round double. Kallis comes second to only West Indian great Gary Sobers, who is regarded as one of the best all-rounders to have graced the game.

In fact, these two are the only players who have a batting average of over 50 that exceeds their bowling average by 20 points or more!

Highest difference in batting and bowling averages in Tests

(1000 runs and 100 wickets)

 

 

Mts

Runs

Bat Avg.

Wkts

Bowl Avg.

Avg. difference

Gary Sobers (WI)

93

8032

57.78

235

34.03

23.74

Jacques Kallis (SA)

166

13289

55.37

292

32.65

22.71

Imran Khan (Pak)

88

3807

37.69

362

22.81

14.88

Keith Miller (Aus)

55

2958

36.97

170

22.97

13.99

Shaun Pollock (SA)

108

3781

32.31

421

23.11

9.19

Trevor Goddard (SA)

41

2516

34.46

123

26.22

8.23

Tony Greig (Eng)

58

3599

40.43

141

32.20

8.23

Monty Noble (Aus)

42

1997

30.25

121

25.00

5.25

Ian Botham (Eng)

102

5200

33.54

383

28.40

5.14

Richard Hadlee (NZ)

86

3124

27.16

431

22.29

4.86

Shakib Al Hasan (Ban)

34

2278

37.96

122

33.39

4.57

Chris Cairns (NZ)

62

3320

33.53

218

29.40

4.13

Alan Davidson (Aus)

44

1328

24.59

186

20.53

4.06

Wilfred Rhodes (Eng)

58

2325

30.19

127

26.96

3.22

Kapil Dev (Ind)

131

5248

31.05

434

29.64

1.40

Trevor Bailey (Eng)

61

2290

29.74

132

29.21

0.52

A similar study in One-Day Internationals puts Kallis right on the top ahead of West Indian batting great Viv Richards.

Highest difference in batting and bowling averages in One-Day Internationals

(1000 runs and 100 wickets)

 

Mts

Runs

Bat Avg.

Wkts

Bowl Avg.

Avg. difference

Jacques Kallis (SA)

328

11579

44.36

273

31.79

12.56

Viv Richards (WI)

187

6721

47.00

118

35.83

11.16

Lance Klusener (SA)

171

3576

41.10

192

29.95

11.15

Shane Watson (Aus)

173

5256

41.06

163

30.26

10.79

Andrew Flintoff (Eng)

141

3394

32.01

169

24.38

7.63

Imran Khan (Pak)

175

3709

33.41

182

26.61

6.79

Shakib Al Hasan (Ban)

136

3835

34.86

171

28.92

5.93

Hansie Cronje (SA)

188

5565

38.64

114

34.78

3.85

Sourav Ganguly (Ind)

311

11363

41.02

100

38.49

2.53

Andrew Symonds (Aus)

198

5088

39.75

133

37.25

2.49

Chris Gayle (WI)

255

8743

37.52

157

35.38

2.13

Shaun Pollock (SA)

303

3519

26.45

393

24.50

1.95

Ravindra Jadeja (Ind)

101

1541

33.50

120

32.58

0.91

Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)

463

18426

44.83

154

44.48

0.35

Richard Hadlee (NZ)

115

1751

21.61

158

21.56

0.05

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Image: Jacques Kallis bowls
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Kallis's record only second to Sobers as an all-rounder

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Kallis did not feature in too many Twenty20 Internationals, as South Africa's selectors believed -- for some strange reason -- that his game was not suitable for the format. However, he did not fare too badly in the format as his figures convey.

Putting together the performance in each format of international cricket (Tests, One-Day Internationals and T20 Internationals) and ranking the players again on the same parameter, gives us the following table.

Kallis is again on the top, well ahead of Pakistan’s Imran Khan.

Highest difference in batting and bowling averages in International cricket

(5000 runs and 250 wickets)

 

Mts

Runs

Bat Avg.

Wkts

Bowl Avg.

Avg. difference

Jacques Kallis (SA)

519

25534

49.10

577

32.14

16.95

Imran Khan (Pak)

263

7516

35.45

544

24.08

11.36

Shane Watson (Aus)

270

9738

37.16

271

29.82

7.34

Steve Waugh (Aus)

493

18496

41.65

287

35.56

6.09

Lance Klusener (SA)

220

5482

37.80

272

32.29

5.51

Shaun Pollock (SA)

423

7386

28.73

829

23.73

5.00

Shakib Al Hasan (Ban)

205

6865

33.81

337

29.23

4.58

Andrew Flintoff (Eng)

227

7315

31.39

400

29.23

2.16

Ian Botham (Eng)

218

7313

29.72

528

28.44

1.28

One can draw his own conclusion from the above tables, but one thing is sure: Kallis did not lag behind any of the great names. It is indeed a mystery why he never got the attention that a player of his caliber richly deserved.

Perhaps, he looked stereo-typed to cricket fans because of his no-nonsense approach, or the media had an inherent bias towards the other players.

Some critics claim that his game lacked flair, but it is not true.

The fact that he hit more than 300 sixes and won more than 50 man-of-the-match awards is enough to lay such theories to rest.

All said and done, one wonders if the game will ever see another complete cricketer who can change the course of a match regularly with his batting, bowling or fielding, like Kallis did so successfully for the Proteas.


Image: Jacques Kallis of South Africa takes the catch in the slips
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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