Throughout Jacques Kallis’ career he has insisted that he is a batsman ‘who bowls a bit’. People really shouldn’t have believed him, and most didn’t. He’s simply too good not to be considered a ‘genuine’ all rounder.
When Allan Donald was injured in Barbados, who did Shaun Pollock turn to carry the load of a lost strike bowler? Not Makhaya Ntini, nor Lance Klusener, but Kallis, his number three batsman. Not the kind of responsibility a “batsman who bowls a bit” is usually lumbered with.
No, Kallis is as good an all rounder as there is in world cricket at the moment. Trouble is most all rounders bat somewhere in the middle to lower order, not at number three.
So the team ‘brains trust’ decided before the fourth test that he would bat at number five, or six if South Africa batted second, but that he would start in his usual place if they batted first.
Shaun Pollock admitted that it would have been “unfair” on Neil McKenzie to have been asked, at the last minute, to bat at number three for the second successive Test after his admirable job in Barbados.
Kallis, then, finds himself in the ‘traditional’ place for a batsman of his pedigree and a bowler of his pedigree, at number six. There are many who would like him to stay there, but the man himself is right about his description of himself in one sense: he’s just too good a batsman to be hiding down at number six!
Finally, to all those who said Lance Klusener should have been dropped before the match. Come on ladies and gents, haven’t you spotted his worth as the second ‘spinner’ yet.
“He’s our version of a second spinner when he bowls his off-cutters and we are very, very happy with him!” smiled a delighted Pollock after Zulu’s brilliant display of cutters and seamers had bowled South Africa to a potentially winning lead of 107 on Sunday morning.
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