Jacques Kallis is the enemy within: the legendary South African all-rounder enjoyed beating England … now he loves to coach them
- Jacques Kallis will pass on his wisdom to a youthful England line-up in Sri Lanka
- Newcomer Dan Lawrence described him as ‘perhaps the greatest of all time’
- The all-rounder scored 13,289 runs at 55.37 in 166 tests while taking 292 wickets
The names of the greatest all-rounders to ever play Test Cricket roll off every enthusiast’s tongue – Sir Garfield Sobers, Lord Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Sir Richard Hadlee, Wasim Akram and, with a modern twist, ours Ben Stokes.
The newest member of England’s support staff has every right to be talked about in this lofty company. Still, somehow he rarely seems to deserve a mention – at least until English newcomer Dan Lawrence described him this week as ‘arguably the greatest of all time’.
Certainly the statistics of Jacques Kallis, England’s battle consultant for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in Galle, are similar to anyone’s and support Lawrence’s argument.
Jacques Kallis will pass on his wisdom to a youthful English batting line-up in Sri Lanka
He made the small matter of 13,289 runs at 55.37 in 166 tests while taking 292 wickets with his deceptively fast seam and swing bowling. Not to mention an equally impressive one-day record.
So what does the man himself think of the allegation of his young charge Lawrence, and does he agree with him?
“It is certainly a great honor to hear things like that, but I have never been too concerned about it,” said Kallis at the English base in Galle.
The all-rounder scored 13,289 runs at 55.37 in 166 tests while taking 292 wickets
‘I think it’s unfair to compare eras and types of players, but to be mentioned in the same breath with some of the best players playing the game is humbling. It’s nice, but I’m not one to worry too much about where I fit in in history.
‘I am very proud of what I have achieved in the game. I was a terrible loser, I hated losing, so that pretty much drove me and it definitely pushes me in the other direction of coaching now that I’m done playing.
“It’s nice to be able to help boys on their way.”
But why doesn’t Kallis, 45, seem to receive the praise presented to the likes of Sobers and Botham?
Kallis (left) doesn’t seem to receive the same praise as Garfield Sobers and Ian Botham
Is it just that he didn’t really have the panache or charisma that made the others so great? It’s certainly not easy to remember Kallis, well, strikingly.
“I think I played a slightly different game than the other guys you mentioned,” Kallis admitted. They were much more aggressive and played different roles, while I probably fell into the more conservative side, given the team and the place I was hitting.
So no, I don’t mind. I have never played the game for awards or records. ‘
Kallis’s ability to convey his wisdom to a youthful batting line-up is what will occupy England for now – and the South African didn’t rule out trying to expand his role with the team after briefly staying in Sri Lanka.
English newcomer Dan Lawrence described Kallis as ‘perhaps the greatest of all time’
“I suppose it was a bit strange to be here at first, because England was the nemesis when we played them,” Kallis said. ‘But I suppose in the modern world it’s kind of the norm for guys to coach other teams and I’ve really enjoyed it so far.
“England has a lot of guys with a lot of young people who have a bright future ahead of them, so maybe I can help them achieve their goals and dreams.”
Don Smith, England’s oldest Test cricketer, has died at the age of 97.
A left-handed opening batsman and left arm medium pacer, Smith played three Tests against the West Indies in 1957.
Smith spent his county career in Sussex and then worked as a coach in Sri Lanka in 1984. He died peacefully at his home in Adelaide.