The Ultimate Czar of Modern Cricket - Jacques Kallis not Sachin Tendulkar
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The Ultimate Czar of Modern Cricket - Jacques Kallis not Sachin Tendulkar

The Ultimate Czar of Modern Cricket - Jacques Kallis not Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar was praised as ‘cricketer of the generation’ by Indian cricket worshippers.


Among cricket greats like Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkarra, Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Yousuf, he is still regarded as one of the best cricketer of modern era.

We have been delighted by such bowling sensations as Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Allan Donald, Glenn McGrath, Dale Steyn.

So is it really the one-horse race for the top spot that many experts make it out to be?

Tendulkar's batting averaged a very human 53.78. Kallis averaged 55, while Sangakkarra averages 58. This might seem like a cheap point, though, as averages certainly aren’t everything.

When Brian Lara's heroic innings of 375 early in his career and 400 not out are obvious standout innings, but his 213 at the Adelaide Oval
against a strong Australian attack in 2005 is rated among the top 5 innings by cricket experts.

Tendulkar scored a superb 241 on a flat Sydney wicket, but it still doesn’t stick in my mind the same as when Virender Sehwag scored a
murderous 195 on day one of a Boxing Day Test, or when Sangakkarra elegantly posted an excellent 192 at Bellerive.

 



Kallis wasn’t a flamboyant batting hero like some of his contemporaries, but was a rock in his team. He was at times labelled
selfish in regards to his slow batting, but this assertion gives little regard to the rest of the South African team.

Whether it was with Herschelle Gibbs, Daryll Cullinan, Hashim Amla or AB de Villiers, Kallis provided the perfect team anchor to bat around.

Kallis came of age in the Test arena in 1997, scoring a match-saving century on a worn final-day pitch on in Melbourne.

Fast forward to late 2003 and we see a man whose batting was the zenith of consistency. Kallis made scores of 158, 177, 130*, 130* and
150* across five consecutive Test matches up to March 2004 – an achievement only bettered by the great Don Bradman.

Kallis was also simply the man you would want batting for your life. Any opposition cricket fan’s aspect would change whenever Kallis walked to the crease, because everyone knew he prized his wicket more than anyone.

He wasn’t necessarily the one to score the brilliant ton like other attacking batsmen, but everyone knew South Africa’s batting line-up would revolve around him. He had no obvious weakness and could play you to every part of the ground.

From a statistical viewpoint, Tendulkar and Kallis aren’t worlds apart.

Kallis averaged 55.37 in Tests while Tendulkar averaged 53.78, while in ODIs Kallis averaged 44.86 against Tendulkar’s 44.83. Tendulkar, primarily has more runs to his name, and at a far better strike rate. Kallis did hold the record for the fastest ODI 50 at one stage, blasting the total off 24 balls against Zimbabwe in 2005.

Kallis, though, was not only a batting giant. He also happens to be the world’s best all-rounder since Sir Garfield Sobers, with 292 Test wickets at an average of 32.65 and 273 ODI wickets at 31.73.

Kallis’ medium-fast seamers could often provide the perfect variation for the attack, and also bowled valuable overs.

His Test economy rate of 2.82 was crucial when bowling in tight partnership with the likes of Donald and Shaun Pollock, or Steyn and Vernon Philander in more recent times.

To add one more punch in the argument, Kallis is of the matrix of late 20th century South African cricketers who made them arguably the best fielding team in the world.

He took 200 Test match catches compared to Sachin’s 115 in 32 less outings. His safe catching in the slips alongside the likes of Graeme Smith formed one of the most unforgiving slip barriers in world cricket.

Both of these cricketers were extraordinary for their countries over so many years, but it’s high time we put all the hype aside and declared Jacques Kallis the best cricketer of his generation.



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