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Jacques Kallis collapsed in the oppressive heat of Chennai during Sunday night’s IPL final and a nation held it’s breath.
Good grief, not Kallis.
A quick gulp of water, a rub down and Kallis was good to go, albeit briefly before getting out. However by that stage he’d played his part, significantly so, in helping the Kolkota Knight Riders secure their first IPL title in difficult circumstances at the home ground of the two-time Champions, the Chennai Super Kings.
Kallis doesn’t need an IPL winner’s medal to justify his status as one of cricket’s all-time greats. His international statistics alone do that. But having that winner’s medal certainly enhances that status.
Kallis, like all the great players, wants team success. In that regard Test series wins in India (2000), England and Australia (2008) provide greater satisfaction than 42 Test centuries, or 276 Test wickets.
Those individual achievements, as extraordinary as they are, need context and that context comes through the team’s performance. Of his 42 Test hundreds, 20 have come in Test wins, six of those against the ‘big three’ – India, England and Australia.
There’ve been some memorable centuries to save matches too – the maiden Test hundred at the MCG and the fabulous 162 in the first innings of the Kingsmead Test in 2004/05 against an England attack featuring Flintoff, Harmison, Hoggard and Jones (who memorably outplayed Australia in 2005) spring to mind.
While he has won in India, Australia and England, it’s the lack of a World Cup that will bug him. Though the absence of that piece of silverware in no way diminishes Kallis’ career, or his standing in the game, it is, as former SA coach Mickey Arthur would put it, “a box he wants to tick”.
Kallis remains available in all three formats and continues to make crucial contributions in all areas of the game. He says he wants another crack at the World Cup in 2015 when he’ll be 39. It is a testament to his fitness and desire.
Being a part of an IPL winning team will undoubtedly spur him on.
His part in securing that success highlighted again Kallis’ brilliance as a cricketer. “That is why Jacques Kallis is the best in the world,” his fellow Knight Rider Brett Lee, claimed.
The conversation about the sport’s greatest all-rounder is always a colourful one, but the longer Kallis plays, the more that conversation becomes just about two players. Kallis and Sir Garfield Sobers. A Test series win in England and the securing of the ICC T20 championship in September may end that debate. – The Star