Without any doubt, Jacques Kallis is South Africa’s best cricketer ever to play. It bats, it bowls, it slips, and its richness of experience cannot be replaced at the bottom of a hat. But 2013 was far from the best of Kallis. He averaged just 17.63 with the bat in the seven tests he played this year. It’s his lower average of five tests or more in a year. He has averaged below 20.00 for the first time (min 5 trials). He only scored 194 runs, but he didn’t look comfortable although it had a skeptical decision to come out at the second intakes of his first test against India.
Nevertheless, in the first test against India, he played his part with the ball and in the slips. Kallis increased his workload with Morne Morkel not being able to bowl because of injury. In the absence of Morkel, he collected three wickets. The issue with Kallis bowling is that he is then obliged to shift the order. Even if Faf du Plessis didn’t have a problem taking the No. 4 position. With the current management of Kallis, players may be expecting something and shifting roles is something that players are familiar with.
Unless it becomes a permanent arrangement, the team’s harmony is not too anxious. Since 2008, bowling at Kallis has decreased steadily. Although he has always contributed, his average wicket collection has sometimes been low in terms of his contribution. Maybe part of that is because he wasn’t required to bowl so many things and his batting was much more important than his bowling. However, some blips were there.
About the yearly breakdown of Kallis
It would be foolish to judge Kallis’ colossus simply on statistics. Dips are part and parcel of the game in their shape. It is normal and not the first time it happened to Kallis. It’s normal, every player gets through bad spells. His batting had previously been relatively bad. He managed only one half-century in seven innings from November 9, 2011, to January 2012 and was discarded in the same period for a duck triple.
During the New Year test match in January, he responded with a double century against Sri Lanka. Its current bad shape is not too different from that bad 2011-2012 spell.
He managed two fifties in 11 innings and only managed to double numbers four times. This is not the worst year, and it would be easy, but not that straightforward, to call for a younger player to join the team.
Kallis is what Sachin Tendulkar is for Indian cricket for South African Cricket. Anyone with such formal struggles has long been given the axis, but Kallis is much more important than that. The choice is not only difficult to make in terms of feeling but also creates a real selection conundrum for Proteas, even if it does not break records as stand-alone.
South Africa benefits from keeping wicket and being such a skilled batman with AB de Villiers. As long as de Villiers has the gloves, it gives South Africa the opportunity to play an extra bowler, but instead, it can fight a bit.