When the great All-rounders in the history of cricket are discussed, the name of Jacques Kallis is seldom heard outside of South Africa. Yet based on his career achievements and statistics, including being the only man in history to score over 10,000 runs and capture more than 250 wickets in both Tests and One Day internationals, I feel that Kallis is the best ever. It is hard to imagine why anyone as good as him has got lesser recognition? He has won more games for South Africa than any other player (Most Man of the Match awards in Test history). But if you the list of greatest All-rounders, he makes the top 3 for very few people. It is time we take a look at the numbers and see for ourselves why Kallis is the King.
Wickets and catches
After Kallis, the highest wicket-taker among those who have scored 10,000 test runs is Steve Waugh, whose 92 wickets pale by comparison to the 271 captured by Kallis. While Waugh's career is long over, Kallis will continue to add to his figures. He holds 30th place for most all-time Test dismissals. When it comes to fielding, he is again near the top of the all-time list, ranking ninth with 147 Test catches. He hasn't only excelled in Test cricket. Kallis is also one of only eight men to have passed 10,000 runs in One Day internationals. Of those players, his ODI average is the highest. On the all-time one-day wicket-takers list, he ranks 19th with 267 wickets.
Kallis has often been criticized that he doesn't score fast enough in limited overs cricket. Yet Sourav Ganguly, widely regarded as an attacking opening batsman, averages only two runs more than Kallis per 100 balls faced. Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq also averaged only two more runs than the South African all-rounder. Interestingly, in Test cricket, Kallis holds the record for the fastest fifty in terms of balls faced. He was also removed from the South African ODI squad but Kallis answered all the questions asked of his ability with his bat with a run feast in the IPL where he was among the leading run scorers. Not surprisingly he was drafted right back in.
Rankings and awards
During the course of his career, Kallis has topped the ICC rankings for Test batting, Test all-rounders, ODI batting, and ODI all-rounders. He has ranked as high as sixth among Test bowlers and 11th among ODI bowlers. He has also won some significant awards during his career. These include ICC Test Player of the Year and ICC Player of the Year in 2005, as well as Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World in 2008. Respected cricket writer late Peter Roebuck, commenting in Wisden on Kallis being named Cricketer of the Year, said: "Kallis has emerged as the first indisputably great African cricketer of the post-apartheid era".
He has been described by his peers Kevin Pietersen and Daryl Cullinan as the greatest cricketer to play the game. Kallis has played less number of matches than Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid or any other batsman of this league and has a batting average which is higher than any of these batsmen barring Sangakkara whose golden run has seen him barely edge Kallis’ average.
Kallis has often been hidden among the more flamboyant players maybe because he goes about doing his job in a calm & quiet manner but he for sure would be remembered as one of the greatest all-rounders of all times in the time to come and his records would be difficult to surpass.
Now tell me why he isn’t the greatest all-rounder again?