Friday 12 June 2009 

ICC WT20: Two Years On, And Kallis Is A Major Player

   Jacques Kallis
  Opening gambit - Jacques Kallis
© Action Images
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What a difference a couple of years makes. For the best part of a decade, Jacques Kallis has been regarded as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket, however despite this he was still not picked by for South Africa for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in his own country in 2007.

Despite having a Test average of over 50, Kallis has been accused by some experts on occasions of just batting at one pace and not being prepared to adapt his game and the tempo of his innings in accordance with the match situation.

The omission hurt Kallis, who stood down as vice-captain as a result in protest.
 
As well as being a world class batsman, Kallis also has 258 Test wickets to his name, however he has always made it known that it is batting that he enjoys more.

The recently concluded IPL afforded Kallis the opportunity to re-emerge as an opening batsman in Twenty20 cricket and more often than not he got his franchise off to a solid start - Kallis's team, the Royal Challengers Bangalore went on to reach the final before narrowly losing out to Adam Gilchrist's men - the Deccan Chargers.

Following his sucess in the IPL South Africa have promoted Kallis to open the innings with captain Graeme Smith and against England he showed just why his game is as well suited to Twenty20 as anyone else in world cricket.

He first claimed two for 20 from his four overs, reaching speeds as high as 90 mph to help to bowl England out for 111, and then opening the innings the veteran then hit a composed 57 from 49 balls.

After the game Kallis said that the pitch wasn't easy and the team felt one person need to bat through the innings and at a decent rate.

"We needed one guy to bat through, scoring at roughly a run a ball," he said. "The wicket wasnt an easy wicket - it was probably a 140 wicket so our bowlers did well to restrict them to that and we just needed to bat sensibly."

The composed head on Kallis shoulders to go with his undisputed all round talent is one of the main reasons why many are tipping his team to go all the way and win the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 title.

Aaron Kumar
© Cricket World 2009