Following his omission from the South African T20 squad Jacues Kallis has stepped down as vice captain of the ODI and Test teams, raising doubts about his future.
Kallis, one of the finest all rounders in history, expressed his disappointment at being left out of the T20 squad when issuing his vice captaincy resignation.
“I have resigned as vice-captain and I’m considering my options with regard to the rest of my career,” Kallis said. “I have been thinking long and hard over the weekend and there is still a lot of emotion involved because I am extremely disappointed. I was very excited about the tournament and hoping to make a huge contribution.
“I feel I have a lot of good cricket left and my best years might even be ahead of me. Ideally I would like to play many more years for my country but this weekend caused me to question my future for the first time.”
The timing of this suggests that Kallis made the decision based on emotion rather then thought, and it is hoped that he changes his mind, particularly by CSA chief executive Gerald Majola.
While there is no doubting his class and ability there has long been debate amongst South African fans about Kallis position in the ODI team, when some regarding his run scoring on the slow side. However, with cricket in general moving towards a more aggressive approach to batting, Kallis has upped his strike rate considerably over the last season or so, and has maintained his position as the linchpin in the Proteas batting line up.
While Kallis has shown a more aggressive streak in ODI’s he still tends to take a few over to play himself in before cutting loose. With this in mind, and the fact that you have less time to play yourself in in T20 cricket, the feeling is that Kallis best role would be opening the innings. Here he could take an over or two to gain a feel for the pitch and bowling, before opening up. However with Graeme Smith, Loots Bosman, AB de Villiers and Gulam Bodi already competing for the two openers births (one really with Smith guaranteed one of the positions) the likelihood of this happening were slim. While Kallis has played 6 T20 games, both internationally and domestically, the likes of Bosman and Bodi have played over 20, giving them far more experience and expertise in this form of the game.
New chairman of selectors, Joubert Strydom, has put forward the taxing schedule over the next 18 months as the reason for Kallis being rested, and not dropped. Over this period South Africa travel to Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, England and Australia, and with this in mind the selectors felt it prudent to give Kallis a longer rest so as to come back refreshed and able to better handle the rigours of being am all rounder and the batting back bone of the team.
Kallis decision, though brash and immature (in terms of timing and not his person) clearly outlines the disappointment he feels at missing out on this inaugural tournament, being hosted by his country. While this can be understood and sympathised with, the rest that he will gain will benefit the test and ODI team, and Kallis himself, bringing a rested, focused and driven Kallis to the field for a tough season ahead. One that ends with a series against Australia. Kallis omission may be the best thing for his game, and the hopes of South Africa’s team in the long run.