King Kallis

Jacques Kallis wore his greatness lightly

Jacques Kallis fans across the world will never fumble for words in those Greatest Of All Time debates. Third on all-time batting charts, close to 300 wickets and 200 catches by the time he walked off the Test arena at Kingsmead on Monday, Kallis had armed his supporters with winning arguments for any such future debate.

In case Kallis-doubters refuse to get intimidated by numbers, there are other trump cards. An Australian can be stunned into silence by bringing to his notice that Kallis has more runs than Alan Border and more wickets than Craig McDermott. The English will surrender once told that Graham Gooch needed to be a bowler as prolific as Graeme Swann to be compared with Kallis. In an Indian context, the equation is: Rahul Dravid plus Bishan Singh Bedi equal Kallis. Replace Dravid with Lara and Bedi with Holding, if it's a West Indian questioning Kallis' greatness. And in case he tries to get Gary Sobers, the greatest all-rounder of the last century, into the conversation, quote Ian Chappell. "In years to come, as they gaze upon the cold, hard statistics, young cricket fans will wonder what the old-timers were gushing about when they said Gary Sobers is the best cricketer of all time."

He was a star minus the tantrums. He gave solidity to South Africa's batting, depth to the bowling and assurance when fielding in the slips. Kallis didn't lead the team but, more importantly, he led most "end of season charts" and several fightbacks. It's a travesty that all through his career, he was mysteriously kept out of discussions that pitted present-day champions against the legends of past era. Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting were constantly measured by the Don Bradman scale. All three failed against the man with an unreal average of 99.94. Maybe, Kallis was the actual Don of this era.

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