Cape Town - Legendary Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis’s
first appearance of the season before his home-town faithful at Newlands looks
as though it will be delayed by at least a week.
But the good news from a national perspective, bearing in
mind next month’s three-Test tour of Australia, is that the Kolkata Knight
Riders star – he turns 37 on Tuesday – has come off relatively lightly from a
finger injury scare.
On a pitch characterised by notably steep bounce on
Saturday, Kallis was struck a nasty blow on a glove from a short ball by lanky
compatriot Morne Morkel of the Delhi Daredevils in a Champions League Twenty20
He cut a finger and, after short on-field examination,
retired hurt after facing only two deliveries in the Knight Riders’ 52-run defeat.
Many South African hearts would have stopped when the
incident occurred, given Kallis’s massively important presence when the Proteas
attempt to win a second successive Test series in Australia fairly soon.
It would hardly have come as a surprise under the
circumstances that “offender” Morkel was among the first Delhi players to rush
up and inquire as to his wellbeing.
Smoke signals from his team’s camp suggest that Kallis will
definitely sit out their Newlands match against Auckland Aces (17:30, Monday)
and possibly also the next group fixture against Perth Scorchers at Kingsmead
But he may be expected to return to his station –
particularly if the Knight Riders are still in contention for the later stages
– for the match against SA franchise the Titans at Newlands next Sunday.
He put out a reassuring tweet (@jacqueskallis75) after the
mishap: “Hi guys. Thanks for all the concerns. Had X-ray and showed no break
which is great news. Just a cut on finger that needs to heal.”
Meanwhile Shane Watson, the Baggy Greens’ closest answer to
Kallis as an all-rounder, is expected to be summoned home early from the
Champions League by Cricket Australia, anxious to cotton-wool him as much as
possible for the Test series which starts in Brisbane on November 9.
Reports from Australia indicate that the Sydney Sixers man
will be allowed to play the franchise’s successive Newlands matches -- Tuesday,
against Yorkshire, and Thursday, versus Lions – before heading home.
He would then miss the Sixers’ final group clash against the
Mumbai Indians in Durban and then the possible semis and final.
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