Chappell’s amazing Kallis snub

2012-01-30 14:05
Jacques Kallis (Gallo Images)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has delivered his verdict on the greatest modern Test batsman ... while not giving South Africa’s Jacques Kallis the benefit of a single word of mention in his appraisal.

Chappell, 68, widely regarded as an astute television and print commentator but often considered in these parts to hand South African cricket laurels sparingly or not at all, hands the accolade to retired West Indies legend Brian Lara in his latest ESPN Cricinfo column titled: “Who’s the pick of the modern greats?”

But he has narrowed the candidates down to just three: Lara, compatriot Ricky Ponting and Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar, describing the trio as “the three most dominant batsmen of the (modern) era”.

But Kallis, whose batting statistics glow with at least equal strength alongside those players, and boasts way superior bowling figures to any of them, is bypassed altogether, with Chappell not even taking the time to explain the Proteas star’s omission.

 In reaching his pro-Lara verdict, Chappell says: “There’s no doubt Ponting has resurrected his career and provided himself with an opportunity to add to his glittering (career) record.

“He’ll never reach the statistical peak of Tendulkar, but while the Little Master continues to stumble with the defining (100th Test and ODI) century in sight, often because of a mental aberration, Ponting impresses with the strength of his mind.

“Nevertheless, if you told me I could pick just one from that trio I’d take Lara. I loved the way he played spin bowling and I admired his determination to always do it ‘my way’.”

There is a school of thought that Chappell has harboured residual bitterness over being part of the Aussie side famously whitewashed 4-0 in South Africa in 1969/70.

*Here in player alphabetical order, are the key Test statistics of the three players discussed by Chappell, but also including Kallis:

Player Tests Runs 100s Ave Wickets  Ave Catches

Jacques Kallis 150 12 260 41 57.02 274 32.51 180
Brian Lara 131 11 953 34 52.88 0 0 164
Ricky Ponting 162 13 200 41 53.44 5 54.6 193
Sachin Tendulkar 188 15 470 51 55.44 45 54.33 113

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