Will SA pick Kallis?

2009-04-15 21:48
Jacques Kallis (AFP)
By Altus Momberg

Cape Town – Jacques Kallis may be a shock inclusion in the South African squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in June.

It’s almost two years since Kallis was omitted from the first Twenty20 World Cup on home soil. However, there are now strong rumours that he may make the Proteas’ squad of 15 for the tournament in England.

In the past 24 months, Kallis has played in only two of the Proteas’ 14 Twenty20 games and in the past year he was only involved in one of South Africa’s six Twenty20 games.

He was controversially omitted from the South African squad in 2007. It was said then that Kallis’s strengths were not suited to the abbreviated game.

The Proteas brains trust also wanted to extend Kallis’s career by omitting him from certain series’.

Kallis did play for the Proteas against Australia in Melbourne in January. However, that was only his fourth Twenty20 game since 2005.

Now he is being spoken of as a possible inclusion as one of the additional batsmen in the squad.

It is believed Kallis’s exceptional batting technique may be a priceless asset on lively pitches.

Kallis and bowlers such as Makhaya Ntini and Morné Morkel, who are not currently in the Proteas’ Twenty20 plans, will get an opportunity to impress the national selectors in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Proteas’ squad for the World Cup will only be named in about a month’s time because the selectors want to keep tabs on the performances of players in the IPL.

Proteas coach Mickey Arthur said on Wednesday that while the Twenty20 side is reasonably established, players can use the IPL to change selectors’ minds.

Kallis’s bowling ability may also be of tremendous value, but to date he has not quite cut it as a Twenty20 player. An average of just over 20 with the bat and more than 70 with the ball is nothing to write home about.

However, there is no doubt among members of the team that Kallis will be a valuable player in Twenty20 cricket. It has been noticeable in recent tests and one-day games that he has attacked more with the bat.

He will get the opportunity to win over his doubters as a member of the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

In their previous Twenty20 game against the Aussies in Centurion, the Proteas played with three spinners in Johan Botha, Roelof van der Merwe and Robin Peterson.

This worked well and indications are the same approach may be taken in the World Cup.

However, a green wicket may see one of the spinners omitted to make way for Kallis.


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