Cape Town – The limit on overseas players could restrict Jacques Kallis to the sidelines occasionally, according to Asian media reports as the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League gets underway in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Champions Mumbai Indians tackle Kallis’s Kolkata Knight Riders outfit in the tournament opener (16:30 SA time).
The teams may only field a maximum of four of their overseas stars, and it seems the Knight Riders, at least initially, will definitely want to play Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, plus West Indian spin maestro Sunil Narine and Kallis’s compatriot Morne Morkel in the bowling department.
That would leave a toss-up between the 38-year-old, versatile Kallis, who has slashed his overall cricketing workload but still wants to feature in South Africa’s 50-overs plans to the 2015 World Cup, and emerging Australian batsman Chris Lynn for the extra berth.
Lynn is a 24-year-old Queenslander who did well for Brisbane Heat in last season’s Big Bash and earned his first two T20 international caps for the Aussies against the touring England side – although his CV is infinitely lighter than that of much-travelled Test icon Kallis.
Wisden India (www.wisdenindia.com) has done an exercise suggesting which overseas players are likely to be preferred in ideal “first XIs” among the eight IPL franchises.
“Kolkata’s batting appears thin and lacking in firepower, but with Narine and Morkel in the (bowling) mix, it will be difficult to rely only on overseas batsman ... (they might) take the debatable call of including the raw Lynn over legendary Kallis.”
Whether that happens too quickly remains to be seen, given top-order stalwart Kallis’s additional value as a seamer and the excellence of his catching, even if his mobility in the field may be waning a little with advancing age.
It is possible Kallis will be rotated during the event simply to respect his veteran status and ensure he is at his freshest for the franchise in games where his experience is most needed.
The website suggests the Kevin Pietersen-led Delhi Daredevils (Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy), and Royal Challengers Bangalore (AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel) will be the IPL teams most regularly fielding South African presences, with Dale Steyn a certainty for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Faf du Plessis for Chennai Super Kings and David Miller for Kings XI Punjab.
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