Cape Town – Great, genuine all-rounders in cricket will
disappear when Jacques Kallis finally retires, according to New Zealand legend
Sir Richard Hadlee.
Widely considered the best player the Black Caps have ever
produced, Hadlee, now 62, says in an interview on www.espncricinfo.com this week that the truly
versatile likes of the Proteas star will not be seen again.
Pointing to the three different international formats these
days and an increasingly packed roster, Hadlee feels the chances of another great
all-rounder emerging anywhere on the planet are slim.
“The responsibility of the all-rounder is to change the
course of the match with an inspired performance either with bat or ball or
“If you are doing both, you are going to help win games ...
and that would take its toll (in modern cricket) physically.
“Jacques Kallis is actually one of the few who has adapted
to all formats of the game and survived – remarkable.
“Statistically he is the greatest all-rounder ever in the
history of the game.
“There are some pretty handy all-rounders but whether you
are going to get the great ones back again, I think highly unlikely ... once
Kallis goes, I don’t think there is anyone else that can start matching up.”
Hadlee’s thoughts are particularly pertinent because Kallis,
37, is reportedly to have talks soon with the Proteas team management over his
wish to squeeze in one further World Cup appearance if possible in 2015.
There have been some raised eyebrows over his absence from
one-day internationals since February 2012 – coincidentally, in New Zealand – and
a school of thought that he must commit to some further ODI activity in the
lead-up to that World Cup if he is to warrant selection.
But Kallis, who still wishes to play a fulsome part in the
Test fold, has insisted for a while that he needs to limit his involvement
elsewhere if he is to extend his SA career reasonably significantly – and
Hadlee’s words only indicate how vital an asset he remains to the country in
the blue-chip format.
The Capetonian has scored 13,128 Test runs at an average of
56.10 and has 288 wickets at 32.43.
Hadlee played in a 1980s era when the world boasted several
brilliant all-rounders; others included Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Kapil Dev,
whilst his Nottinghamshire team-mate Clive Rice might well have joined that
elite but for South Africa’s apartheid-caused isolation at the time.
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