Proteas

Kirsten: Kallis leaves huge void

2013-05-24 09:05
Gary Kirsten (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Outgoing Proteas coach Gary Kirsten says the time has come for South Africa to widen their player base because veteran Jacques Kallis won't always be there.

Kallis, 37, opted out of representing the Proteas in next month's ICC Champions Trophy due to personal reasons, but indicated he still wants to play in the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

And Kirsten, who will step down as coach after the tournament in England and Wales, said Kallis's absence will be enormous.

"He could make any Test team in the world just as a bowler," Kirsten told the Volksblad website. "And then we should not forget: he is probably the best batsman the world has produced.

"He is two players in one. It's unbelievable what he does to the balance of the team. It's in many aspects similar to AB de Villiers. Why do we want him as wicketkeeper? He's also two players in one, because he's also one of the top batsmen in the world."

Kirsten said the focus for South Africa should be to look for players with similar versatility in future.

"If we can produce versatile players, it gives us the option to also pick more specialists. That gives us unbelievable balance. Without Kallis (for the Champions Trophy) we had to pick two players for that one position.

"We had to pick a top order batsman and an extra bowler, and this influences our combinations dramatically. However, we need to move on, because Kallis is near his end. The sooner we widen our (player) base, the better," said Kirsten.

The Proteas take on the Netherlands in a warm-up match in Amstelveen on May 31, before also facing Pakistan at London's Oval on June 3.

They start their Champions Trophy campaign against India in Cardiff on June 6. Their other group stage opponents are Pakistan (June 10, Birmingham) and West Indies (June 14, Cardiff).

Proteas squad for the ICC Champions Trophy:

AB de Villiers (Titans, captain), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Colin Ingram (Warriors), Rory Kleinveldt (Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Knights), David Miller (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Alviro Petersen (Highveld Lions), Robbie Peterson (Cape Cobras), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Highveld Lions)

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