Sir Thomas More, briefly Chancellor of England under Henry VIII, was known as ‘a man for all seasons’; in part for his steadfastness in remaining true to himself and his beliefs under all circumstances and at all times, despite external pressure or influence.
Whilst it is hoped that Jacques Kallis will not meet More’s grisly fate on Tower Hill, one could argue that Kallis has displayed similar steadfastness throughout his career refusing to change his dogmatic style to please the purists and refuting suggestions that he bats for himself first, and the team second.
Whatever the critics say, no-one can argue that his batting is not effective. In a test career spanning 15 years, Kallis has been a model of consistency, averaging just under 55 in 137 tests with 34 hundreds. His ODI stats are just as impressive, averaging just under 46 in nearly 300 matches with 17 centuries and a mind boggling 75 fifties. The fact that he has also taken 261 test and 251 ODI wickets at the same time is a phenomenal example of longevity, consistency and all-round excellence.
However, when it comes to T20, one would have thought that Kallis’ star would not shine so bright. Whilst most observers would have predicted that the other greats of the modern era like Tendulkar, Ponting, Lara and especially Sehwag could easily adjust to the new format, many would have thought that Kallis and the similarly obdurate Dravid may struggle. How wrong they would have been.
Reinventing himself as an opener for the 20 over game, Kallis now ranks as one of the premier batsmen in the format and perhaps its most consistent. In 47 career T20 innings, Kallis has scored 12 fifties and averages 36.5. Combining solidity and unexpected pugnacity, Kallis invariably lays the basis for the Bangalore Royal Challengers and along with his fellow Protea Dale Steyn is probably the main reason that RCB are the likely winners of this year’s IPL.
So far this season, Kallis has proved impregnable with 264 unbeaten runs from RCB’s four matches including the magnificent 89 not out (off 55 balls) that saw his side chase down 204 against Kings XI Punjab to record that all important first victory of the tournament.
Thus, Kallis has proved himself to be a man for all seasons and all formats and whilst he is unlikely to be canonised by the Pope like More, Kallis has remained true to himself, and even if he has made adjustments to succeed in T20, the style is indistinguishably Kallis.
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