“Pitting all-rounders of any era against the peerless Sir Garfield Sobers is a sheer audacity that borders on sacrilege,” wrote Imran Khan in The Guardian recently. Though there cannot be two views about the greatness of the great West Indian, South Africa’s Jacques Kallis is also a genuine all-rounder — all set to retire after the Durban Test against a spirited India. Despite his terrific feats on the ground, mass adulation always eluded him and he deliberately remained a low-profile cricketer throughout his career. The game of cricket hasn’t seen very many truly great all-rounders. Only a few like Sobers, Botham, Keith Miller and Kallis who did justice to the often misused tag of an all-rounder come to mind.
Since the departure of Richard Hadlee, Ian Botham, Imran Khan and our own Kapil Dev from the game of cricket, Kallis has been the best all-rounder in the world. In fact, he could be rated next to Gary Sobers, who still holds the title. How we wish that he is allowed to complete 300 wickets and 200+ catches too! Everyone is not as fortunate as Sachin Tendulkar to leave on his own terms.