An old colleague waited patiently while a legend was nearing his fifty. The moment Jacques Kallis reached his milestone in the second Test against India in Durban on Saturday, Shaun Pollock stepped out of the commentators’ box and spoke to the media about his former teammate.
Kallis, the irreplaceable: We need to find two players now to do what he did.
He will be missed but we cannot afford to lick our wounds and wait for five years.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Jacques is a great player but we need to have a plan, be it finding an all-rounder or hope that Vernon Philander and the other guys in the lower order will get some extra runs.
The batting great: We have had Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid. Jacques was with them but — in a way like Dravid — he tended to be a bit under when it came to recognition.
Both did what their team wanted without drawing any extra attention.
We’ve got to accept that Jacques has batted on some difficult pitches here in South Africa and made it look very easy.
May be if he had played a lot more in sub-continental pitches, he may have got more runs but in that case he would have got fewer wickets!
Captaincy, the missing-link: He never fussed about it. He was focussed on the roles he performed for the team.
The man with the safe hands: It was reassuring to see him at the slips, he has safe hands and held about 95 per cent of the catches.
The never-say-die bowler: He used to get those three to four wickets consistently, and may be that is why he never made a splash like what a five-for would do.
He always bowled at 130kmph-plus all through his career, and, yes, in that 1999 World Cup match against Sri Lanka (in England) he bowled at the speed of light. He could crank it up to 140kmph at times.
His dry humour: He hardly spoke. And so when he spoke, we all listened. I remember that 438 game (at Wanderers in which, South Africa surpassed Australia’s score and created a world record). The dressing room was quiet at the break and Jacques said: ‘Come on guys, the bowlers did their job and they missed it (450) by just about 10 runs, and now it’s our turn to get that.” Hearing that, the entire team cracked up.
Post-retirement plans: Jacques could be a good batting consultant. His knowledge about technique is very deep.