Not enamoured with statistics

Published : Dec 01, 2001 00:00 IST


"ON the field you are neither expected to give a quarter, nor get a quarter. I have played cricket like that all the way. I think that's the way South African cricketers have been brought up. It's something that sticks with South African cricket," said Jacques Kallis who has done sufficiently well with the bat and ball to be mentioned as a genuine allrounder. He is unique because he bats at No. 3. Most of the batting allrounders come lower in the order.

Kallis has joined the elite club of allrounders, who have taken 100 wickets and also scored 1000 runs. He is the third South African and the ninth in the world to do so.

Talking to The Sportstar in Port Elizabeth, Kallis said: "If you learn to pace yourself, it's more likely that you will have a successful season. You cannot run in and bowl at 140 plus kms all the time. Every ball, you try to change the pace. You bowl one at 130, then 140 and then push it up to 145 if you can and have that variation. It's better you keep the batsman guessing and mess up his timing."

Kallis said South Africa has a great top order in Gary Kirsten, Herschelle Gibbs and himself. "Neil McKenzie is coming through now. The top order has to get the runs, what the bottom half gets is a bonus. But we are lucky to have a good bottom order as well. It takes a little bit of pressure off us. We have taken the decision that we are going to get the runs upfront.

"Individual performances should not get the priority," Kallis said during the course of this interview.


Question: It must have given you special delight...Sachin Tendulkar being your 100th wicket in Test cricket?

Answer: It was nice to pick up 100 wickets, but I am not one of those persons who looks at statistics. I like to get on with the game and let the statistics take care of itself. It was obviously good to get his (Tendulkar's) wicket in that Test in Bloem.

You always appear to bowl tempting and teasing deliveries for drives. It was one such that got rid of Tendulkar.

Well, when the ball swings a bit, you tend to go a little bit fuller. The ball swung a little bit on that day and gave me a chance to bowl at fuller length at him (Tendulkar).

It must be difficult to maintain the reputation of a world class allrounder in both the versions of the game. You bat at No. 3 and that obviously must make it even more difficult?

It is hard work. I think in the recent past I have bowled more than I usually would do because of injuries to one or two players. Fifteen overs in a day is not really tough. But I work hard on my fitness to be able to do that job effectively.

Talking of workload in the nets I probably do a little more than the others. But I enjoy doing that, which makes it a lot more easier. I actually enjoy playing it really hard on the field.

What makes you a complete allrounder is that you also take great catches in the slips? When Mark Waugh is there, nothing goes down, it's the same with you, too.

I have been working very hard on it in the last two years. After Brian McMillian left, we needed someone there at slips. I always strive to improve and I must say I like fielding in the slips.

And more often than not, you always go for it with both hands?

It always puts you in a better position to go with two hands. It's never a question of luck with two hands, you give yourself a real chance of catching the ball, once you go for it. And that's the way to do it, too.

You shared 40 wickets in the West Indies with Shaun Pollock?

It was a great feeling to take wickets like that in the West Indies. Once again my workload was more than what it would have normally been in the West Indies. That's because Allan (Donald) got injured a few times. But I thoroughly enjoyed the job. Taking 20 wickets is pretty much a milestone bowlers look for. I was really happy with that.

There was this recent record of not being conquered for 1028 minutes in Zimbabwe. Were you conscious about that record which earlier belonged to Nasser Hussain?

I think the only time I knew about that record was after I had finished batting past that record. I did not have a clue about that, but as I said before stats don't mean much do me. I just try and do my best for South Africa.

Obviously, you would like contests against Australia more than any other country?

That's for sure. The Australians play hard and tough cricket, very similar to us. They play hard on the field and have a drink together off the field. That's the way to play the game. Certainly, we believe that this time around, we have a very good chance of beating them. Everything we have done this season is working towards that goal. So far preparations have gone very well. So we are really confident that we can beat them.

You are senior to Mark Boucher in the team, but he has been made the vice-captain. Any disappointments on this count?

I am not at all concerned with that... not at all. It's something many would like to do, captain South Africa. But I just want to play for South Africa. I think it would be really tough to bat at No. 3, bowl and captain as well. I think guys like Shaun (Pollock) have really done well and Mark Boucher certainly has got fantastic leadership qualities.

I am sure once 'Polly' says it's enough, I think Mark (Boucher) will take over and do as good a job as 'Polly'. I really believe that he can be a captain in the future. Maybe in a few years time, I will have a re-look when I am bit older, but certainly I am not interested at the moment.

You cited reasons like batting at No. 3 and bowling for not being made the captain. Did the selectors really say so?

I don't know the reasons, but I think, at that time I agreed with the decision fully. Mark has got the leadership qualities to get the best out of his teammates. I really thought he was the guy for the job.

When did you make a decision to continue with cricket? Did you keep hoping that South Africa would be back in the international fold?

I had to make a decision in my matric year, make a choice between rugby and cricket. Once a decision was made and South Africa's status was known, I said to myself that I would go and fulfil my full potential in cricket. As a kid you always dream of playing for your country, though the realities could be different.

How different have been Bob Woolmer and Graham Ford as coaches?

The two are totally different coaches. Bob did a fantastic job for five years. He was a more outspoken coach and took the team to new levels. Fordie has taken over now and has done as well, if not better. He is certainly a different type of coach, a lot quieter. But he knows the game and is very knowledgeable. I have really been impressed with the way he has worked with all of us. His records speak for him.

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