| Jacques Kallis |
Calcutta: Top gun Jacques Kallis’ ODI return will be in the home series against India, later this year. He’s been off the 50-over game for a year-and-a-half.
India are the holders of the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, so it’s a smart move by South Africa.
The comeback bit was decided during a meeting in Cape Town, featuring Kallis, head coach Russell Domingo and South Africa’s full-time manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee, on Tuesday morning.
Kallis isn’t just an extraordinary batsman, but easily qualifies as an all-rounder who makes a difference.
“Actually, that there would be a meeting was decided upon some time ago, but it couldn’t take place as South Africa were touring Sri Lanka,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.
Kallis, clearly, is South Africa’s Most Valuable Player and will have to play a leading role if the country is to win its first World Cup, in 2015.
Right now, South Africa are a disappointing No.5 in the ODI rankings and were thrashed 1-4 by Sri Lanka in the last series. They’d begun the year with a 1-2 loss to New Zealand.
“Playing for my country has always been both a huge honour and a privilege... It remains my aspiration to be available for the 2015 edition of the World Cup...
“At the same time, as an all-rounder approaching my 38th birthday, I’ll need to assess my future season by season. At the moment, I am feeling mentally and physically refreshed,” Kallis was quoted as saying in a Cricket South Africa (CSA) statement.
The statement also included the following from Domingo: “We are scheduled to play 30 ODIs between now and the start of the World Cup... We cannot expect Jacques to play every match. If we were to do that, we would limit his longevity and we don’t want that...
“Our plan is to bring him back for the home series against India, in November... We have a youthful ODI batting line-up and Jacques brings a maturity that will be invaluable in developing the new generation.”
That Kallis, who turns 38 in October, had his sights on 2015 was first reported in these columns during the closing stages of IPL-VI.
In a one-on-one with this Reporter in Ranchi, Kallis said: “The really big 50-over tournament is the World Cup... I’m not quitting ODIs and intend playing in the 2015 World Cup. Let’s see how it goes between now and then.”
While Kallis won’t be playing in every ODI series/tournament between now and 2015, Domingo has also had his way — that Kallis can’t only look at the next World Cup.
A situation, which could have bruised egos, has been handled with maturity by CSA and the central characters.
It’s significant that Dr Moosajee was present during the meeting in Cape Town.