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Ken Borland



Kallis ‘could not face letting down Proteas’ – Smith 0

Posted on August 07, 2014 by Ken

Former South African captain Graeme Smith said on Wednesday that he believed Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from all international cricket because he could not face the possibility of letting down the Proteas.

Kallis retired from Test cricket in December, but decided to continue playing ODI cricket in a bid to make the World Cup squad early next year. But a poor tour of Sri Lanka this month, in which he scored just five runs in three innings and could not bowl due to niggling injuries, led to him re-evaluating his future.

“I’ve been calling him an ‘old man’ and asking him what he’s doing out there, but I had a hint that he might decide to retire after he came back from Sri Lanka and realised that it would take a lot of hard work for him to get through to the World Cup. When you’re playing full-time it’s easier, but focus is very crucial at international level and I think he was wondering if his mind is really on it.

“He really wanted to win the World Cup, but I’ve always appreciated his honesty and I think he realised that he might let the team down. He was honest enough to realise he might not be strong enough to make it through to next year, especially in terms of bowling and mentally,” Smith said on Wednesday.

Smith said the timing of the decision was perfect because it gave the team enough time to adapt their tactics to his absence ahead of the World Cup.

“He’s given the team enough space tactically to fill his gap with other guys but it’s obviously always sad when players of his calibre move on. But he’s had an incredible career which we can all celebrate and look back fondly on. He brought so much happiness and South African cricket got a lot out of Jacques in so many different eras,” Smith said.

“It’s always difficult to compare players from different eras, but if you consider the amount of cricket Jacques played, the length of consistency at the top of the game and all the different conditions and challenges he performed in, then he’s got to be up there with the best who’ve ever played the game. In time, I’m sure his reputation will only go from strength to strength.”

Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat said the timing of the decision was typical of the 38-year-old’s professionalism.

“He’s been a consummate professional who always knew exactly what his responsibilities were and although he was very keen to get through to the World Cup, and had committed himself to that, it dawned upon him in Sri Lanka that his mind and body were not fit enough to get him there. He said he had some thinking to do when he left Sri Lanka two weeks ago, so he prepared us for his retirement and in the last 12 hours there have been lots of conversations with him,” Lorgat said.

“In my book, he was one of the best cricketers ever. I’ve seen him play great innings and make wonderful contributions with the ball, but above all it was his presence that I will remember. In the last 10 years, the team has drawn an enormous amount of confidence from his sheer presence,” the former Eastern Province and Transvaal all-rounder said.

http://mobi.supersport.com/cricket/sa-team/news/140730/Kallis_didnt_want_to_let_the_team_down

‘Stubborn’ Kallis praised for his honesty in retiring 0

Posted on August 05, 2014 by Ken

Former South African captain Graeme Smith yesterday described Jacques Kallis as “a really stubborn man” but praised his honesty in realising he had come to the end of his career and announcing his retirement from all international cricket.

The 38-year-old Kallis, statistically the greatest all-round cricketer the game has seen, retired from Test cricket in December but had indicated his desire to continue playing one-day internationals for South Africa, with an eye on having one more crack at the World Cup in February/March 2015.

But a poor tour of Sri Lanka, where Kallis scored just five runs in three innings and did not bowl due to niggling injuries, has convinced South Africa’s leading run-scorer in both Tests and ODIs to end his international career.

Smith, who himself retired at the end of the summer, has been close to Kallis for more than a decade and only 11 of his 117 Tests were played without his friend beside him at slip.

“Jacques is a really stubborn man but I think that stubbornness must have run out! But one can only appreciate his honesty because he really wanted to win the World Cup, but he knew he would struggle to maintain the levels required, especially in terms of bowling and mentally, and he didn’t want to let the side down. He’s also given the team enough space tactically to fill his gap with other guys,” Smith said yesterday.

A relaxed-looking Smith, fresh off a family holiday, said retirement would take some getting used to for Kallis, who has spent the last 19 years excelling on cricket fields all over the world.

“I’ve just been through it and it’s a bit daunting really,” Smith said. “You’re no longer earning a salary – my electricity got cut off! – and you’ve just known one way of living for the last 19 years. Until the next stage of his life falls into place, he deserves the time and space to find his feet.”

In 166 Tests, Kallis scored 13 289 runs  (the third most) at an average of 55.37 and claimed 292 wickets. He also took 200 catches and no other player has scored over 10 000 runs and taken more than 200 wickets.

In 328 ODIs, Kallis made 11 579 runs at an average of 44.36 and took 273 wickets.

“It’s always difficult to compare players from different eras, but if you consider the amount of cricket Jacques played, the length of consistency at the top of the game and all the different conditions and challenges he performed in, then he’s got to be up there with the best who’ve ever played the game. In time, I’m sure his reputation will only go from strength to strength,” Smith said.

“It used to irritate me when we started a season and Jacques had hardly picked up a bat in months, and he’d get into the nets and every ball would come out of the middle of the bat, while the rest of us were scratching around. I remember him hitting five centuries in a row [v West Indies & NZ in 2003/4] which was incredible, his two hundreds in a game against India and his century at Newlands on a tough pitch when he had a side strain. Jacques had a great ability under pressure to get stuck in and he was so reliable.”

Kallis remains committed to playing T20 cricket for the Sydney Thunder and Kolkata Knight Riders, but Smith agreed that once he had retired from Test cricket, a quick end to his international career was inevitable.

“Focus is very crucial at international level and I guess Jacques had to ask himself if his mind is really on it anymore. It’s hard to maintain intensity without playing regularly and it takes a lot of hard work to get to the required levels. When you’re playing full-time, it’s definitely easier.

“I hope there’s going to still be real respect for what he achieved, we can celebrate and look back fondly on an incredible career. He brought so much happiness and South African cricket got so much value out of him through so many eras,” Smith said.

Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat said Kallis had decided to retire after returning from Sri Lanka and spending the last two weeks mulling his future.

“It dawned upon him in Sri Lanka that his mind and body might no longer be fit enough to get him to the World Cup, and he said he had some thinking to do, so he prepared us for his retirement.

“In my book, he is one of the best cricketers ever and he has left as a legend. He was the consummate professional and naturally we are going to miss him because I don’t see any other three-in-one cricketers of his calibre,” Lorgat said.

Duminy looks forward to serving as a senior 0

Posted on June 23, 2014 by Ken

JP Duminy is excited by the extra responsibility heading his way, serving as a key lower middle-order batsman, second spinner and senior figure in the changeroom as the South African cricket team head to Sri Lanka on their first tour without the stalwart triumvirate of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher.

In fact, the 30-year-old feels that the increase in responsibility has not been a sudden thing: Duminy has gradually been taking on more and more of a senior role in the South African team, becoming a key player as his batting and bowling have grown to maturity.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge, but it hasn’t just started now. It started a few months ago already, especially when Graeme retired. There’s already been added responsibilities, definitely in the shorter formats, and I think it brings the best out of me and my game.

“But this season will determine whether I can sustain that, but I think I’ve played enough cricket now to know what leadership is about,” Duminy said yesterday at the Cricket South Africa Centre of Excellence in Pretoria, where the Proteas were having a two-day fitness camp.

Duminy admitted that the Proteas have been stung by the loss of their number one Test ranking to Australia and he said they needed to start strongly in the three-match ODI series that precedes the two Tests against Sri Lanka.

“Obviously we don’t have a good record playing Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and it’s going to be a tough ask. But we have a nice squad and it’s going to be important to start well in the ODIs. That’s a very important aspect of the tour and we need to get our games right heading into the Tests, where we want to get that number one ranking back,” Duminy said.

Batting at number six (he deserves to be treated as one of the top six with either Stiaan van Zyl or Quinton de Kock at seven), Duminy can put money on the fact that he is going to face plenty of spin in Sri Lanka, an area of weakness previously which he has now greatly improved.

“Playing spin is going to be crucial and I have had an issue with it in the past, but I’ve put that behind me. I’ve definitely improved a lot from three or four years ago and I feel confident facing spin now. I feel like I now have good game plans facing spin and my experience in the IPL has improved me too,” the stylish left-hander said.

There is a sense of calm now about the veteran of 115 ODIs, 55 T20 internationals and 24 Tests and Duminy says life is not going to be radically different as the Proteas enter a new era under Hashim Amla.

“The team culture is there already and there’s a great balance in the squad. Small things will change, but we understand what we stand for and the guys stepping into the side have the freedom to express themselves and there are still several guys who have been around for a long time.

“We want to dominate the international circuit; yes, there’ve been big losses from the team, but we see it as a great opportunity for the new breed of players,” Duminy said.

http://www.iol.co.za/sport/cricket/proteas/mature-jp-happy-with-leadership-role-1.1706919#.U6gkvpSSxUE

 

Amla provides calm continuity in new era for Proteas 0

Posted on June 06, 2014 by Ken

New SA Test captain Hashim Amla

Rookie captain Hashim Amla will have two uncapped players under his care as South Africa begin a new era of Test cricket without Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis in Sri Lanka next month.

Batsman Stiaan van Zyl and off-spinner Dane Piedt, both key members of the champion Cape Cobras team, have been called up for the two Tests against Sri Lanka as South Africa simultaneously look to continue the successes of the last five years and build for the future.

Amla claimed the Test captaincy yesterday ahead of the strong challenges of AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, with the national selectors opting for the continuity the 31-year-old will bring, both in terms of leadership and the balance of the team.

While both Amla and De Villiers have been an integral part of the journey that has seen the Proteas grow into a formidable outfit – a road the national selectors want to keep following – making De Villiers captain of the Test side would have robbed the team of an extra option as the Unlimited Titans star has made it clear he would give up the wicketkeeping gloves if he was skipper in the longest format of the game.

While convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson stressed that Amla was “the best leader to take South Africa forward”, he conceded that “AB continuing to keep wicket gives us more options”.

Losing two mighty oaks like Smith and Kallis leaves South Africa in a position of vulnerability as they travel to a venue which has proven their toughest sub-continental destination, and Hudson said they were banking on the calmness Amla brings to make the transition as smooth as possible.

But South Africa will also be heavily dependent on Amla’s prolific flow of runs and he was confident that the extra pressures of captaincy would not have an effect on his batting.

In his one previous season of captaincy, when he led the Dolphins to a share of the 2004/5 SuperSport Series four-day title, he averaged 54.38, scoring three centuries, including a superb 249 in the final against the Central Eagles.

“It’s an honour and privilege to be given this responsibility. Previously I concentrated on my batting a lot, but now it’s time to contribute to the team more. I’m here to serve the team and I will give all my heart to the position. The biggest positive is that I can add more value to the team.

“I’m positive it won’t affect my batting, I hope it won’t and I’m going to try and score as many, if not more, runs as before. I hope I can still get better as a batsman,” Amla said.

South Africa’s last Test tour of Sri Lanka, in 2006, effectively robbed Ashwell Prince, the only previous player of colour to lead the Proteas (albeit in a stand-in basis as Smith was injured), of any chance of captaining his country again as they were beaten 2-0 and Amla is aware of how tough their opposition are to play in their home conditions.

“It’s going to be quite a challenge because Sri Lanka are a very resourceful team. But it’s the sort of challenge you want, these are exciting times. It took us a few years to find a winning combination 10 years ago and it would be naïve to think that everything will just fall into place this time,” Amla warned.

Left-hander Dean Elgar is set to slot into Smith’s opening position alongside Alviro Petersen, while either Quinton de Kock or Van Zyl will fill the number seven spot if South Africa decide to play the extra batsman in Sri Lanka.

But with two frontline spinners in the squad in leggie Imran Tahir and Piedt, the Proteas could play both slow bowlers with Vernon Philander, who averaged 40.00 with the bat last season, moving up to number seven.

Dolphins strike bowler Kyle Abbott has been included ahead of all-rounder Ryan McLaren.

“We have to uncover new talent. There’s a generation of senior players at the core of the team, but who’s next, who will replace them? We must bring those players through and hopefully these guys will be them,” Hudson said.

There are no surprises in the ODI squad, with orthodox spinner Aaron Phangiso, left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks and Du Plessis being brought into the team that will play three matches before the Test series.

De Villiers will remain in charge of the ODI team in the vital period before the World Cup while, in a role-reversal of the situation in the Test side, Amla will be his vice-captain.

Test squad: Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Stiaan van Zyl, Wayne Parnell, Kyle Abbott.

ODI squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Vernon Philander, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso, Beuran Hendricks, Faf du Plessis.

 



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