Is there life after Kallis?

In his last test Jacques Kallis completed his 45th test hundred; the second most by a cricketer – ever. In his final innings Kallis batted himself into the third highest run making spot – ever; ahead of Rahul Dravid!

Kallis now joins the list of the 20 highest batting averages of retired batters, ever; a list on which he eclipses the names of Sachin Tendulkar, Rickey Ponting and, yes, indeed also the great Brian Lara.

And, while Kallis established himself as an enigma with the bat he accumulated 292 wickets.

The colossus of South African cricket is gone; so what now?

A daunting task awaits the Proteas: they must replace the best cricketer the world ever produced and a batting genius in the league of the great Don Bradman.

Is there life after Kallis?

This was probably the most asked question in South African cricket since the Indians last toured South Africa and it became clear that the gifted ones, Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Rickey Ponting were entering the eve of their careers.

Still, when Kallis announced his retirement, just before the start of the current test, it shook the nation; in fact it shook the cricketing world.

It led to a lot of speculation about the balance of the Proteas without Kallis.

AB de Villiers is the perfect four but not if he continue as keeper.

Graeme Smith is the last of the “old boys” and it will not come as a surprise if he joins his mates, Kallis and Mark Boucher, in retirement. When Smith leaves the captaincy will go to AB and it is simply too much to ask of him to take that responsibility, bat at four and keep.

There is no reason why the gloves should not go to Quinton de Kock. At the age of 20 he is as old as Kallis and Boucher were when they were first selected for the Proteas. De Kock is already a brilliant keeper but as a batter he is the most promising of a new local crop which includes brilliant youngsters like Rilee Rossouw and Stian van Zyl.

There is no reason to put De Kock on ice and against the Australians he should be allowed to start a career that might very well end in the best batter-keeper the world ever produced.

As an all-rounder De Kock promises to become the next cricket phenomenon. As a batter he has the makings to be the next “Kallis”.

After 20 tests at an average of 33.07 per innings JP Duminy clearly illustrated that he does not belong in the international arena. Unless he becomes the regular spinner and all-rounder in the team he should make way for Dean Elgar or Rilee Rossouw. As things stand at the moment the regular spinners, Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson are not miles ahead of Duminy as far as skills goes.

If the selectors stick with Duminy it will open an opportunity for either Wayne Parnell or Ryan McLaren to join the pace attack. Both are good batters with all-rounder abilities that will ensure that the Proteas bat to number ten.

In the bowling department Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, and Morné Morkel pick themselves.

The following team for the first test against the Australians, scheduled for Centurion, where a spinner is not that vital, will most likely be too good for the visitors: Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, FAF du Plessis, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel.

However, having said all this, the first name to come to mind as one look at the suggested line-up is the one that is missing, Jacques Henry Kallis.

Without the name Kallis the team list does look a bit speculative … tentative.

It does not matter how good the team can still be; the absence of Kallis’ name is actually startling.

Broad+ECB+ICC = pathetic cricket

The Stuart Broad-affair and the way his pears dealt with the scandal is a harsh reminder how morally bankrupt the game became in certain countries, including England.

It all started with incidents the previous day; and although it is probably only the beginning, it already casted a dark and diabolic cloud over the Ashes. It is clear that cricket will play second fiddle to controversy and gamesmanship in England, this summer.

Television umpire, Marais Erasmus made crucial decisions that went against England. According to evidence, mind you, Erasmus was right on both occasions.

The fact that hotspot was not available for the Trott-dismissal was not Erasmus’s mistake and his decision was based on what portions of DRS was available to him.

Snicko was inconclusive and showed one sharp line with almost nothing afterwards. It clearly indicated that Trott did not hit the ball, but the hardened and rounded bottom edge of his pad. If it was bat and pad the sound would have been more acute and snicko would have shown a flurry of sharp impulses that gradually petering out.

The point however is that the ECB and Andy Flower were so furious about Trott’s dismissal that they lodged a complaint with the ICC. Well actually Flower was so beyond himself with misplaced anger that his face took the vicious shape of his fellow countryman, Robert Mugabe.

Subsequently, Dave Richardson, on behalf of the ICC, apologised to the batter, the England team and the ECB; well, he basically apologised to everyone and sundry in England.

When Erasmus overturned the decision, a very strange, probably the first of its kind, thing happened: Aleem Dar threw his hands in the air and publicly disagreed with his colleague in the box.

If a player acted in that manner he would have received a steep fine and all types of warnings.

Around the world, everyone who plays the wonderful game of cricket, agrees that consistency it probably one of its most valuable assets.

The next day, Stuart Broad nicked the ball and was caught.

Now, here is the inconsistency.

The ECB lodged a complaint about the Trott-affair with the ICC, but failed to do the same in the case of the Broad-scenario.

Australian cricket has reason to be as furious about this incident as the ECB was the previous day; however, they will take it on the chin and refrain from tantrum throwing.

Aleem Dar made a massive mistake and, with his visible anger about the Erasmus-decision in mind, one wonders whether he apologised to Marais. The latter is too much of a gentleman to criticise Dar or make an issue of his humiliation by Aleem and the ICC.

Based on their reaction of the previous day the ICC discredited itself by not jumping on its bike as quickly, as they did with the ECB complaint, to issue an apology to the Australians.

More importantly, there is no indication that the ICC had a harsh word with Dar. Based on the entire affair Dar at least deserves a serious sanction. Will the ICC in fact sanction Dar?

No chance!

Then there is Broad.

It is quite understandable that he stood his ground, but the visible pleasure he got from Dar’s mistake shows exactly why he is probably the most disrespected cricketer on the globe. Broad’s conduct was a showing of exactly what the game does not need. His reaction was sarcastic and filled with malicious intent.

Will the ECB sanction him, as it is not the first time that he brought the game in disrepute?

In the past Broad, on several occasions, even more than Jonathan Trott, claimed catches, that was not legal. Once again he acted against the spirit of the game. He bridged about every code of conduct and caused the game injustice.

A good guess would be that his coach and the ECB gave him a well-done-son pat on the shoulder and that the ICC will lack the moral credibility and power to put this brat in his place for once and for all.

Once again, the entire English cricket fraternity graphically illustrated that their obsession to win does not allow the game they invented to be referred to as one for gentlemen.