Realistically, there was only one story from today’s play. We’re talking of course of Jacques Kallis’s new ‘comfortable’ appearance.
Now we like a fat cricketer as much as the next man – maybe even more than the next man – but we don’t appreciate Jacques Kallis’s late-to-the-party attempts.
Our idea of a fat cricketer is someone who truly devotes himself to the role. Ian Austin: there was a fat cricketer with true natural ability. He didn’t faff around with a slight physique for years. He got straight in there. He was fat from the off.
Mark Cosgrove’s another cricketer with gluttony and sloth in his big, big bones. He’s the kind of man who won’t even pay lip service to a fitness regime, because his lips are permanently occupied with cream cakes. Mark Cosgrove is actively working on gaining more weight. This is our kind of hero: one you can believe in and also laugh at when they try to do up their shoelaces.
Jacques Kallis is just a wannabe. Mark Boucher too.
We’ve just realised we’ve already written about fat South Africans, but no matter – it’s not something anyone’s ever likely to get tired of.
We don’t know what’s going on here. There we were idly reading a short piece about New Zealand quick, Mark Gillespie, when suddenly the writer makes the most outrageous claim imaginable.
Will from The Corridor – who knows what he’s on about – describes Jacques Kallis as ‘dazzling’. ‘Dazzling’ is not a word readily associated with the thick-skulled automaton, but we don’t doubt Will’s word. Will writes for a proper, grown-up cricket website where lying’s frowned upon rather than celebrated.
This will be an unwelcome development for The Atheist from Are You A Left-Arm Chinaman who once said: “As a rule, I like the players that everyone else loathes. Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid: champions among younger and more exciting men. Show me a solid forward defence played to a harmless half-volley, and I will show you a happy Atheist. Everything is in its place, and the world is as it should be.”
Because paradoxically we end up having to watch even more of him.
The South African selectors felt they could do without the world’s most willing batsman and least willing bowler for the Twenty20 World Cup. Jacques Kallis was a little irritated by this and resigned the vice-captaincy. He also claimed to be ‘thinking over his international future’ which is a way of threatening the selectors when you’ve clearly no intention of going.
Anyway, returning to the side for this Test series against Pakistan, Kallis has been showing the selectors his worth in no uncertain terms. Innings of 155 and 100 not out in the first Test have been followed by 59 and 107 not out in the second Test.
So South Africa’s selectors have been proven wrong then? Well, no. They dropped him because of a ‘nightmare’ schedule in the next 18 months, saying they wanted to keep one of their most important players fresh. That decision seems to have been vindicated.
Resting players from full-blown international events so that they’ll be fresh for other ones is crap. The match where the player’s rested isn’t as competitive as it should be and assuming the other players need resting as well, the next match is effectively weakened also.
THAT, friends, is international cricket as it stands today.
Shaun Pollock may have been dropped, but South Africa have got more than one crushingly dispiriting all-rounder at their disposal. In fact, South African cricket can boast a whole battalion of line-and-length-bowling competent-batting dullards.
Jacques Kallis is a little better than competent, of course, although he’s a dullard in more than one sense. Pakistan kindly supplied an ironed pancake pitch for the first Test and Kallis tucked in with gusto.
Kallis is currently 118 not out. It’s his 25th Test century. The man deserves our respect, if not our appreciation.