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'Kallis is a selfish cricketer'

December 09, 2008 12:56 IST

He may boast of the best statistics among all-rounders but former players refuse to place South Africa's Jacques Kallis in the league of extraordinary gentlemen featuring the likes of India's Kapil Dev, West Indies' Sir Gary Sobers, Pakistan's Imran Khan or England's Ian Botham.

Kallis has scored 9801 runs in 125 Tests at an average of 55.06 and taken 245 wickets at a highly respectable 30.92. He has scored 30 centuries, but never made a double hundred.

The figures are well ahead of Sobers, who made 8032 runs at 57.78 in 93 Tests and took 235 wickets at 34.03, to be widely regarded as the game's greatest all-rounder.

But Kallis is a "selfish cricketer", feels Keith Stackpole, who scored seven centuries in 43 Tests as an opener.

"He doesn't rate against players such as Gary Sobers, Imran Khan, Keith Miller, Adam Gilchrist, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev and Ian Botham," he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.

"You watch him bat and you are left with the feeling he bats for his average. And you ask yourself, 'Would I have wanted to play with him?'. The answer is no because he plays for himself," he added.

Former Test pacer Rodney Hogg, who played against Sobers, Imran, Hadlee, Botham, Kapil, Malcolm Marshall and Clive Rice, feels Kallis lacks against Australians.

"Kallis is a flat-track bully, who dishes it out to the minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe but goes missing against the Australians," Hogg said.

"Sobers played more than half of his Tests against England and Australia, whereas Kallis has picked up around 1000 runs and 40 wickets against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They shouldn't count.

"Kallis is a player at age 33 that we will really target in this Test series. And he is boring to watch as a bowler, just constantly bowling outside off-stump," he added.

Hogg rated Sobers on top of the list.

"Sobers has to be rated on top but I have enormous respect for Imran, and while Hadlee wasn't as good with the bat, he is clearly the best bowler of those all-rounders like Kapil, Botham and Marshall.

"Botham's shocking record against the great West Indies teams counts against him. Rice, I played against on two tours of South Africa in the mid 80s and remember him as someone who wanted to kill you with every ball," he said.

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