Kallis should be back in T20 picture
IF Gary Kirsten had any doubts over Jacques Kallis’s T20 future they should have been put to bed after South Africa’s ill-fated trip to Zimbabwe.
The Proteas returned from Zimbabwe Monday having lost three matches of their five against minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
And although South Africa’s management was not saying it, the nine-wicket drubbing Kirsten’s side suffered against Zimbabwe in the final on Sunday was not how they figured it would turn out.
What South Africa will have learnt is that they cannot afford to go into the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka in September without the experience of old hands like Kallis.
Younger players like Farhaan Behardien, Dane Vilas and even the experienced Justin Ontong did not make the best of their chances and one would perhaps lean towards having Kallis in the squad to open the innings if you need him and bowl a few overs.
Hambantota, where South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will be based, has the kind of surface where batsmen have to grind out runs and bowlers need to vary the pace. Kallis excels at both.
It’s a new surface and as recently displayed in the series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, 120 is likely to be a par score.
South Africa did not defend low scores very well in Zimbabwe and they will have to reassess who they plan to take to Sri Lanka.
AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Johan Botha will return to the side but with only three T20 matches against England left before the World Cup, they may be forced to go with who they know.
Tour captain Hashim Amla was still battling to get his head around South Africa’s defeat by Zimbabwe when the team arrived at OR Tambo International yesterday.
“I can’t quite but my finger on it,” said Amla. “But I think it’’s a combination of early season rustiness coming through, but at the same token we have to acknowledge that Zimbabwe played really well.”
“Their batters hit good form and struck the ball really well, they played better than us.”