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Jacques Kallis: A career in numbers

Jacques Kallis's career figures make him the best cricket has seen in almost all departments  © AFP
Jacques Kallis’s career figures make him the best cricket has seen in almost all departments © AFP

 

Jacques Kallis, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, has decided to hang up his boots. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at an illustrious career in terms of numbers.

 

The curtains have been drawn. The spectators, on field and on television, waited for Jacques Kallis to walk out for this one final time, but he wouldn’t, being perfectly happy with the top-order batsmen to do the job for his side. A career – perhaps the greatest ever – came to an end.

 

How great an all-rounder was Kallis? How did he fare when pitted against the other greats across the eras – Garry Sobers in specific?

 

 

The all-rounder

 

Let us first put a basic cut-off of 2,000 runs and 100 wickets. In 136 years of Test cricket, only 25 cricketers meet the mark, which tells us a thing or two about how special the achievement is. If we do a basic product of runs and wickets, Kallis is so far ahead of the others that a comparison almost seems futile.

 

Top all-rounders: Product of runs and wickets

 

Player M R Bat Ave W Bowl Ave C R x W
Jacques Kallis

166

13,289

55.37

292

32.65

200

388.0388

Kapil Dev

131

5,248

31.05

434

29.65

64

227.7632

Shane Warne

145

3,154

17.33

708

25.42

125

223.3032

Ian Botham

102

5,200

33.55

383

28.40

120

199.1600

Garry Sobers

93

8,032

57.78

235

34.04

109

188.7520

Daniel Vettori

112

4,516

30.11

360

34.42

57

162.5760

Shaun Pollock

108

3,781

32.32

421

23.12

72

159.1801

Anil Kumble

132

2,506

17.77

619

29.65

60

155.1214

Imran Khan

88

3,807

37.69

362

22.81

28

137.8134

Richard Hadlee

86

3,124

27.17

431

22.30

39

134.6444

 

However, that tells us about the volume of runs and wickets for Kallis and the others. If we want to do a per-match performance, however, the best idea would probably be to find a combined average of sorts. The easiest approach to this would probably be to divide the product above by the number of Tests played.

 

Top all-rounders: Product of runs and wickets per match (qualification: 2,000 runs and 100 wickets)

 

Player

M

R

Bat Ave

W

Bowl Ave

C

R x W

Jacques Kallis

166

13,289

55.37

292

32.65

200

388.0388

Kapil Dev

131

5,248

31.05

434

29.65

64

227.7632

Shane Warne

145

3,154

17.33

708

25.42

125

223.3032

Ian Botham

102

5,200

33.55

383

28.4

120

199.16

Garry Sobers

93

8,032

57.78

235

34.04

109

188.752

Daniel Vettori

112

4,516

30.11

360

34.42

57

162.576

Shaun Pollock

108

3,781

32.32

421

23.12

72

159.1801

Anil Kumble

132

2,506

17.77

619

29.65

60

155.1214

Imran Khan

88

3,807

37.69

362

22.81

28

137.8134

Richard Hadlee

86

3,124

27.17

431

22.3

39

134.6444

 

 

The above table should have sufficed to establish Kallis’ supremacy, but let us do that conventional (batting average – bowling average) difference as well.

 

Top all-rounders: Batting average – Bowling average (qualification: 2,000 runs and 100 wickets)

 

Player

M

R

Bat Ave

W

Bowl Ave

C

Ave diff

Garry Sobers

93

8,032

57.78

235

34.04

109

23.75

Jacques Kallis

166

13,289

55.37

292

32.65

200

22.72

Imran Khan

88

3,807

37.69

362

22.81

28

14.88

Keith Miller

55

2,958

36.98

170

22.98

38

14

Shaun Pollock

108

3,781

32.32

421

23.12

72

9.2

Trevor Goddard

41

2,516

34.47

123

26.23

48

8.24

Tony Greig

58

3,599

40.44

141

32.21

87

8.23

Ian Botham

102

5,200

33.55

383

28.4

120

5.15

Shakib Al Hasan

32

2,105

37.59

113

32.63

14

4.96

Richard Hadlee

86

3,124

27.17

431

22.3

39

4.86

 

 

The difference, of course, is not a parameter good enough (since the statistic is biased towards batsmen: a player with averages of 55 and 30, for example, would be equivalent to a man with 45 and 20, which would probably not be fair). Let us go for the ratio between the two averages, then.

 

Top all-rounders: Batting average / Bowling average (qualification: 2,000 runs and 100 wickets)

 

Player

M

R

Bat Ave

W

Bowl Ave

C

Ave Ratio

Garry Sobers

93

8,032

57.78

235

34.04

109

1.698

Jacques Kallis

166

13,289

55.37

292

32.65

200

1.696

Imran Khan

88

3,807

37.69

362

22.81

28

1.652

Keith Miller

55

2,958

36.98

170

22.98

38

1.609

Shaun Pollock

108

3,781

32.32

421

23.12

72

1.398

Trevor Goddard

41

2,516

34.47

123

26.23

48

1.314

Tony Greig

58

3,599

40.44

141

32.21

87

1.256

Richard Hadlee

86

3,124

27.17

431

22.3

39

1.218

Ian Botham

102

5,200

33.55

383

28.4

120

1.181

Shakib Al Hasan

32

2,105

37.59

113

32.63

14

1.152

 

 

 

The batsman

 

As a batsman, Kallis’ supremacy is quite well-defined: to put things simple, he had finished his career as the third-most prolific scorer in history, and second in terms of Test hundreds.

 

Top batsmen: Most runs (qualification: 7,000 runs)

 

Player M I NO R Bat Ave

100s

50s

Sachin Tendulkar

200

329

33

15,921

53.79

51

68

Ricky Ponting

168

287

29

13,378

51.85

41

62

Jacques Kallis

166

280

40

13,289

55.37

45

58

Rahul Dravid

164

286

32

13,288

52.31

36

63

Brian Lara

131

232

6

11,953

52.89

34

48

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

153

261

45

11,219

51.94

29

62

Allan Border

156

265

44

11,174

50.56

27

63

Steve Waugh

168

260

46

10,927

51.06

32

50

Mahela Jayawardene

138

232

14

10,806

49.57

31

45

Kumar Sangakkara

117

200

16

10,486

56.99

33

42

 

 

Not only had he finished third on the list, he had done so at a phenomenal batting average as well. Of all batsmen who have scored more runs than Don Bradman (in other words, over 7,000 runs) only Kumar Sangakkara, Sobers, and Wally Hammond have averaged more than Kallis.

 

Top batsmen: Highest average (qualification: 7,000 runs)

 

Player M I NO R Bat Ave

100s

50s

Sachin Tendulkar

200

329

33

15,921

53.79

51

68

Ricky Ponting

168

287

29

13,378

51.85

41

62

Jacques Kallis

166

280

40

13,289

55.37

45

58

Rahul Dravid

164

286

32

13,288

52.31

36

63

Brian Lara

131

232

6

11,953

52.89

34

48

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

153

261

45

11,219

51.94

29

62

Allan Border

156

265

44

11,174

50.56

27

63

Steve Waugh

168

260

46

10,927

51.06

32

50

Mahela Jayawardene

138

232

14

10,806

49.57

31

45

Kumar Sangakkara

117

200

16

10,486

56.99

33

42

 

 

Over the years, Kallis has been one of the most reliable grafters of the sport, relying more on patience, determination, and temperament than on belligerent strokeplay. In fact, the most he ranks third in terms of the number of balls faced in the career…

 

Most minutes batted

 

Player

M

I

NO

R

Mins

Rahul Dravid

164

286

32

13,288

44,152

Sachin Tendulkar

200

329

33

15,921

41,304

Jacques Kallis *

166

280

40

13,289

38,400

Allan Border

156

265

44

11,174

35,369

Shivnarine Chanderpaul *

153

261

45

11,219

35,588

* These are least numbers. Kallis and Chanderpaul have batted for AT LEAST those minutes. The innings length of some innings could not be obtained.

 

… as he does in terms of the number of minutes batted.

 

Most balls faced

 

Player

M

I

NO

R

Balls

Rahul Dravid

164

286

32

13,288

31,258

Sachin Tendulkar *

200

329

33

15,921

29,437

Jacques Kallis

166

280

40

13,289

28,903

Allan Border *

156

265

44

11,174

27,002

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

153

261

45

11,219

25,902

* These are least numbers. Tendulkar and Border have batted for AT LEAST those minutes. The innings length of some innings could not be obtained.

 

 

A big aspect of Kallis’ phenomenal batting career is the fact that he has delivered with the bat all round the world (barring in England, where he averages 35). He has an exemplary overseas record as well.

 

Note: Do note his performance on Zimbabwean soil.

 

Kallis’ batting performances across venues

 

Venue M I NO R Bat Ave 100 50
Australia 15 29 3 1254 48.23 3 6
Bangladesh 2 3 1 63 31.5 0 0
England 15 25 1 848 35.33 2 3
India 9 15 2 760 58.46 3 2
New Zealand 8 13 2 649 59 3 2
Pakistan 5 9 2 582 83.14 3 2
South Africa 88 143 19 7035 56.73 23 34
Sri Lanka 5 10 1 318 35.33 0 3
UAE 4 7 1 335 55.83 2 1
West Indies 12 22 5 942 55.41 3 5
Zimbabwe 3 4 3 503 503 3 0
Home 88 143 19 7035 56.73 23 34
Away 74 130 20 5919 53.8 20 23
Neutral 4 7 1 335 55.83 2 1

 

Though he has scored a lot of runs at number three (3,335 runs at 49.77 with nine hundreds), it is at number four that Kallis had really thrived. Only Sachin Tendulkar has scored more runs at that position.

 

Most runs at number four

 

 Player

M

I

NO

R

Ave

100s

50s

Sachin Tendulkar

179

275

27

13,492

54.4

44

58

Jacques Kallis

111

170

24

9,033

61.86

35

36

Mahela Jayawardene

113

177

12

8,656

52.46

28

30

Brian Lara

91

148

1

7,535

51.25

24

31

Javed Miandad

104

140

12

6,925

54.1

19

31

 

 

In terms of average at number four, however, Kallis stands head and shoulders above anyone barring Greg Chappell.

 

Highest average at number four (qualification: 4,000 runs)

 

 

M

I

NO

R

Ave

100s

50s

Jacques Kallis

111

170

24

9,033

61.86

35

36

Greg Chappell

54

86

13

4,316

59.12

15

19

Sachin Tendulkar

179

275

27

13,492

54.4

44

58

Javed Miandad

104

140

12

6,925

54.1

19

31

Denis Compton

57

86

7

4,234

53.59

13

20

 

 

The bowler

 

Though not as prolific with the ball as with the bat, Kallis was still more than a handy bowler. He provided South Africa the perfect balance and the luxury to accommodate the extra batsman over the years without sacrificing a bowler. He finished 29th on the all-time list of bowlers in terms of wickets.

 

Among South Africans, however, only four bowlers have managed more wickets than Kallis.

 

Most wickets among South Africans

 

 Player

M

B

R

W

Ave

Econ

SR

5WI

10WM

Shaun Pollock

108

24,353

9,733

421

23.11

2.39

57.8

16

1

Makhaya Ntini

101

20,834

11,242

390

28.82

3.23

53.4

18

4

Dale Steyn

69

14,724

8,016

350

22.9

3.26

42

22

5

Allan Donald

72

15,519

7,344

330

22.25

2.83

47

20

3

Jacques Kallis

166

20,232

9,535

292

32.65

2.82

69.2

5

0

 

 

Kallis had typically been used as the fourth bowler for the majority of his career – a position usually assigned to spinners. He has been so prolific that he has ended up with the most wickets at that position among seamers.

 

Most wickets among seamers bowling at number four

 

 Player

M

B

R

W

Ave

Econ

SR

5WI

Jacques Kallis

92

9,174

4,273

139

30.74

2.79

66

3

Courtney Walsh

39

5,305

2,268

83

27.32

2.56

63.9

2

Malcolm Marshall

16

2,469

1,148

60

19.13

2.78

41.1

2

Andrew Flintoff

29

3,931

1,976

51

38.74

3.01

77

0

Joel Garner

13

3,245

1,144

51

22.43

2.11

63.6

2

 

 

The fielder

 

When he caught Ravindra Jadeja in the first innings of his final Test, Kallis became only the second specialist fielder to pouch 200 catches after Rahul Dravid, thus making him perhaps the most complete all-rounder of all time.

 

Most catches (specialist fielders)

 

 Player

M

I

C

Rahul Dravid

164

301

210

Jacques Kallis

166

315

200

Ricky Ponting

168

328

196

Mahela Jayawardene

138

248

194

Mark Waugh

128

245

181

 

 

Extras

 

Just to prove his greatness, Kallis is

-  The only man with over 9,000 runs to have taken a hundred wickets. The next man, Steve Waugh, is on 92, exactly 200 wickets behind Kallis.

-  The only man with over 250 wickets to have scored 6,000 runs. The next man, Kapil Dev, had managed only 5,248.

-  The only man with over a hundred wickets to have taken over 125 catches, which is what Shane Warne, the next man, has managed.

 

 

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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