Winning CWG gold medal right up there in all of my cricket memories: Jacques Kallis
South Africa cricketers after winning CWG gold medal (AFP Photo)

Legendary allrounder Jacques Kallis, in his column for the ICC, relives his CWG experience, expressing his happiness over the return of cricket at the quadrennial event.

It’s fantastic news that women’s T20 cricket could be returning to the Commonwealth Games, it’s been far too long.

When I look back on my career that chance to play for South Africa at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur is right up there – especially as we came home with a gold medal too.

I was only a youngster and I just remember being really excited to get the call-up.

Our team was captained by Shaun Pollock and included the likes of Makhaya Ntini, Mark Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs.

When you look back at the team now it was the core of players that took South Africa forward in the next few years.

Winning a gold gave us loads of confidence and South Africa won the ICC Champions Trophy in Bangladesh later that year too.

One of the great things about the Commonwealth Games is the chance to spend time with other sports and feeling part of a much bigger team.

I loved being in the athletes’ village and because our matches were really spread out we spent loads of time at other venues watching our team-mates in athletics, swimming and the like.

It was such a great learning experience to see how others approached their events and sports, how they trained and what they ate. It was really eye-opening for everyone in the team who only really knew cricket.

We won all our group games (against Barbados, Northern Ireland and Bangladesh) and came through a very close semi-final with Sri Lanka.

The final against Australia was magnificent and I’ve very fond memories of getting the gold medal. It certainly ranks right up there in all of my cricket memories.

Even back in 1998 there was talk about the event being a 20-over competition, so it’s finally come true it seems.

That format of T20 lends itself perfectly to an event like the Commonwealth Games, which is over in a couple of weeks. And cricket is so loved in the Commonwealth too.

It’s a great idea to get it back in the event and give the sport and the women’s players that exposure. I just hope cricket will now establish itself at the event.

© ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2018