During a poll conducted by Star Sports during the World Test Championship Final, South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis was chosen as the greatest all-rounder in Test cricket since the turn of the millennium.
Jacques Kallis was a phenomenal cricketer who defined the all-rounder role better than anyone else in his generation. He had amassed 13,289 runs in red-ball cricket at a stunning average of 55.37 and also picked up 292 wickets with the ball. Kallis had set the bar for all-rounders very high with his fantastic and consistent performances.
Speaking exclusively to Star Sports, former Indian batsman VVS Laxman lauded Jacques Kallis as the greatest all-rounder in the 21st century.
Explaining his reason, Laxman said, “It’s a very simple take here because he (Jacques Kallis) is just a fabulous player. He was a contender in the greatest of all time (GOAT) batsman category and then, when you see, in the bowling category, he has more than 200 wickets and then in the slips, like Shane mentioned, to take so many catches and so many match & series-winning performances.”
Laxman further explained how he had heard stories about Gary Sobers from Sunil Gavaskar and concluded that Kallis was the Gary Sobers of his generation.
“I have heard so many stories from Sunny Bhai (Sunil Gavaskar) and all those great players about Gary Sobers. So, in my generation the players who I’ve played against or who I saw – I think he (Jacques Kallis) is equal to Gary Sobers. He is just a phenomenal cricketer.”
Focusing on the World Test Championship Final, which India lost in a heart-breaking manner to New Zealand, the former batsman pointed out what proved to be the turning point of the final day for India. The dismissals of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara ended up being India’s undoing in the final in Southampton.
Both Kohli and Pujara were overnight batsmen and it was expected that they would deal with the first session of the day well and set India up with a commanding lead. However, Kyle Jamieson ran riot and managed to fetch the wickets of both batsmen. Jamieson picked up seven wickets across both the innings and was the Man of the Match in the final.
“The Indian batsmen, keeping in mind their experience and the talent they possess, would be extremely disappointed with the way they got out. I believe this was the turning point of the final day’s play. Jamieson set up Kohli and Pujara so beautifully and after that it was difficult for India to pull back things,” Laxman said on Star Sports