Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Andrew Flintoff and Glenn McGrath… The list of great cricketers during the mid-late 1990’s and beyond is extensive and highly publicised. However, there is one man who has constantly been down-played in the cricketing world, not so much by his countrymen who appreciate his worth, but more so by the rest of the cricketing world, especially here in Australia.
That man is Jacques Kallis, the South African all-rounder who statistically, is better than all of the above. Not solely as a bowler, arguably solely as a batsman, but most definitely overall. What he brings to the South African side is incomparable to any other cricketer in the modern era. Since his International debut as a 20-year-old in 1995, Kallis has gone about his business with minimal fuss, avoiding the media spotlight and accumulating runs, wicket and catches at a rapid rate.
In the 50-over format, Kallis’ numbers are staggering over his 307 game career, as highlighted below;
Batting: 11002 runs @ 45.84
Fielding: 116 catches
Bowling: 259 wickets @ 31.90
From a batting perspective alone, his numbers are superior to more heralded superstars such as Tendulkar (45.12), Michael Clarke (44.01), Ponting (42.75), Kevin Pietersen (42.17) and Lara (40.48).
In addition to Kallis’ batting prowess, his superb fielding skills (usually in the slips cordon) and wicket-taking ability have combined made him far more crucial to the South African side than any other player in world cricket is to their own respective side.
When analysing Kallis’ Test Match career thus far, the numbers are even more astonishing. Over his 143 game career, Kallis’ record reads;
Batting: 11650 runs @ 56.82
Fielding: 162 catches
Bowling: 268 wickets @ 31.98
Similar to his ODI record, in addition to his fielding and bowling feats, Kallis has his modern-day rivals covered in the batting department, with Tendulkar (56.55), Virenda Sehwag (54.37), Ponting (53.85) and Lara (52.88) all averaging fewer runs per dismissal.
Since International cricket first commenced back in the 19th century, fans and critics alike have been left debating as to who exactly is the best cricketer of all time. The fundamental reason for such debate and conjecture is that there is no obvious formula or rating scale where a players overall value can be scored.
After consulting numerous cricket clubs around the world, of all different levels, one thing that all clubs have in common is that they award a club championship to the player who accumulates the highest amount of points over any given season. The points system is designed to numerically rank all players, regardless of the role they play within the team. The typical points system is as follows;
1 run = 1 point
1 dismissal = 5 points
1 wicket = 15 points
If this was to be applied to the world’s best current and recently retired cricketers, the results for Test Matches would be as follows (Qualification 25 Test Matches);
1. Jacques Kallis – 16480 points (115.24 per game)
2. Sakib Al Hasan – 2344 points (111.62 per game)
3. Muttiah Muralitharan – 13621 points (102.41 per game)
4. Shane Watson – 2541 points (101.65 per game)
5. Virenda Sehwag – 8460 points (100.71 per game)
6. Shane Warne – 14399 points (99.30 per game)
7. Brian Lara – 12773 points (97.50 per game)
8. Kumar Sangakkara – 9159 (97.44 per game)
9. Andrew Flintoff – 7495 points (94.87 per game)
10. Mitch Johnson – 3768 points (94.20 per game)
11. Daniel Vettori – 9423 (91.49 per game)
12. Sachin Tendulkar – 15615 points (89.23 per game)
The results for ODI’s is below (Qualification 100 ODI’s);
1. Jacques Kallis – 15467 points (50.38 per game)
2. Chris Gayle – 10700 points (48.64 per game)
3. Sakib Al Hasan – 4909 points (48.13 per game)
4. Sachin Tendulkar – 20578 points (46.56 per game)
5. Andrew Flintoff – 6164 points (43.72 per game)
6. Shane Watson – 5032 points (43.01 per game)
7. Sanath Jayasuria – 18873 points (42.51 per game)
8. Adam Gilchrist – 11979 points (41.74 per game)
9. A.B. De Villiers – 4456 points (40.88 per game)
10. Virenda Sehwag – 9180 points (40.26 per game)
When used in a historical sense, the players who have the highest all-time overall value in Test Matches are;
1. Sir Donald Bradman – 7186 points (138.19 per game)
2. Sir Garfield Sobers – 12101 points (130.13 per game)
3. Jacques Kallis
4. Sir Richard Hadlee – 9784 points (113.77 per game)
5. Sir Ian Botham – 11545 (113.19 per game)
6. Sakib Al Hasan
Given these results, which sees the top four cricketers of all-time appear in the top five spots, the ranking system is proven to be highly accurate.
With this in mind, just one question remains… When will Kallis be knighted?