In a recent interview in London, former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh rated South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis as the greatest cricketer of all time.
Waugh was speaking to former South African test captain Ali Bacher and, on the subject of cricket greats, had no hesitation in naming Kallis.
“’Of all time?’ I asked him,” said Bacher, speaking from London today.
“Without any hesitation, Waugh said ‘yes’.”
Waugh told Bacher: “You only have to look at the runs he has scored, the wickets and the catches he has taken for South Africa.”
Kallis has scored 13 045 runs in 161 tests for his country, at an average of 55.98 and has taken 287 wickets and 190 catches.
His highest score of 224 was against Sri Lanka at Newlands, Cape Town, in January last year.
The 37-year-old is fourth on the all-time list of most test runs scored, behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar with 15 837 from 198 matches, Australia’s recently retired Ricky Ponting (13 378 from 168) and also retired Rahul Dravid of India (13 288 from 164).
Bacher was in London to interview Waugh, at Lord’s, and former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick, at Twickenham, as part of a series of interviews of all-time greats for local broadcaster SuperSport.
“Steve was speaking spontaneously and I feel it was a huge accolade for a cricketer who has been widely underrated.
“Generally speaking, our country has, sadly, never truly recognised the greatness of Jacques Kallis.”
Waugh and Fitzpatrick spoke openly with Bacher about their years in sport, both having reached the pinnacle of their respective codes.
No slouch with the bat, Waugh scored 10 927 test runs in 168 matches before his retirement in 2004, leaving him seventh on the all-time list.
Waugh led Australia in 15 of their world-record 16 consecutive test wins and to the 1999 World Cup title.
“I believe viewers in South Africa would be only too happy to hear what they both had to say,” Bacher said, “particularly about their rivalry with South Africa.”
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