Kaymo’s Korner: Kallis must show up or pack up

2013-05-12 10:00

While mulling over Jacques Kallis’ decision to sit out the ICC Champions Trophy, former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy came to mind.

Not for his deliciously silky skills, but more for how his international torch was snuffed out.

It was common knowledge that “Heals” had a horrible 1997/98 international season, which contributed to the demise of his ODI career, as an ascendant Adam Gilchrist began to shape up as an international game changer.

By the time he dropped Brian Lara in that pivotal third Test in Barbados in 1999, with the West Indies needing seven runs to win and Australia needing two wickets to tie up the Frank Worrell trophy, his time was up.

Healy planned to play his last test at his beloved Gabba in Brisbane, but convenor of selectors Trevor Hohns had none of that, unceremoniously dropping his former Queensland State team-mate.

Whether it was retribution for the catch or moving on with the times, Hohns and Healy were team-mates in the victorious 1989 Ashes tour, where Australia were branded the “worst touring team to leave Australia”.

There was no sentiment and nostalgia in that decision and just to ram it home, Gilly made an 88-ball 81 that took the game away from Pakistan.

From the ashes of Healy rose the Phoenix of Gilchrist. In South Africa’s case, we don’t have such a luxury.

This country has done its fair share of send-offs and career neck snappings. But ­ the case of senior players overstaying their welcome should not be ignored.

Kallis’ achievements are worthy of a national order and why Emperor Jake of Nkandla has yet to bestow one on him is mind-boggling.

But as big a loss as Kallis may be, his exit would leave an opening for a new era to be built from the foundation he laid.

By the time Healy was jettisoned, Australian cricket had moved on from also-rans to potential world-beaters.

Apart from Steve Waugh, he was the only link from the bad old days of the late 1980s.

The same rings true for Kallis, who, along with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Sachin Tendulkar, are the only active cricketers who played in the 1990s.

Chanderpaul now plays first-class cricket alongside his son Tagenarine.

As much as Kallis is a legend, and I can’t envisage Andrew Hudson and company not giving him a royal send-off, but whether for personal reasons or not, players can’t dictate the terms when wrapping up their careers.

I hope we don’t get to the point where young talent is held up by crocks who refuse to get out of the sunshine.

Kallismust make his international intentions clear so South African cricket can move on.

The game, like time and tide, waits for no one.

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