Who will fill Jacques Kallis’ shoes?

2014-01-19 14:00

The race to replace Jacques Kallis has been narrowed down to two horses, but are they deserving candidates, asks Khanyiso Tshwaku.

This week’s selection meeting will determine who will fill Jacques Kallis’ shoes, with all-rounders Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell making all the right moves.

With a big Australian tour looming next month, former Proteas captain Kepler Wessels is of the view that a batsman, not a bowling all-rounder, should take Kallis’ place in the short term.

As captain, Wessels often erred on the side of caution, and explained that an extra batsman will be needed against a powerful Australian bowling attack.

“It will depend on the conditions at SuperSport Park, so for the first test, a specialist batsman will be needed. JP Duminy should be playing as the sole spinner with four pace bowlers and seven batsmen. The formula should change for the rest of the series,” said Wessels.

Not wanting to sound too reactionary, Wessels said the need for more batsmen was determined by the conditions to be expected at the Centurion ground, but looking ahead to the future, a bowling all-rounder is the way to go.

Parnell and McLaren were the names that came to Wessels’ mind, but he again said that where and when they play will be a big factor in their selection.

“As time goes on, an all-rounder will have to be phased in so as to maintain the balance that Kallis lent to the team but with such a high-profile series coming up, it will have to be a match-by-match process.”

Former Free State fast bowler Victor Mpitsang also agreed with the all-rounder option but he said AB de Villiers’ fitness will be a big determinant in terms of the team’s composition without Kallis.

He, too, opted for a safer batting option for the Australia series.

“AB’s gone for a hand operation, which throws the cat among the pigeons should he not be fit because that opens up many options in terms of replacements and playing four seamers. However, I still think they will go for an all-rounder in the long term,” said Mpitsang.

His former Knights team-mate McLaren tops the list in his estimation but he did not rule out Parnell’s stake.

Mpitsang added that it would be dangerous to rule out Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl’s claims, especially if under-pressure batsmen like JP Duminy and Alviro Petersen do not let the scoreboard do the talking.

“McLaren has been the go-to man, especially in the ODIs, but Parnell offers something very different in terms of being left-handed and being a swing bowler. It will depend on what they need at that moment,” said Mpitsang.

“You cannot look outside the squad but there are talks of Van Zyl coming in, but Elgar has been there and is accustomed to the team culture. He will have a lot to prove against Australia, especially after the torrid time he had on his test debut.”

Who will fill Jacques Kallis’ shoes?

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