Kirsten looks at life after Kallis

2013-05-25 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Outgoing Proteas coach Gary Kirsten believes the time has come for South Africa to widen their player base because veteran Jacques Kallis won’t always be there.

Kallis (37) opted out of representing the Proteas in next month’s ICC Champions Trophy due to personal reasons, but indicated that he still wants to play in the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

And Kirsten, who will step down as coach after the tournament in England and Wales, said Kallis’s absence would be enormous.

“He could make any Test team in the world just as a bowler. And then we should not forget, he is probably the best batsman the world has produced,” Kirsten said.

“He is two players in one. It’s unbelievable what he does to the balance of the team. It’s in many aspects similar to AB de Villiers. Why do we want him as wicketkeeper?

“He’s also two players in one, because he’s also one of the top batsmen in the world.”

Kirsten said the focus for South Africa should be to look for players with similar versatility in future.

“If we can produce versatile players, it gives us the option to also pick more specialists. That gives us unbelievable balance. Without Kallis [for the Champions Trophy] we had to pick two players for that one position,” added Kirsten.

“We had to pick a top order batsman and an extra bowler, and this influences our combinations dramatically.

“However, we need to move on, because Kallis is near his end. The sooner we widen our [player] base, the better.

The Proteas take on the Netherlands in a warm-up match in Amstelveen on May 31, before also facing Pakistan at London’s Oval on June 3.

They start their Champions Trophy campaign against India in Cardiff on June 6.

Their other group stage opponents are Pakistan (June 10, Birmingham) and West Indies (June 14, Cardiff).

Proteas squad for the

ICC Champions Trophy

AB de Villiers (Titans, captain), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Colin Ingram (Warriors), Rory Kleinveldt (Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Knights), David Miller (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Alviro Petersen (Highveld Lions), Robbie Peterson (Cape Cobras), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Highveld Lions)

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