As we say goodbye to one of the legends of the game it is quite astounding to see how big the void is that will have to be filled especially in the test team. As we all know Kallis does count for 2 players and up until his retirement would have made the team as either a batsman or as a bowler. His batting prowess is common knowledge as the 3rd highest run scorer of all time in test cricket but on the bowling side he is also the 29th highest wicket taker of all time and the 5 highest South African.
Only Pollock, Ntini, Steyn and Donald has taken more wickets for SA. If you would thus select an all time Proteas 11 Kallis would make it as only a bowler as part of a 5 seam attack. A spinner has not really shined in the South African team for many a year. There will be a school of thought that would say Tayfield should be the 5th bowler as the top spinner South Africa has produced in its history.
If you consider however the sheer volume of wickets taken (Tayfield 170, Kallis 293) as well as the success the Proteas has had with swing bowlers Kallis would have to crack the nod as no 5.
But the actual question is who are the players to fill the void in the test team. Up until now the Proteas have had the luxury of fielding 7 front line batsmen. Unfortunately that won’t longer be a possibility as a 4th seamer is required as a first change bowler.
The most likely candidate will be Kyle Abbott who is currently in great form in the Sunfoil Series. With Kallis leaving the no4 slot open that would mean everybody else just moves one slot down ie De Villiers at 4, Faf at 5 and Duminy at 6. Faf and De Villiers could possibly switch around as no 4 batsman and wicket keeper and vice- captain might be too much for AB at this stage.
Robin Peterson will then be the no 7 batsman and as close to a replacement all-rounder in the team that is currently available in the country. He definitely has the capabilities he just needs to up his concentration levels and also realize the added responsibility the new role will have. It might be a good opportunity for him to give Boucher a call who made the no 7 spot his for 12 years.
My test team thus:
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