Q&A: Jacques Kallis

2008-06-20 14:23

Jacqui Lund

SA Sport: What are your personal goals for Test series against England?

Jacques Kallis: I've never been one for setting too many goals like a certain amount of runs or a certain amount of wickets. I've always been one that sets a goal of playing a situation or a game correctly and obviously contributing in a big way with both bat and ball. We've got three major tours this year, Australia, England and India (which we've just finished) and England is great preparation for us for what is, at the end of the day, our ultimate goal, beating Australia. If we can perform well in England and beat them there, which we haven't done yet in a series, it will certainly give us a lot of confidence going through to Australia.

England are always tough to face at home, what is going to be the key for South African success?

We've sort of had it in the bag for the last two tours that we've been there, and let it slip on the last Test. We know we can perform well in England. We've just got to make sure we fire on all cylinders right up until the last Test. Perhaps England aren't as strong as they were when they won the Ashes. They've got a few new guys, a little bit more inexperience there than 2005. We feel that our Test side has been playing pretty good cricket and we go in confident of beating England in England. But you know, on the other hand, if you look at England's results over the years, they're a tough side to beat in their own country.

They've certainly got the supporters behind them...

Yes definitely. Their support base is unbelievable. Even at county games they get good crowds to come and watch. They've got a great culture of support behind them and obviously that boosts them when they're playing at home. It makes them a tough side to beat on home soil.

We have some variety these days and it's exciting to see two SA spinners. What difference do Paul Harris and Johan Botha make?

We've been crying out for good spinners for a while now. It's nice to see, especially a guy like Paul Harris coming onto the scene and doing well as quickly as he has. He's a cricketer that you can rely on. You know what you're going to get from him, he's going to produce the goods day in and day out, which obviously takes a lot of pressure off the seam bowlers and gives us an opportunity to have a break. He's been an unbelievable find for us. And obviously Johan Botha has done well for us in the ODI games. We'll be looking to build on their success.

What do you enjoy about touring the UK?

England's a great tour. The nicest thing about England is you don't have to get on planes and deal with airports. You just sit on a bus when you're travelling. From that point of view, it's fantastic. But also, it's not far from what we're used to in terms of culture. You can get out when you're not playing cricket, go out to a restaurant, and have a meal or a drink. So you can actually entertain yourself. And there are some pretty nice golf courses there. The guys always look forward to it.

What are your favourite English grounds?

Lord's is always a special occasion, with it being the home of cricket. It's always a fantastic ground to play at. But most of the grounds around England have a nice atmosphere and are enjoyable to play at. Outfields are good and the wickets are pretty good. Lord's definitely stands out because of the history of the ground, though.

What are our current strengths, what might swing the series our way?

Without a doubt, our bowling. It's actually now as good as it's been for a while. I think we've got the ability to take 20 wickets now. We're still a bit light in the batting line-up, but certainly I think our bowlers are going to be our strength. You know, if you can have a couple of senior players that have a good series with the bat and ball, I see no reason why we can't come away from there being successful.

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