Top Test batsmen: Renowned commentator snubs Kallis in his modern greats list

2012-01-31 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has delivered his verdict on the greatest modern Test batsman … while not giving South Africa’s Jacques Kallis the benefit of a single word of mention in his appraisal.

Chappell (68), widely regarded as an astute television and print commentator, but often considered in these parts to hand out South African cricket laurels sparingly or not at all, hands the accolade to retired West Indies legend Brian Lara in his latest ESPN Cricinfo column titled: “Who’s the pick of the modern greats?”

But he has narrowed the candidates down to just three: Lara, compatriot Ricky Ponting and Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar, describing the trio as “the three most dominant batsmen of the [modern] era”.

But Kallis, whose batting statistics glow with at least equal strength alongside those players, and boasts way superior bowling figures to any of them, is bypassed altogether, with Chappell not even taking the time to explain the Proteas star’s omission.

In reaching his pro-Lara verdict, Chappell says: “There’s no doubt Ponting has resurrected his career and provided himself with an opportunity to add to his glittering [career] record.

“He’ll never reach the statistical peak of Tendulkar, but while the Little Master continues to stumble with the defining [100th Test and ODI] century in sight, often because of a mental aberration, Ponting impresses with the strength of his mind.

“Nevertheless, if you told me I could pick just one from that trio I’d take Lara.

“I loved the way he played spin bowling and I admired his determination to always do it ‘my way’.”

There is a school of thought that Chappell has harboured residual bitterness over being part of the Aussie side famously whitewashed 4-0 in South Africa in 1969/70.

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