Has door opened a little wider for a Jacques Kallis Proteas return?

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Jacques Kallis (Gallo)
Jacques Kallis (Gallo)
  • Marcus Trescothick's appointment as England batting coach could increase the possibility of Jacques Kallis returning to the Proteas. 
  • Proteas coach Mark Boucher is on record as saying he wants Kallis back in the set-up.
  • Kallis most recently operated as a batting consultant for England, but is available again. 

Ahead of the Proteas' departure to Pakistan back in January, head coach Mark Boucher said that he would be looking to get Jacques Kallis involved in the national set-up as soon as he could.

Kallis, who had been unveiled as a batting consultant for the Proteas back in December 2019 for a home series against England when Boucher first took charge, was not around for long. 

As Cricket South Africa (CSA) was crumbling administratively in 2020, Kallis, never a full-time employee, was simply not an option for Boucher and, in discussing Kallis back in January, the coach said: "my hands are tied behind my back sometimes". 

Boucher added that it was a "bitter pill to swallow" to see South Africa's all-time leading run scorer then join rivals England in a consultancy capacity for their tour of Sri Lanka in January. 

South Africa, meanwhile, left for their two-Test tour of Pakistan without any specialist batting coach or consultant. 

With an interim board operating and the previous CSA administration sidelined, however, Boucher was hopeful that he could lure Kallis back before a three-Test home series against Australia that was due to start in late February. 

That series has now been controversially cancelled thanks to Australia's fears over coronavirus risks in South Africa, and the Proteas are next in action when they host Pakistan in three ODIs and four T20s in April. 

Kallis has not been involved in England's ongoing tour to India - Jonathan Trott has been the batting consultant for that series - and the appointment of Marcus Trescothick as England's full-time batting coach on Monday will be music to Boucher's ears. 

Any chance that there was of Kallis working closely with the English again appears to have been extinguished for now, and that could open the door a little wider for a possible Proteas return.  

Kallis may have limited coaching experience at international level, but the players who worked with him in the South African set-up in 2019/20 spoke very highly of him and his methods. 

England, too, were complimentary as they secured a 2-0 Test series win in Sri Lanka thanks largely to the incredible batting form of skipper Joe Root. 

The focus in South Africa for the remainder of 2021, however, will be on white ball cricket as Boucher looks to prepare his charges for the T20 World Cup in India in October. 

It is not yet clear when the Proteas will play Test cricket again, but listening to Boucher's words in January, it is hard to see that getting in the way of his efforts to land Kallis. 

"Why wouldn't we want him in our set-up?" Boucher posed at the time.

"He is on my radar in trying to get him back involved in the Proteas and I just hope that we treat him with care as well. He has shown that he has a lot of other opportunities in world cricket at the moment, so we would be stupid not to try and hang onto him.

"I know that Jacques would love to be working in South African cricket and I'm sure that after the conversations we have, we will hopefully see him back here."

If those words are anything to go by, then the wheels might already be in motion. 

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