Boucher: Losing Kallis to England 'a bitter pill to swallow', but he remains on Proteas radar

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Jacques Kallis was most recently employed as a batting consultant to the Proteas during the 2019/20 season.
Jacques Kallis was most recently employed as a batting consultant to the Proteas during the 2019/20 season.
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • Proteas head coach Mark Boucher says losing Jacques Kallis to England is a "bitter pill to swallow".
  • Kallis has joined England as a batting consultant for their tour to Sri Lanka.
  • Boucher is hopeful, however, that he will be able to lure his former team-mate back into the Proteas set-up.

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher is optimistic that Jacques Kallis will not be lost to South African cricket and that he will be back in the national set-up in a consultancy role "soon". 

Kallis, the third-highest run-scorer in Test cricket history, operated as a batting consultant to the Proteas during their series against England last summer. 

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) leadership at the time, however, then made a commitment to no longer appoint white coaching consultants in an effort to accelerate the rate of transformation at the highest level. 

It was a decision that made media waves, but one that Boucher hinted on Thursday ultimately meant that Kallis could no longer work in the national set-up.

With a new interim board now looking to clean up South African cricket after CSA's administrative woes last year saw sports minister Nathi Mthethwa intervene in the running of the game, Boucher is now under the impression that white consultants can be appointed in a Proteas capacity once more. 

Kallis, however, has joined the English national side as a batting consultant for their ongoing tour of Sri Lanka while the Proteas are set to leave for Pakistan on Friday for their first tour of that country in 14 years. 

In 2007, the last time South Africa toured Pakistan, Kallis was immense as he scored three centuries and a half-century in four innings to help guide the tourists to an impressive 1-0 Test series win. 

Addressing media on Thursday, Boucher acknowledged that losing Kallis to England was a "bitter pill to swallow", but that he would keep trying to secure his services moving forward.

Boucher acknowledged that the entire process was something that he did not have control over. 

"Jacques has been working with guys on an individual basis and, unfortunately, my hands are tied behind my back sometimes," he explained.

"You get messages passed down to say that this guy can't be selected to fill a role that you maybe want him involved in.

"A lot of the media have been saying that Jacques is my mate and that it's maybe a 'buddy' selection. Yes, he is a mate of mine, but Jacques is also a very good cricketer that can add a lot of knowledge as well.

"Why wouldn't we want him in our set-up?

"For that reason it is a bitter pill to swallow, but it's now been well documented in the press that the rules have been changed a bit so he is certainly someone we would like to get back into a consultancy role."

READ | Jacques Kallis 'sad I can't help in SA' but 'thoroughly enjoying England set-up'

After their tour of Pakistan, the Proteas are due to host Australia for three Test matches over February and March, and Boucher suggested the possibility of Kallis returning to the fray even as soon as by then.

"I haven't had any major conversations with Jacques because he is in Sri Lanka now, but certainly in the next short period of time if we can get him involved somewhere soon, maybe against Australia, then we must," he said. 

"There are a lot of players who have spoken so highly of Jacques and the knowledge that he imparted onto them, albeit in a short period of time against England.

"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."

When pressed further on the current transformation targets for the national side - in terms of on-field and backroom staff selections - Boucher revealed that he had not had any official communication from any members of the CSA leadership. 

"I'm not going to speak on transformation. You can ask Max Jordaan about that. I've just picked up that we are allowed to have white consultants. I've picked it up from the media," he said. 

"I can't give you any more answers because nobody has spoken to me about anything. The only thing I've done is read the media reports about Judith (February, CSA interim board member), where she said that we are allowed white consultants again."

Boucher then elaborated on some of the work Kallis had done with the Proteas batters even after last summer's England series was completed. 

"He had a session with Temba Bavuma down in Cape Town and Temba speaks very highly of him," he said.

"There is a lot of knowledge that Jacques can pass on to, not only Temba, but all of our other batters as well. The guy has played over 150 Test matches for his country.

"The batting knowledge that he has got, along with a couple of other guys in this country, needs to be utilised.

"The start was there and then it was sort of taken away from the players.

"Hopefully, we can get him back and get that information to the players ... it can only do them the world of good speaking to a guy like that."

The first Test between South Africa and Pakistan gets underway on 26 January in Karachi. 

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