TELFORD VICE, Johannesburg
Jacques Kallis does not do vulnerability. He also does not do shopping malls. But there he was a few days ago in a photograph he posted on Twitter, covering his eyes amid the cacophony of capitalism that is Dubai Mall.
“I can’t look,” Kallis captioned his picture. “Somebody come save me.”
Above him as he stood in front of a prettily pink shop, a soaring sign gave a clue to what Kallis could not countenance: “Victoria’s Secret”.
According to Dave Rundle, Kallis’ agent, this is all the fault of the allrounder’s girlfriend and shopping companion, Kim Rivalland.
“He’s happy,” Rundle said yesterday. He also explained that Rivalland – a Pilates instructor – was partly responsible for the excellent conditioning Kallis is in for the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he is playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Kallis walked to the crease in Abu Dhabi on April 16 having last played on February 9. But there was no sign of ring rust as he clipped the Mumbai Indians’ attack for 72 off 46 balls and took an important catch in the deep that would have eluded many players younger than his 38 years.
Against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kallis was fifth out for 43 in the 16th over after his team had been reduced to 10/2 in eight balls before losing two more wickets in the 12th over.
Kallis bowled 13 out of a possible 16 overs in his first four games in the IPL. He went wicketless only once and never conceded more than 32 runs in four overs.
Above and beyond all that, Kallis has looked and played like a man who has found a way to steal time. Having played his last T20 for SA in 2012 and retired from test cricket on Christmas Day, it seems Kallis has given himself the gift of revitalisation.
Or, as Rundle said, “When you give up one form of the game you have time to concentrate on another form.”
The only format Proteas fans still consider in connection with Kallis is the 50-over game, with a particular focus on the 2015 World Cup.
“I don’t know what SA cricket is thinking, but Jacques is available for the World Cup,” Rundle said. “He’s never said he deserves a spot in the side, but he wants to play. If he doesn’t feel he can contribute he wouldn’t make himself available.”
But the here and now is the IPL. What does Kallis’ performance in the IPL mean for his chances of playing in the World Cup?
“I would never discount him,” Barry Richards said. “He would add so much if he stays fit and motivated.
“I don’t see why his name shouldn’t stay in the frame, but there are issues to sort out like who gets dropped for Jacques.”
SA are scheduled to play 15 or 16 one-day internationals before they open their World Cup campaign against Zimbabwe in Hamilton on February 15 next year.
Those games will be a better barometer of Kallis’ readiness than anything he does in the IPL. That means he will need to play most of them.
“If there’s nothing to judge him on, it makes it more difficult to select him,” Richards said. “Conversely, if he’s playing well and scoring runs it’s going to be hard to leave him out.”