Jacques Kallis’ temporary appointment by the English Cricket Board once again signals Cricket South Africa’s struggles to keep hold of our best coaches, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Kallis was confirmed as England’s batting consultant on Monday for their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka in January and while it is only a short-term appointment, it signals a worrying tendency of how easy it is for other cricketing countries to snatch up our coaches.
This just a year after the former Proteas batsman was part of Mark Boucher’s management team as a batting consultant for the Proteas test series against England.
For some ridiculous reason, his credentials as a coach or consultant was questioned by some South Africans following the Proteas 3-1 series defeat with many suggesting Kallis got involved because of his friendship with Boucher and CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith.
The big difference is that Kallis will now be worshipped by the English cricket fraternity with many seasoned cricket journalists already echoing the brilliance of his recruitment.
Veteran cricket writer for the Telegraph, Scyld Berry, wrote on Monday afternoon: ‘In Kallis, England could have no better model in the nets to demonstrate how an orthodox shot should be played. If a modern master of batting technique is what you seek, then look no further than Jacques Kallis,’ emphasising the ECB’s intent to be at their best in preparation for their tour of India after they travel to Sri Lanka.
It will also not be a surprise if Kallis extends his stay with the England team to tackle Virat Kohli’s men in their own backyard.
The problem is why would Kallis, who has a nine-month old baby back home in Cape Town, rather work with an overseas team, instead of being involved with the Proteas during their summer season in South Africa?
It also means the Proteas will now head into the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka without a batting coach.
Kallis will be highly influential within that English setup and will receive full backing and support from the ECB to make a good team even better.
It remains a constant challenge for CSA to keep all the best former players in South Africa in some sort of coaching or management capacity, especially when other countries come knocking with lucrative offers, but Kallis isn’t like any other former player.
His legendary status should see him part of the Proteas setup on a permanent basis no matter what it takes for CSA to convince him.
We can’t afford to follow the same outcome with candidates like Kallis as was the case with Gary Kirsten when he won the World Cup with India in 2011 before eventually being approached by CSA.
The Proteas are currently busy with a long-term rebuilding phase which will require a lot of patience and specialist work where Kallis would’ve been able to make a significant difference in the development of both batsmen and bowlers.