Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis will play for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League for the next two seasons.
In a move the Australians are calling ‘one of the biggest coups of the year’, Kallis’ signature has been secured for the Australian T20 series for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 editions.
The 38-year-old Kallis retired from Tests at the end of 2013 and has also retired from T20Is, and will not have any international commitments until the Proteas’ ODI series against West Indies starts on 16 January 2015.
Sydney Thunder General Manager Nick Cummins said in a press release that he was delighted to have signed a player of Kallis’ ability. ‘This is phenomenal news for Thunder fans. He is one of the greatest cricketers to have ever played the game and apart from his experience and leadership, he is still a brilliant all-rounder who will give the side a quality top-order batsman and versatile bowling option.
‘Just having a player of his stature around the group will be great for our young players and he will bring big match temperament and a winning attitude to our squad.’
Kallis also mentioned his excitement at signing for Sydney, saying it would be a great opportunity to play with some old opponents: ‘I will be playing against a few guys who I have played against most of my career, guys like Huss [Michael Hussey], now I am looking forward to playing with these guys’.
Also in the Thunder team are England’s Eoin Morgan and Chris Woakes, Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis and Australian captain Michael Clarke.
Kallis’ presence in Australia should be welcomed by the Proteas camp, as it will allow him to stay match-fit during a period where he would otherwise not have any game time.
However, if Kallis is required to stay on in Australia with the Thunder past that 16 January date (fixtures for the 2014-15 edition have not been finalised yet), it could be a cause for concern for the Proteas management, as they will want the South African stalwart to play as many ODIs for the country in the lead-up to next year’s ODI World Cup.