King Kallis – the greatest all rounder in world cricket

December 30, 2013
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(This article was first published on Enterprise Software Doesn't Have to Suck, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

A hero’s farewell

Jacques Kallis is retiring today (Dec 30, 2013) from Test cricket at the age of 38. He will continue to play One Day International and T20 cricket.

Hats off to a magnificent all rounder and a wonderful athlete. The way he carried himself on and off the cricket field is remarkable.

Kallis is a true champion and a great role model for future generations. Thank you Kallis for inspiring us for two decades. Today, as I watch South Africa beat India in the Durban test, I cannot think of a better send-off for Kallis.

1. South Africa beat India convincingly
2. Kallis scored a century in this test
3. He completed 200 catches in test cricket in this game

As I watch him retire, I did some analysis to compare Kallis with other greats in cricket. I’ve shared it in this post. This analysis was done using R, Shiny and Ruby.


Best all rounders in Test cricket history

Over the years, Kallis gave his team a critical advantage and a wonderful balance as an allrounder. South Africa could pick an extra batsman or a bowler depending on the opposition and the conditions.

Kallis and Sobers stand out in all round performance in Test cricket history


In Test cricket, Kallis = Rahul Dravid + Zaheer Khan

Kallis has performed as well as a successful specialist Indian batsman and a successful specialist Indian bowler combined in Test cricket.

Jacques Kallis = Rahul Dravid + Zaheer Khan
Test cricket batting Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Jacques Kallis 165 279 40 13174 224 55.12 28587 46.08 44 58 1475 97 200 0
Rahul Dravid 164 286 32 13288 270 52.31 31258 42.52 36 63 1654 21 210 0

Kallis = Dravid in Test Cricket (Batting)

Test cricket bowling Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Jacques Kallis 165 271 20166 9499 292 6/54 9/92 32.53 2.82 69.0 7 5 0
Zaheer Khan 89 160 17975 9768 300 7/87 10/149 32.56 3.26 59.9 15 10 1

Kallis ~ Zaheer Khan in Test Cricket (Bowling)


In One Day International cricket, Kallis = Sourav Ganguly + Abdul Razzaq

Kallis has performed as well as a successful specialist Indian batsman and a successful specialist Pakistani bowler combined in One Day cricket.

Jacques Kallis = Sourav Ganguly + Abdul Razzaq

ODI cricket batting Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Jacques Kallis 325 311 53 11574 139 44.86 15866 72.94 17 86 911 137 129 0
Sourav Ganguly 311 300 23 11363 183 41.02 15416 73.70 22 72 1122 190 100 0

Kallis = Sourav Ganguly in One Day Cricket (Batting)

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Jacques Kallis 325 283 10750 8680 273 5/30 5/30 31.79 4.84 39.3 2 2 0
Abdul Razzaq 265 254 10941 8564 269 6/35 6/35 31.83 4.69 40.6 8 3 0
Kallis = Abdul Razzaq in One Day Cricket (Bowling)

So who is the best all rounder? Kallis or Sobers?



ESPN’s analysis of Kallis and Sobers

Is it Kallis or Gary Sobers? I won’t get into the religious debate of declaring him as the best all rounder in test cricket history. Sobers and Kallis are both great all rounders – prolific run scorers and threat to the opposing batsmen.

I’ve had the privilege of watching Kallis in my lifetime and he is a great athlete – a batsman and a great bowler rolled into one. His performance in both Test and One Day cricket has been stellar. He’s clearly the best all rounder in One Day cricket, and gives Sobers tough competition in Test.


Kallis is the best all rounder in One Day cricket history

Kallis batting performance in One Day cricket




Hope South Africa and international cricket find someone of Kallis’ stature.

Reference: espncricinfo.com (some images and player statistics)

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