Sunday, 19 August 2012


Unhappy Jacques
Fantasy Bob has never really warmed to Jacques Kallis.  He recognises his status as a great player, but he finds something cold about him.  But even FB had a small measure of sympathy for Kallis as he left the crease at Lords yesterday in a foul mood having unsuccessfully referred his LBW dismissal.  Kallis was convinced that he got an inside edge on the ball before it hit his pad.  The technology said not - but suggested that he clipped his pad with his bat instead.  Out and off he went with steam coming out of his ears.

Kallis had more cause for steam in the first innings when he was again given out following review after the third umpire said that the ball hit his glove on the way to Prior.  Pictures suggested that his hand was off the bat handle at the time.  (FB makes no comment to the effect that Kallis would not have felt the ball strike his glove by contrast to feeling the inside edge.  Highly trained top class cricketers have these extraordinary perceptions.   They always feel the inside edge prior to an LBW shout, but never feel the outside edge prior to the caught behind.  Or perhaps it is the bats.)

Kallis' disappointment was real though but not really what draws FB's small measure of sympathy.  for as a long serving pro, Kallis will have got the rub of as many decisions as have gone against him.  It is only FB who is on the wrong end of every decision, batting and bowling.  FB's sympathy is for the fact that Kallis will not have his name on the honours board.  Nor will FB, much as he would like to - so FB feels for a fellow sufferer.

He looked well set in the second innings and about to overturn the unfortunate statistic that prior to that innings his average at Lords was a mere 5.75.  Even FB has a higher average than that at most grounds, and he is far from being one of the greats.  Kallis' second innings 31 meant that he very nearly doubled his average at Lords - it is now 10.80.  Still on the low side, but exactly the same as West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan, 0.2 above former Australian skipper Bobby Simpson and only 0.8 behind Javed Miandad who are alongside him in a large group of high quality batsmen who have never cut it on cricket's most famous stage.  Nor is it only overseas players who have struggled here.  Mark Ramprakash played 13 Test innings at Lords and averaged only 10 - and as a Middlesex player he was as familiar with the slope as any player could be.  Kallis was also on the Middlesex staff at one time.  So local knowledge may not be too much of a help.

Other players find it a happier hunting ground. Both KP (the batsman who must not be named) and Ian Bell average well over 60 at Lords, but leading the averages by a mile is Steve Waugh whose 5 innings come at an average of 115.50. But overall top visiting run getter at Lords is Gary Sobers with 571 runs in 9 innings.

Bairstow - so near
So Kallis has a lot to be disappointed about at Lords. he may well be disappointed that he was never in the position of Johnny Bairstow, out in the 90s with a place on the honours board in reach. Records tell that there are 44 occasions on which a batsman has fallen in the 90s at this ground. some batsmen, including Alistair Cook have been stranded on more than once occasion. Cook has more than compensated for these misfortunes. But what about Brendon McCullum?  The Kiwi has played two Tests at Lords and made it to the nineties both times. Even more frustrated must be 1920s hero Frank Woolley - in the same match against Austraila in 1921 he scored 95 and 93.

There's disappointment and disappointment.  With a career such as his behind him, Kallis has nothing to moan about.

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