Kolkata: Who is the greatest Test allrounder of the 21st century? Jacques Kallis, the South African powerhouse, was virtually an unanimous choice in the last of a series of polls conducted by Star Sports, broadcasters of World Test Championship final.
The pick was announced at the lunch break on the final day of the Southampton Test between India and New Zealand where Kallis appeared streets ahead of the three other nominees - second-placed Ben Stokes of England, India’s Ravi Ashwin (third) and Andrew Flintoff of England in fourth position. The jury comprised of more than 50 members comprising ex-cricketers, TV pundits and fans.
Kallis, who was a pivotal character of the South African team which ruled Test cricket in the early part of the new millennium, scored more than 11,000 Test runs including 40 centuries - apart from taking 300-plus Test wickets.
Explaining the rationale behind selection of Kallis, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar said the ‘‘phenomenal consistency’’ of the cricketer makes him an automatic choice. The endorsement from the Little Master is extremely significant as he had played alongside four of the greatest allrounders - Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee.
V.V.S. Laxman, a member of India’s ‘Fab Four’ line-up, who has played a lot of his cricket with Kallis called an unbelievable player. ‘‘I haven’t seen the likes of Sir Garfield Sobers but the choice of Kallis is a simple one for me,’’ he said. Shane Bond, the former new Zealand fast bowler and a TV pundit at the Test, was also in awe of the allrounder.
Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralitharan were earlier chosen as the greatest Test batsman and bowler of the new millennium, respectively, while Steve Waugh was named as the best captain.