Kallis won’t be dropped, says Arthur

Johannesburg, February 24: Mickey Arthur, the South African coach, has said Jacques Kallis isn’t in danger of being dropped for the first Test against Australia in Johannesburg to make way for Ashwell Prince.

Arthur said Kallis had performed well enough on the tour of Australia to retain his place despite a difficult period with the bat last year by his standards.

The competition for places in the batting line-up has increased following the emergence of JP Duminy who was brought in as a replacement for the injured Prince. Duminy made significant contributions in South Africa’s back-to-back Test wins in Australia and Prince has been unable to win back his place ever since.

Kallis averaged just 14.85 in the four-Test series in England but he fared much better in Australia, averaging 37.40, scoring two-half-centuries in the Perth Test which South Africa won after chasing down 414.

“He (Kallis) had some very good starts in Australia, and in fact, in Perth, he gave us the impetus on the first afternoon, when he got stuck into [Jason] Krezja,” Arthur said. “That gave us the belief that we could succeed.

“Jacques is showing signs of coming into some very good form at the moment, and he also does so much for us with the ball. He is too good a player not to make a big score soon, and I think he will score big in this series. I can’t wait for him to get the 12 runs he needs for 10,000 Test runs out of the way. Hopefully, he’ll get them off the first three balls.

“Jacques is a very important component of our batting line-up and there has been absolutely no discussion about him making way for Ashwell.”

Arthur said his players would not take the Australians lightly despite the Test and ODI victories in Australia.

“We have too much respect for the game and too much respect for Australia to be complacent,” Arthur said. “Australia still have some very good players, and they will be delighted to have an opportunity to set the record straight right away. Usually, there would be quite a long period before they could try to beat us again.

“There are some young players who are trying to establish themselves and I think they will all be revved up ahead of the first Test. We are really going to have to be at the top of our game if we are going to beat them.”