Jacques Kallis was left out of South Africa’s squad for the Champions Trophy on Thursday after making himself unavailable for personal reasons,and for the first time in years the veteran all-rounder won’t play at a major one-day tournament for his country.
Head selector Andrew Hudson said South Africa’s management respected Kallis’ wish to be left out of the 15-man group for what are so far undisclosed reasons.
“That was Jacques’ request (to be left out) and we were respectful of that,” Hudson said,adding that it did not mean the 37-year-old Kallis’ one-day career was over. ”He was and he is a great cricketer for South Africa,but I think it’s a little too early to speculate (on his future). But we respect his decision for personal reasons. I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll learn more.”
Batsmen JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis were included after they recovered from injuries to make the squad and AB de Villiers was retained as captain. Former skipper and opening batsman Graeme Smith also was picked,while left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso claimed a surprise place for the tournament in England and Wales next month.
However,much of the focus will now be on the absence of Kallis and what it means for the future of arguably South Africa’s greatest ever cricketer and one of the world’s best allrounders.
Kallis made his one-day debut in 1996 and has been a constant force for South Africa at major ODI tournaments since. He recently sat out bilateral one-day series to save himself for major tournaments and prolong his career through to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,when he will be nearly 40.
Thursday’s decision to make himself unavailable might have been based on his desire to play at the next World Cup,but he was still expected to be included for the Champions Trophy and his absence came as a surprise.
Kallis was the Proteas’ best player when they won the 1998 Champions Trophy,which is still South Africa’s only major ODI success after the country’s run of constantly underperforming at limited-overs tournaments and earning the unwanted tag of “chokers” at big events.
In Kallis’ absence,batsman David Miller earned a place in the squad and Ryan McLaren,Rory Kleinveldt and spinners Robin Peterson and Duminy would provide options as allrounders.
Squad: AB de Villiers (captain),Hashim Amla,Farhaan Behardien,JP Duminy,Faf du Plessis,Colin Ingram,Rory Kleinveldt,Ryan McLaren,David Miller,Morne Morekel,Robin Peterson,Aaron Phangiso,Graeme Smith,Dale Steyn,Lonwabo Tsotsobe.