South Africa can get rid of 'chokers' tag without Kallis

CAPE TOWN Thu May 2, 2013 8:07pm IST

South Africa's captain Jacques Kallis watches teammates during a cricket practice session in Ahmedabad February 26, 2010. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/Files

South Africa's captain Jacques Kallis watches teammates during a cricket practice session in Ahmedabad February 26, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Punit Paranjpe/Files

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Jacques Kallis's withdrawal from South Africa's squad for the Champions Trophy has been described as a major blow but it also gives the team the chance to move forward free of past baggage.

The veteran all-rounder will miss June's tournament in England for undisclosed personal reasons.

Coach Gary Kirsten said South Africa were losing a major asset, describing Kallis as two players in one, but it also means youthful squad can look forward to the one-day tournament without any bitter reminders of past failures.

Kallis was a senior player as South Africa under-performed in a succession of one-day tournaments to earn the team a reputation as 'chokers' in limited-overs competition.

The 37-year-old is the last of the players associated with the bitter disappointments at the last four World Cups in which South Africa have contrived to throw away advantageous situations and crash out of the tournament, sometimes in farcical circumstances.

The Champions Trophy allows a fresh start although the past failures still rankle, particularly as they are continually compared with South Africa's status as the top test-playing nation.

"At some point, we have to cross over that line but you guys could do us a favour and take the pressure off by not talking so much about it," Kirsten told reporters at the team announcement.

South Africa have worked hard at overhauling their one-day side since a surprise loss to New Zealand in the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals.

AB de Villiers has been appointed captain and many players given international exposure to broaden the selection base.

Kallis has not played an ODI in more than a year but was expected to return after participating in the Indian Premier League.

"He's been a great ambassador for the country but if he feels he's not up to the tournament then we have to respect that," added Kirsten.

Kallis was the subject of frequent derision in South Africa throughout his 321-game one-day international career, perceived by a critical public of playing at his own pace more than in the interests of the team.

It has only been in recent years that the value of his record-breaking contribution was more widely appreciated and he has earned grudging respect.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Remembering Ayrton Senna

Handwritten notes and flags left by fans are pictured near the memorial statue of Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna at the race track in Imola April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofal

Senna's simple grave a magnet for fans 20 years on

Ayrton Senna is as discreet in death as he was lively in life. The last resting place of Brazil's most charismatic Formula One champion is marked by a brass plaque on a circular lawn, surrounded by almost identical plaques laid into the ground.There is no headstone and just a handful of flowers in plastic pots.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Serie A

Serie A

Roma running out of games in pursuit of relentless Juve.  Full Article 

China Open

China Open

Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros.  Full Article 

La Liga

La Liga

No rest for weary Atletico as Valencia trip looms.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage