Jacques Kallis has been part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from the first ball. That he is also one of the game’s greatest all-rounders, has won the IPL as player (2012) and been a head coach for five seasons means that Kallis has seen the IPL change even as he himself changed roles and teams.
Head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) since 2015, Kallis spoke on this and more in this interview.
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Q: How has IPL changed since you started as a player with Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008?
A: It has got a lot more professional. Started off as a baby which no one knew how it was going to grow and it has inspired so many tournaments around the world. I think it has been a blessing for world cricket; it has allowed Indian players to develop and the overseas players have come and develop as well.
Q: How different is T20 cricket now from when the IPL started?
A: The game has changed completely now. The batters’ skills these days are unbelievable and it has taken batting to a new level. So, from a batting point of view I think it has been magnificent but maybe the bowlers don’t think it is much fun. T20 has also moved the game to a new crowd, people who probably wouldn’t have watched too much cricket in their time.
Q: So would cricket’s next challenge be getting this new audience to Test cricket?
A: Definitely. Test cricket is and always will be the most important and the players are quite willing to drive it. We have got to keep Test cricket alive even if we use T20 cricket to do it.
Q: Did you ever think cricket would see the kind of hitting Andre Russell produces at the death when the ball gets softer?
A: In this format, I think there is always going to be the opportunity for those types of guys that come into the game and specialise. Maybe the way forward is a bowler who comes into the game and all he does is death bowling, bowl yorkers.
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What you need to remember is that in 50-overs cricket when we played, the ball was 50 overs old and that much softer. Here the ball is only 20 overs old when you try to hit it out of the ground and that does make a massive difference. You need to take all that into consideration when you decide where you want to position yourself in world cricket: whether you want to be a Test, one-day or T20 player.
Q: Can you not be all three?
Definitely. But you also have to change your technique quite a lot now. I think batting technique in T20 cricket is completely different to few years back; the way guys go about hitting it, the way you coach it. So, you will now find that batters have one or two techniques in order to play Tests or T20. Shubman Gill can play all three formats, technically he is very sound. I think he will do magnificently well in Test cricket.
Q: Should the IPL have the kind of pitch you got in Chennai?
A: The wicket in Chennai was a little slow and spun. It wasn’t our best batting display but I don’t think it was a 110 wicket. If we had got 140, I think we would have been in the game. I don’t think you should always get a 200-type of wicket. I have always said a wicket where you can get around 160 is a fair wicket. It gives the bowlers an opportunity; you need to keep them interested. But it is good to come across wickets like that (the one in Chennai) now and again. The bowlers relish the opportunity and the batters too when they get back to playing on flatter wickets.
Q: How has Dinesh Karthik evolved as a captain?
A: He has certainly taken to the KKR family with open arms. He is an experienced cricketer, one of the better finishers around. He doesn’t panic, he knows how to control the innings, he can hit the ball and is technically good and so I am glad he is in our dressing room. We have been consistent over the years and we have stayed consistent with him at the helm so the guys have obviously taken to him. We hope he can bring a cup this time.
Apr 11, 2019 20:51 IST
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