Refreshed Kallis ready for Pak in Gulf series
South Africa's premier batsman Jacques Kallis said he felt refreshed after a three-month break from cricket and was raring to go in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Kallis, who returned to domestic matches after his break, played the last of his 162 Tests against Pakistan in February this year and has not featured in a limited over international since early 2012.
“After 17-18 years I needed a good three months away so it’s been a pleasurable period where I could refresh my mind and get a little niggle sorted out,” Kallis said yesterday.
The 37-year-old, who hit a confident 70 in the drawn side game ahead of the two-Test series, said he was feeling good. “I am hitting the ball as well as I have ever hit and probably playing the best cricket of my life.
From that point of view, it’s been two weeks of good work,” said Kallis, who hit successive hundreds against Pakistan in the drawn two-match series here three years ago. Kallis said he was confident the South African batsmen would handle Pakistan’s spinners, led by the prolific bowler Saeed Ajmal, well.
“As a team we probably play spin as well as anybody. Our record shows that. Our players have got some good game plans against it and we’ve scored some big runs and got some good results in the subcontinent,” said Kallis, who has 1552 runs in 17 Tests, with six hundreds against Pakistan.
South Africa have not lost an away series since being beaten in Sri Lanka 2-0 in 2006 and they have only lost one series against Pakistan, 10 years ago.
Kallis played down a potential threat from off-spinner Ajmal, who took 24 wickets when Pakistan routed England 3-0 here last year. “He is still a good bowler anywhere around the world but in his own conditions he’ll be a bit more of a handful here.