SL v ENG 2021: Jacques Kallis enjoying assisting “arch-enemy’ England; says felt strange at first

Legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis on Thursday (January 14) revealed he felt “a little bit strange” initially that he is going to be assisting the “arch-enemy” when he was named England’s batting consultant for the ongoing two-Test series in Sri Lanka

Presently, Kallis is working under head coach Chris Silverwood and alongside assistant coach Paul Collingwood, wicket keeping consultant James Foster, fielding coach Carl Hopkinson, bowling coach Jon Lewis, and spin bowling consultant Jeetan Patel as England is touring Sri Lanka for a two-match Test series.

Kallis said in a conference call from Galle: “I suppose in the beginning it was a little bit strange because England was the arch-enemy when we played them but I suppose in the world we’re living now guys go and coach other teams and in the T20s around the world guys go and play with other teams.”

He further added, “It’s a good bunch of boys with a lot of youngsters who have bright futures ahead of them, so it’s nice I can perhaps help them achieve the goals and dreams they want to achieve.”

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On his advice to England batsmen, the 45-year-old Kallis said: “I think it’s one of the shortest lead-ups to a Test series England have ever had and I have to be careful not to tinker with guys’ techniques too much. It’s more about the mental side of things and making sure they’ve got good game plans and how they’re going to go about it and that sort of stuff and minor technical stuff.”

Last year, Kallis coached the South Africa team and the former all-rounder was disappointed the way his time at the national side had ended after the policy of racial transformation at backroom staff

He further added, “We’ve lost a few players — whatever the reasons – overseas. It’s the times we’re in. There are many other coaches who have gone on to coach other teams — Gary Kirsten, for example. It’s the modern way of the world. It’s sad in a way that I can’t help out in South Africa but I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here in the England set-up.”

Kallis scored 13,289 runs at an average of over 55 in 166 Tests and took 292 wickets during a 19-year international career – third in the list after Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting who have most Test runs, but his achievements have been undervalued when compared to other all-rounders like West Indies’ Garfield Sobers, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, and England’s Ian Botham.

Reacting to the same, the Proteas great said: “They were a lot more aggressive and had different roles to play within the side and I probably fell into the more conservative side given the team and the place I was batting in. I never played the game for accolades or records.”

He signed off by saying, “I played because I loved it and I wanted to win games of cricket. I was a terrible loser, I hated losing, so that pretty much drove me and it certainly does drive me now I’ve finished the game in the other avenue of coaching.”

(With AFP Inputs)

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