Mumbai: With Tendulkar having left the game, the all-too-familiar question has surfaced: who will overtake the legend’s first record?
The milestone that could be surpassed first is the 51 Test centuries and the total number of Test runs that Tendulkar had amassed in his career. The cricketer poised to get past that mark, in all probability, will be South Africa’s Jacques Kallis who has a tally of 44 Test centuries and 13,120 Test runs under his belt.
While the rest of India and the cricketing world had been going overboard with the news of Tendulkar’s retirement, Kallis has gone about the business of posting some serious numbers into his bio-data. With every Test series that he plays, the South African allrounder re-negotiates the value of the prize money that has been put upon his head by the opposition.
Kallis is similar to Tendulkar in temperament, going about his business without much fuss, but he also has all the trappings of an impact player not just with the bat — but with the ball as well. Many a victory for the South African team has been the result of his machinations.
It is in batting, however, that Kallis makes his statement of intent, though he has a habit of growing into every role that is required from him by his captain and by the demands of the occasion in a game. There is no craftier or perceptive cricketer in world cricket at the moment than the burly South African.
Kallis is not the prettiest cricketer that one can see on the pitch but that does not negate the fact that he is capable of compiling — unobtrusively and surreptitiously — some impressive centuries to boost his average to an impressive 55.44.
India’s forthcoming tour to South Africa could see Kallis at his fighting best, waiting to prove a point to the visitors, on his home pitches. He is aware that only seven centuries separate him from Tendulkar’s record so, in that respect, he has everything to play for.