New Delhi: Legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis feels that conditions in the sub-continent is "not conducive" for producing seam bowling all-rounders, something that the Indian cricket team has lacked for some years now.
Post Kapil Dev's retirement, only Irfan Pathan showed glimpses of early promise in both departments of the game before fading away due to injuries and Mahendra Singh Dhoni has always lamented about not having that balance in the side which a genuine all-rounder provides.
"It is difficult to produce seam bowling all-rounders in Indian conditions. I have toured India enough to have an idea about the conditions over there. The pitches there are certainly not seamer-friendly. The heat and humidity is an impediment towards producing a cricketer who can focus equally on both skill sets," Kallis, one of the greatest all-rounders in the history of the game, told PTI during an interaction.
"For an all-rounder, it is very important to know one's body and manage himself accordingly. In sub-continental conditions, while putting equal effort on both aspects of the game day in and day out can take a toll on one's body. Then the cricketer has to decide as to which area -- batting or bowling is more important to him," said the man, who has scored 13,289 runs with 45 hundreds in 166 Tests apart from taking 292 wickets.
When asked to name a stand-out all-rounder in current world cricket, the 39-year-old Kallis did not pinpoint anyone.
"There are a few but genuine all-rounders are hard to come by these days. Also when one aspires to be an all-rounder, one should be clear to himself as to what kind of all-rounder he wants to become.
"It can be like, someone wants to focus more on his bowling and slowly develop his batting. It can also work the other way round. To each his own," said the man, who mentors KKR in Indian Premier League but recently had a very decent Caribbean Premier League for Trinidad and Tobago Red Steels (46, 23, 38, 49, 31, 61 no are some of his notable scores).
When questioned, how did he hone his skills, Kallis said, "I concentrated on my batting more and slowly added my bowling to it. In the beginning you have to concentrate on one area. That is the reason, whenever I batted well and had runs under my belt, I bowled well too."
He has played alongside AB de Villiers and no wonder Kallis understands the game of the Talismanic Protea, who is inarguably the best batsman across all formats today.
"There are a few factors that makes AB the brilliant batsman that he is. He is mentally very strong, he understands his game which is very necessary. Then comes the technique. His basic technique is very sound which makes him excel across all three formats. He has tremendous talent but at the same time he is very focussed," concluded Kallis.