Dec 30, 2013

King Kallis - the greatest all rounder in world cricket

A hero's farewell
Jacques Kallis is retiring today (Dec 30, 2013) from Test cricket at the age of 38. He will continue to play One Day International and T20 cricket.

Hats off to a magnificent all rounder and a wonderful athlete. The way he carried himself on and off the cricket field is remarkable.

Kallis is a true champion and a great role model for future generations. Thank you Kallis for inspiring us for two decades. Today, as I watch South Africa beat India in the Durban test, I cannot think of a better send-off for Kallis.

1. South Africa beat India convincingly
2. Kallis scored a century in this test
3. He completed 200 catches in test cricket in this game

As I watch him retire, I did some analysis to compare Kallis with other greats in cricket. I've shared it in this post. This analysis was done using R, Shiny and Ruby.

Best all rounders in Test cricket history
Over the years, Kallis gave his team a critical advantage and a wonderful balance as an allrounder. South Africa could pick an extra batsman or a bowler depending on the opposition and the conditions.

Kallis and Sobers stand out in all round performance in Test cricket history

In Test cricket, Kallis = Rahul Dravid + Zaheer Khan

Kallis has performed as well as a successful specialist Indian batsman and a successful specialist Indian bowler combined in Test cricket.

Jacques Kallis = Rahul Dravid + Zaheer Khan

Test cricket battingMatInnsNORunsHSAveBFSR100504s6sCtSt
Jacques Kallis165279401317422455.122858746.0844581475972000
Rahul Dravid164286321328827052.313125842.5236631654212100

Kallis = Dravid in Test Cricket (Batting)

Test cricket bowlingMatInnsBallsRunsWktsBBIBBMAveEconSR4w5w10
Jacques Kallis1652712016694992926/549/9232.532.8269.0750
Zaheer Khan891601797597683007/8710/14932.563.2659.915101

Kallis ~ Zaheer Khan in Test Cricket (Bowling)

In One Day International cricket, Kallis = Sourav Ganguly + Abdul Razzaq

Kallis has performed as well as a successful specialist Indian batsman and a successful specialist Pakistani bowler combined in One Day cricket.

Jacques Kallis = Sourav Ganguly + Abdul Razzaq

ODI cricket battingMatInnsNORunsHSAveBFSR100504s6sCtSt
Jacques Kallis325311531157413944.861586672.9417869111371290
Sourav Ganguly311300231136318341.021541673.70227211221901000

Kallis = Sourav Ganguly in One Day Cricket (Batting)

Jacques Kallis3252831075086802735/305/3031.794.8439.3220
Abdul Razzaq2652541094185642696/356/3531.834.6940.6830

Kallis = Abdul Razzaq in One Day Cricket (Bowling)

So who is the best all rounder? Kallis or Sobers?

ESPN's analysis of Kallis and Sobers
Is it Kallis or Gary Sobers? I won't get into the religious debate of declaring him as the best all rounder in test cricket history. Sobers and Kallis are both great all rounders - prolific run scorers and threat to the opposing batsmen.

I've had the privilege of watching Kallis in my lifetime and he is a great athlete - a batsman and a great bowler rolled into one. His performance in both Test and One Day cricket has been stellar. He's clearly the best all rounder in One Day cricket, and gives Sobers tough competition in Test.

Kallis is the best all rounder in One Day cricket history

Kallis batting performance in One Day cricket

Hope South Africa and international cricket find someone of Kallis' stature.

Reference: (some images and player statistics)


  1. Absolutely wonderful! I'll be studying this for days. With two best bowler charts, would bowling economy be balls per run rather than runs per over, so that increasing is better, as true for the other charts?

  2. Yes, totally agree. I've been meaning to flip runs/over to balls/run to make the best bowlers appear in top-right quadrant (like best batsmen). I will do it now and update the charts soon. Thanks

  3. I've updates the 2 bowling charts now (y-axis is Balls/Run instead of Runs/Over)

  4. Since it isn't used much for data analytics these days, I was wondering how and why you used Ruby with R to generate your results. Thanks.

  5. @Allan, I use Ruby to get cricket data from public websites and then R for analysis and plots.

  6. Fascinating
    Any chance of posting R code?
    Not followed cricket lately but Sobers was a pretty good close fielder and another plus point
    was his ability to bowl two different styles. There wasn't so much 1 day cricket in his time but
    pretty sure he would have excelled there as well

  7. No doubt that Sobers was a great all rounder. I want to compare all cricketers one day accounting for the differences in rules, runs and conditions (pitches) etc.

    My R code isn't packaged well to share. I've built my analysis app on Shiny and highcharts.

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  10. Of-course kallis that player very important player in the cricket and he is top all-rounder in cricket history,I love that person.

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