Jacques Kallis gives Sky Cricket batting masterclass in The Zone on The Verdict
Last Updated: 20/03/15 10:34am
Jacques Kallis, arguably cricket’s greatest all-rounder, gave Ian Ward an insight into his batting technique while also looking at the changes in the modern one-day game during his career.
Click on the video above to watch the full session, which began with Kallis - who has a combined 24,868 runs from his Test and one-day career – running through the basics of batting.
“My trigger movements were the most important thing for me,” said Kallis. “I liked to be ready early – get back and across, with my head nice and still, parallel to the ground and then just watch the ball.
Test avge: 55.37. Test 100s: 45. ODI avge: 44.36. ODI 100s: 17
“I tried to do that just as the bowler released the ball or soon after he had. Batting is all about getting into good, strong positions. The stronger the position you can get in to, the better chance you give yourself of playing the shot correctly that you want to play.”
Here's what else he had to say...
Kallis’ batting stance
"I’d try to get to off-stump, certainly in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand where there’s a bit more bounce, a bit more movement. Certainly in Test cricket and even early on in one-day cricket, just to give myself a few balls to get in. In the subcontinent, where there is less bounce, I’d try to stay leg-side of the ball, get my pads out of the way, giving me more opportunities to score square of the wicket and I would have my front foot slightly closed to align myself up with the bowler."
Kallis on practising
"My whole technique was based on keeping it as simple as possible because if things do go wrong, with a simple technique it is very easy to fix it. If complicated, it can take a bit longer. I wasn’t a big fan of hitting a lot of balls in the nets. There are some guys – like Hashim Amla – who enjoy that but for me, if I hit 20 or 30 balls and hit them as I wanted to, I got out of there because I walked out of the net feeling confident. I would try to practice every time like how I would play. If you walk into a net and mess around you’re wasting your time, because you can take bad habits you develop in the nets into the middle. So I tried to replicate the situations in my net practice that I was going to face in the middle."
Kallis through the covers
"My weight was pretty much even, maybe slightly on the front foot, which allowed me to push back if it was short. But not too much, because if you’ve got too much weight on the front foot, you don’t have time to transfer your weight back. It was a real strength of mine, standing up and hitting it through the covers. I knew that was my bread and butter. You’re trying to place the ball where the fielders aren’t. Early on in an innings, batting at the top of the order, fielders are generally up, so if you do pierce a gap, you can pick up a lot of runs with it, mainly boundaries."
Kallis on hitting leg-side
"I knew I had to be very well-balanced not to miss and get out lbw or bowled. I had to get my head and eyes parallel to the stumps, be nice and still, and really concentrate so that when the ball was straight, I was over my front foot to allow me to hit it. If you start looking to hit it through square-leg or mid-wicket too early, you’re going to get into trouble, come across the ball and try to hit it with half a bat. The odds aren’t in your favour. First you’ve got to look to hit it as straight as possible and then if the ball does carry on drifting in, hit it through mid-wicket. You need to make sure you’re well-balanced for that."
Kallis on modern-day batting
"In the modern game you want to give yourself room in order to hit the ball. In Test cricket I’d still want my stance to be closed off, because you want to feel like you’re more in control. But the modern way is to give yourself room and not to get yourself to the pitch of the ball because then you limit yourself. A ball in the olden days that used to be on that fourth stump line where guys would usually hit that down to mid-off, because they’re getting their front leg out of the way now, can actually hit that past point. It’s something I’m working on but it has been tough because I’ve felt like I have been really open but then I look at the replays and I can still go a bit more. It worked nicely for me at the Big Bash, so I’m getting there. It’s not massive changes but little tweaks to stay up with the times and keep up with these new guys who are playing outrageous shots."
Kallis on AB de Villiers
"A few months ago he sat down and said ‘I want to revolutionise the way one-day cricket is played’, and he certainly has done that. Sri Lanka did that a few years ago in 1996 coming out with pinch-hitters and he wanted to change the way batsmen think about batting in middle overs. He’s such a tough guy to bowl to – he’s got a shot for any delivery the bowler bowls, he doesn’t give himself one option. The key for me is he goes early so his head is still and he’s balanced when the ball arrives. The scary thing is how consistently he’s doing it, and not just him, other batsmen around the world too. They’ve changed batting in one-day cricket and it’s so fun to watch."