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SA hero surmounts pain barrier

Jacques Kallis is already being considered the greatest ever cricketer from South Africa. What he came up with on Wednesday should be good enough to earn him a place amongst the legends of the game. Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 06, 2011 03:17 IST
Subhash Rajta

Jacques Kallis is already being considered the greatest ever cricketer from South Africa. What he came up with on Wednesday should be good enough to earn him a place amongst the legends of the game.

The South African, crippled by a muscle tear in his abdomen, stood firm the entire day on a crumbling and uneven wicket for a fighting knock that stood out for its grit and determination.

"I am not going to give up. I will come out and give my best tomorrow," Kallis had said on Tuesday when asked if he was fit enough to bat. The fact that he had already been ruled out of action for at least 15 days and was to bat in the Test if required gives one a clear picture of the injury and pain he had been enduring.

And he gave more than his best. Even though he looked in terrible pain whenever he had to stretch to handle the sudden bounce, he didn't give up, and kept on adding precious runs to the South African total. Just before lunch, it appeared he wouldn't be able to continue as he lay down, grimacing in pain, and the South African physio almost sprayed the whole bottle of painkiller on his abdomen.

With pain soothed somewhat, he got to his feet and went ahead to play the knock that could well be the deciding factor of the game. No wonder the crowd went berserk when he reached his half-century. "He's our hero. He's injured, but just see how he fought for his team. We will love him even more for this," chorused a group of youngsters.

The emotion was exactly the same amongst the battle-hardened cricketers as well. "You got to be extremely brave to come off with something like this when you are not fit. It's an incredible knock," said Omar Henry, a former South Africa player.

Well done, Kallis.