Bacher says presence of Smith, Kallis `non-negotiable` for Proteas to retain Test `stranglehold`

Johannesburg, Sept 21 (ANI): Former South African Test captain Ali Bacher has said that the presence of current Test skipper Graeme Smith and all-rounder Jacques Kallis in the country's Test squad is 'non-negotiable' if South Africa wants to retain its place on top of the global best rankings.

Smith, who had to undergo a surgery after suffering a recurrence of an ankle injury during his stint with Surrey, is expected to be fully fit for the Proteas tour of the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan.

According to Sport24, Bacher said that one of the hallmarks of Smith's batting is his ability to take the match away from the opposition with his belligerence when a score of 150 or more is needed for a victory.

According to Bacher, both Smith and Kallis, who has not played any form of the game since his last match in the Indian Premier League for Kolkata Knight Riders on May 19, are crucial to the Test team if South Africa wants to maintain its stranglehold on the top of the rankings.

The report mentioned that Smith scored 85 off 79 deliveries against West Indies in 2008 and led his team to an emphatic seven-wicket win.

Agreeing with Bacher, former Proteas coach Kirsten dismissed criticism that Smith might be susceptible against Pakistani slow bowlers Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal, saying that Smith has worked out a way to score runs consistently at the highest level of the game, adding that he has had an immense batting contribution to South Africa.

According to Kirsten, Smith has an unique ability as a left-hander to score mostly on the leg side, which he believes is important considering there are normally only three fielders on the leg side at the start of an innings, adding that Smith's physical presence as a front-line batsman is a huge factor for the team. (ANI)

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