South African legend Jacques Kallis has asked to be left out of the squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy, which again brings the question of conflicting loyalties in the age of IPL money.
The Proteas all-rounder, currently playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, requested the selection panel not to consider him for the tournament to be held in England from June 6. He made himself unavailable for personal reasons.
“It was at Jacques’s request and we are respectful of that,” selection convenor Andrew Hudson said.
It was expected that Kallis, who turns 38 in October, would return to ODIs after being rested from games against New Zealand and Pakistan in the recent home season, as part of a plan to manage his workload.
He recently expressed a desire to play in the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The all-rounder was acquired by the IPL franchise for $ 1.1 million in 2011. The current edition of the lucrative twenty20 league concludes on May 26, merely 11 days before the Champions Trophy.
Asked how this would affect Kallis’s future for South Africa, Hudson said: “ It’s a little too early to speculate. I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll learn more.” Kallis has played in 321 ODIs since making his debut in 1995-96.
Coach Gary Kirsten admitted that the absence of Kallis was a blow, but put up a brave face.
“He’s a big player but this team has progressed to a level where we feel comfortable with whoever we pick.
“Obviously, he is two players in one so it does affect our combinations but that’s the way it is.
He’s been a great player and ambassador for this country. If he feels personally he is not up for the tournament we have to respect that.” The Proteas find themselves in a group including India, Pakistan and the West Indies, and will start their campaign against Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team.
They wil be led by dashing wicketkeeper- batsman A. B. de Villiers.
Kallis’s decision is another example of top players giving international cricket a go- by, but still turning out in cash- rich T20 leagues.
Australia have been suffering since Michael Hussey left, only to be prolific in the IPL. In his absence, the Kangaroos suffered a 0-4 reversal in the India Test series.
Jamaican Chris Gayle has been the most prominent player in this regard. He opted out of international cricket for a long time while plying his trade in franchise-cricket throughout the world.
SQUAD: AB de Villiers (captain, wicketkeeper), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, J. P. Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe