In recent years I’ve forced myself to have a grudging respect for Jacques Kallis. It’s not been easy – a perennial thorn in England’s side, the man strikes me as arrogant, self-satisfied, and just too bloody good. But how can you not admire a cricketer who has scored over 12 thousand runs and taken 250 wickets (not to mention the 183 catches)? It’s perhaps surprising that Jacques, a man as South Afrian as a braai fuelled by simmering racial tension, is not mentioned more often in discussions of the greats to have played the game.
Nevertheless, during The Oval test I learned again to loathe those broad shoulders and proud chin as Kallis piled on the runs and piled on the misery in an extraordinary partnership with Hashim Amla. Can there be anything more dispiriting than being on the short side of a batsman’s runs quote when he’s 150 not out, the pitch is flat and the third new ball isn’t threatening to deviate?
My 75p sell of Kallis’ series runs at 225 would cost me £99 to close; it looks like I’m locked in hoping for successive failures from the big man at Headingley and Lord’s. Proof, as the firms are obliged to tell you, that spread betting can cost you more than your original stake – considerably.
The Kallis debacle aside (although it’s difficult to ignore), my other bets panned out quite well as England suffered a humiliating defeat, taking 2 wickets to the South Africans 20. My £1 buy of Graeme Smith’s series ton-ups at 24 is already in profit (31) and my sell of England’s series performance at 39 is sitting pretty with a current make up of, naturally, zero.