It is rather surprising that Jacques Kallis has never truly dabbled with captaincy. He is seemingly of the right frame, physically and mentally, and undoubtedly possesses the characteristics of a leader. Yet, in his 18 years as an international cricketer, Kallis has just led the South African side 15 times. In 2006, he was captain against Zimbabwe and in a tri-series featuring Ireland and India. In Tests, Kallis grudgingly accepted the role twice against Australia in 2009. Interestingly, all these instances have come during the latter half of the 38-year-old's career.
It is not lack of opportunity that has caused captaincy to elude Kallis. Prior to the inspired appointment of Graeme Smith as skipper, South Africa went through the tumultuous match-fixing scandal involving Hansie Cronje which was then followed by the stoical rein of Shaun Pollock. Whether Kallis was ever considered by Cricket South Africa is moot as no voices were raised or dissent shown by the man himself. It is almost as if captaincy called out to Kallis but like always, he played on his own terms.
On the field, Kallis is not the most vocal of cricketers. He is hardly seen encouraging bowlers, assisting field placements or giving lip to opposition players. The result - Kallis has often been perceived as a reluctant competitor, much like Shane Watson. Yet, as statistics will prove and history will confirm, the experience that Kallis brings -- while placid in appearance -- cannot be defined in tangible terms.