COLOMBO: England’s Jonny Bairstow Thursday said the addition of South African great Jacques Kallis as batting consultant is a “fantastic addition” to their squad during the Sri Lanka tour.
The 45-year-old Kallis has flown in from South Africa to join England for their two-Test series in Sri Lanka starting January 14.
Bairstow, who is expected to make his Test return after more than a year, is looking forward to working with the class of Kallis, whom he rates as the “best ever all-rounder”.
“I think it is a fantastic addition, someone of Jacques’ calibre,” Bairstow told reporters in a virtual chat from his hotel room in Hambantota.
“The things he has done within the game, in my eyes he is the best all-rounder that there has ever been.
“Someone that batted at the top of the order, caught absolute flies at slip and got so many wickets as well.”
Kallis scored 13,289 runs at an average of over 55 in 166 Tests and took 292 wickets with his pace bowling during his 19-year-old international career.
Only India’s Sachin Tendulkar and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting have scored more runs than the former Proteas all-rounder in the five-day format.
Bairstow, 31, believes he has a lot to learn from the South African legend who is in isolation in Sri Lanka and should join the squad on Friday.
“There are so many different aspects you could speak to him about. I am really intrigued to spend more time with him and gauge and understand the process,” said Bairstow.
“Because to string all three bits together so successfully, over such a long period of time, is a skill in itself.
“It’s great to have Jacques around and I am really looking forward to spending some time with him and working with him.”
The England team, led by Joe Root, underwent their second training session in Hambantota on Thursday after an early setback when all-rounder Moeen Ali tested positive for Covid 19.