World Cup to be most open till date: Kallis

Kolkata: The upcoming cricket World Cup will be the most open till date keeping in mind the format, feels South African legend Jacques Kallis.

“It will be a World Cup that’s going to be more open than it’s ever been,” Kallis told reporters at Eden Gardens ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders’ practice session. The 43-year old former all-rounder is the head coach of the two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions.

“The sides that play well throughout the tournament and in key moments are going to be the sides to beat,” Kallis said.

The tournament — starting May 30 in England and Wales — will revert back to the format used in 1992 World Cup when each team playing one another once in a round robin format and the top four teams going on to play in the semi-finals.

Asked about South Africa’s chances, Kallis said the Proteas will go into the mega-event as underdogs for the first time.

“We probably go in as the least favourite that we have been. Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing. It might take the pressure off them. They can come through and play some good cricket at the right time. You cannot write them off,” said Kallis, who featured in 328 ODIs for South Africa scoring 11,579 runs and taking 273 wickets.

On skipper Virat Kohli surpassing all the greats, including Kallis in scoring the most number of runs and a century of hundreds, Kallis said if the 30-year old remains hungry for a long time, he might achieve the feat.

“He is a world class player. He has proved that over the years. People enjoy watching him bat and the thing about him is he keeps it very simple. He is very handy. He works very hard on his game which shows he is hungry to be on ground for a long time. Who knows what he can achieve.”

“If he is fit enough and willing enough to go that far, then certainly not unreachable,” Kallis said on Kohli amassing a century of centuries. Currently, he has 66 tons (41 in ODIs and 25 in Tests).

Kallis rubbished talk about Kohli being under pressure as captain after India’s humiliating 3-2 defeat at home against Australia.

“I don’t know too much about Indian cricket setup but I don’t think he is under too much pressure to be honest. He has produced the goods time and time again. The guys follow what he does. He is certainly one of the best in the world,” Kallis added.