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From Big Five's den: Crowd goes missing

Monday, 30 December 2013 - 9:55am IST | Place: DURBAN | Agency: DNA

Like many of us, Durbanites are prone to hangovers. Why not? We are in the middle of the festive season and everyone wants to party. But they surely could have put those bottles on ice for one more day. Well, they didn’t. And the result was there for all to see.

Picture this: when stumps were drawn on Day Three of the second Test, Jacques Kallis was on 78. Kingsmead would be filled to capacity, you thought. After all, the stage was set for a fairytale swansong. It was a crying shame to see no more than a couple of thousand spectators when Kallis nudged Ravindra Jadeja towards mid-on to bring up his 45th and last Test century.

Yes, this is how South Africa treated its greatest cricketer. Given that his retirement comes barely two months after Sachin Tendulkar’s, the difference is all the more glaring. All these years, fans and cricketers in this part of the world have bemoaned the fact that Kallis never got the recognition he deserved. But hello, wasn’t this their chance to make amends? Wasn’t this their chance to scream home the point? Wasn’t this their chance to say ‘Thank you, Jacques’?

One spectator was charitable enough to say people must have gone to church. Yeah, right. Last heard, a Holy Mass doesn’t take more than an hour.

One hundred rand: that was the average price of a ticket on Sunday. Seriously! That’s about Rs 600. After lunch, they were offering a 50 per cent discount. Kallis was gone by then. Just like that.
But as always, he has taken his team to a position of strength. They’ll start missing him now. But it’s too late.

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