Former Protea batsman Herschelle Gibbs says he is disappointed with the way Jacques Kallis is able to pick and chooses when he plays for the national team.
"There is no one bigger than any team or bigger than the sport," Gibbs said on Friday at the Gary Player Invitational golf event at Sun City.
"You can't determine when you want to play and when you don't want to play. You've got to keep on playing."
Kallis last played One Day International (ODI) cricket at the beginning of 2012, when he decided to give up limited overs cricket to concentrate his efforts in the Test arena. However, he was still available for the extremely lucrative Indian Premier League's 20-over competition.
After South Africa's disastrous 4-1 ODI-series loss to Sri Lanka in July, and the 2015 World Cup looming, Kallis had since changed his mind and made himself available for selection again.
Gibbs – whose crowning glory was a match-winning innings of 175 in the Proteas' legendary 438 game against Australia at the Wanderers in 2006 – said he was surprised at the attitude of his former teammate.
"If you look at [Ricky] Ponting's record, he scored hundreds in abundance in Tests and ODIs," he said. "I think it would be unfair for the team to then say 'Jacques can say when he wants to play'."
Gibbs said the onus was on management to handle the situation differently.
"I've got to look at the coach and the selectors and ask how can they can allow that to happen," he said.
Gibbs (39) did not retire but fell out of favour with the selectors in 2010 and believes he could have still made a contribution to South African cricket.
"I'd still like to play for South Africa, but with just over a month away from India arriving, it doesn't look like it will unfold", he said.
"I am hitting the ripe old age of 40 next year. I can imagine a lot of teams thinking I don't have much to offer anymore. That's their opinion. I know what I can offer and what I'm capable of at the age of 39."
Moving forward, the 90-Test and 248-ODI veteran said the Proteas' batting line-up would need some work if they were to compete for top honours at the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
"The bowling line-up – spin and seam – takes care of itself. We've developed enough bowlers over the last two or three years. They can all hold their own. They've had enough chances to prove themselves in the ODI set-up.
"The top six (batsmen) is probably the most important thing we'll have to work on. There are maybe 25 to 30 ODIs before the next World Cup, and that is a concern for me," he said.
Gibbs highlighted the performance of wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who made his ODI debut for the Proteas in January this year against New Zealand.
"I know Quinton de Kock has all the talent and temperament, and he's got time to develop," Gibbs said of the 20-year-old.
"He has a few technical errors, but when it comes to the ODIs, he has a bright future ahead of him.
"He will probably have about 25 to 30 ODIs before the next World Cup. It's a great time to blood someone like him. He'll play in a few different conditions." – Sapa