Calcutta: With the world of cricket still trying to come to terms with the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, another great of the present era, Jacques Kallis, has announced that he will retire from Test and first-class cricket after the second Test against India.
A statement issued by Cricket South Africa said that he will remain available for selection in the limited-over formats.
The veteran of 165 Test matches was quoted in the CSA statement: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to have been part of the South African Test team since making my debut 18 years ago. I have enjoyed every moment out in the middle but I just feel that the time is right to hang up my Test whites.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to come to, especially with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format.”
Kallis made his Test debut as a 20 year-old, and is bowing out of the stage as one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game. He has scored 13174 runs, taking 292 wickets and holding on to 199 catches.
“The last two years specifically have been a memorable journey with an exceptional group of cricketers,” Kallis said.
“I am fortunate enough to have ended my Test career amongst a group of talented cricketers but more importantly, friends whom I will cherish for years to come.
“I don’t see it as goodbye because I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing.
“Winning an IPL title with the Kolkata Knight Riders was a special achievement, and I am still determined to taste that success with South Africa at an ICC event.”
Proteas coach, Russell Domingo, said the team will miss Kallis’ presence. “The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense, not just as a player but as a human being. I am not sure we will ever see another player of that stature very soon.
“Jacques’ calmness, maturity and presence in the dressing room will sorely be missed, and hopefully he will still be able to play a role in this team’s success in the near future.
“He has ambitions of playing in the 2015 World Cup and it will be important for us to manage him accordingly so that he is in prime form leading into the tournament.”
CSA president Chris Nenzani said: “We are truly entering a new era with three of the icons of the game – Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and now our own Jacques Kallis – departing the Test arena within a short space of time. “It is a time for reflection not only on Jacques’ enormous contribution to the game of cricket but also the legacy he leaves behind him.”
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat was all praise for Kallis: “Although we all knew the retirement of a great player like Jacques Kallis was going to happen sooner rather than later, his decision still comes as a blow, when reality dawns that CSA’s greatest ever player and arguably the world’s best all-rounder, will be playing his last Test match in this last week of 2013.
“Jacques has simply been the Proteas rock of Gibraltar. He has been a stalwart for many years and their recent triumphs and greatness has been built around him. He is a legend.”
Kallis, who has also made 11,574 runs in 325 one-day internationals, will give himself one last chance to win a World Cup for South Africa in 2015, when the tournament will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.