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‘Made the right call at right time’

Calcutta: South Africa’s legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who bid adieu to Test cricket after helping his side to a series-clinching win in the second Test against India, said he had made the right decision at the right time.

“I couldn’t have made a better exit. I think I have made the right call at the right time,” Kallis said in Durban on Monday.

Kallis retired as one of the greatest all-rounders having scored 13,289 runs in 166 Tests, besides taking 292 wickets and 200 catches.

The following are excerpts

On his decision to retire…

It has been a tough day. It was a tough call. It has been an incredible journey. The way people have come out to support me, the way CSA treated me was very special… My teammates have made it a special game for me. I couldn’t have made a better exit. I think I have made the right call at the right time.

I just felt I lost that little bit of an edge, because mentally it is quite tough over five days. If I can’t give 100 per cent, I don’t want to be bringing the team down.

I had 18 wonderful years. I woke up and said it is time. I am 100 per cent convinced that it is. When I started playing, I said I wanted to leave in a better state than what I joined it, hopefully I’ve done that…

On his feelings…

Yes, it’s very emotional for me now. My dad was there at the ground watching me play, at the Wanderers, too... My sister has come here to watch me play. I am really happy that my family was there during the first Test and then here at Durban, watching me play for the last time.

On the guard of honour by the Indian players...

I would really like to thank MS (Dhoni) and his teammates for the guard of honour. That was really special and made me emotional. I am glad that I didn’t have to face the next ball because that was really very emotional for me.

On if his first Test hundred will remain the highlight of his career

Again a tough call... I still prepare myself the same way as I used to back then. Nothing much has changed. I still had the same kind of butterflies when I went out to bat in this Test match.

On being the third highest run-getter in Tests

I've never played the game for records and stats. I've always tried to play the game to make the best calls and play the situation.

Records have never been important to me. I don't think that record of Sachin Tendulkar will get beaten very easily. I am proud of what I achieved 10,000-plus runs, that's something to be proud of...

On what he will miss the most

It’s a tough one. Cricket will be missed for sure, but what I will also miss are the friendships… The time spent in the changing room, the winning times, the tough times, the losing times…

All that will be missed. I will also miss the excellent support of the team management, the support of the great coaches that I have worked with over the years… From that point of view, I have been very fortunate to have been coached by the likes of Bob Woolmer and Duncan Fletcher.

On the people he would like to thank

There were times when I couldn’t keep any contact with my friends and family for long periods. I would like to thank them for bearing with me. I would like to thank a lot of mates who have made an effort to actually come down to Durban to watch me play. It will be nice to catch up with them again.

Dave Rundle has been a wonderful manager and I thank him for all his efforts… There are a lot of people to thank, but finally I would like to thank the two most important people in my life… As kids, you will always want your parents to be proud of you… Mom and dad, I hope I have made you proud…

On the Jacques Kallis Foundation…

First of all I would like to thank the sponsors for the money they have raised for the Foundation. The kids will really appreciate it. That’s something that is really close to my heart and that’s where I am going to get involved a lot more now, building the Foundation. This money is going to go a long way in helping the Foundation. I really appreciate the efforts the sponsors have put in for the Foundation.