Calcutta: Sachin Tendulkar, on Tuesday, paid tribute to just-retired South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, calling him a “true champion” who always played the game in the right spirit.
“...... It’s been a joy to have played against you. Jacques you are a true Champion. Retired life isn’t so bad :-)),” Sachin, who called time on his career in international cricket last month, tweeted.
No wonder the retirement of the two legends towards the end of 2013 is yet to sink in for cricket fans all over the world. Both players finished on a good note, but for Kallis, his illustrious 18-year career ended in a fairytale script to say the least.
One of the greatest all-rounders of the game, Kallis bid adieu to Test cricket hitting a century in his final Test as South Africa thrashed India by 10 wickets to win the second and final Test and the series thereby, in Durban.
The script for Kallis’ Test retirement could not have been better as he ended his career as the third highest run- getter in the longest format of the game.
The 38-year-old ended his Test career on 13,289 runs from 166 Tests, only behind Tendulkar (15,921) and Ricky Ponting (13,378) in the all-time highest scorers’ list.
His 45 centuries in Test cricket is only second to Sachin’s 51.
In the latest Test rankings released on Tuesday, Kallis has retired 12th in the rankings for batsmen after his match-winning show in Durban, the ICC said in a statement.
Kallis scored a fine 115, which helped South Africa secure a decisive 166-run first innings lead.
For becoming only the 31st batsman and fourth from South Africa to score a century in his final Test, Kallis was rewarded with a jump of three places.
Kallis first topped the batting chart after his 85th Test back in January 2005 when he scored 149 and 66 against England in the third Test at the Newlands. Overall, he spent 68 Tests and 592 days as the top-ranked Test batsman.
The 38-year-old achieved his highest rating of 935 in his 111th Test when he scored 131 in his only innings against New Zealand in the second Test at the Centurion back in November 2007. On the list of all-time best ratings, this sits in 10th position along with former Australia opener Matthew Hayden.
With 292 Test wickets, he finished in 30th spot after slipping two places. Kallis achieved his career-best ranking of sixth when he recorded match figures of seven for 110 against Sri Lanka at the Centurion in November 2002.
In the rankings for Test all-rounders, Kallis finished third. He had first topped the chart in his 36th Test back in March 2000, following match figures of two for 28 and a score of 95 in South Africa’s innings and 71-run victory over India in Bangalore.
Overall, Kallis spent 493 matches — a record — as the top-ranked Test all-rounder, which equates to 4,028 days.