Calcutta: South Africa’s Jacques Kallis has decided to call time on his international limited-overs career six months before the World Cup.
The 38-year-old, one of the greatest all-rounders in the game’s history, retired from Test cricket last year but had been planning to finish his South Africa career at the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.
However, he announced a change of heart on Wednesday, just weeks after helping South Africa win a one-day International series in Sri Lanka for the first time.
“I realised in Sri Lanka that my dream of playing in a World Cup was a bridge too far,” he said in a Cricket South Africa statement.
“I just knew on that tour that I was done. The squad that was in Sri Lanka is an amazing one and I believe they have a good chance of bringing the trophy home in March.
“I would like to thank Cricket South Africa, the team, the team sponsors, my sponsors, the fans and all the people who have been involved in my career. It has been an amazing journey.”
In an interview to The Telegraph in 2012, Kallis, who has featured in five World Cups, had revealed that he would like to play in the 2015 edition as well.
“That’s definitely a goal of mine... If I can, I’d like to play till the next World Cup,” Kallis said.
“We (South Africa) haven’t won any edition and it would be great if we did so in 2015... It would be nice if I could be a member of that team.”
Things, however, didn’t materialise the way he had dreamt. Kallis was in poor form in Sri Lanka, scoring just five runs in three innings as South Africa won the ODI series 2-1 earlier this month. He did not bowl in any of the games.
However, he will continue to play in the Twenty20 format of the game for different franchises in the cash-rich Leagues around the world.
“I am not retiring from all cricket as I have a two-year contract with the Sydney Thunder and, if possible, to help the Kolkata Knight Riders defend the IPL title we won earlier this year,” he said.
Kallis is the only cricketer to score more than 11,000 runs and take 250 wickets in Test and ODI cricket. He ends his ODI career with 11,579 runs in 328 matches with 17 centuries at an average of 44.36.
Kallis played his final Test last December, finishing with 13,289 runs in 166 matches with 45 centuries at an average of 55.37.
“South Africa has been blessed with one of the world’s greatest cricketing talents in Jacques Kallis,” said Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
“He is undeniably one of the greatest players ever to have graced our wonderful game and he has certainly been the Proteas standard-bearer of excellence for nearly two decades.”
Kallis's career was almost over after the Lanka tour. His South Africa career seemed to be marching ever closer after a poor run of fitness and form.