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Amla, SACA salute Jacques

Calcutta: South Africa’s professional cricketers and the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) Thursday paid tribute to Jacques Kallis, who retired from international cricket on Wednesday.

Test captain Hashim Amla said that Kallis in “one in 50-years-cricketer”. “Jacques was a one in 50 years cricketer who had a huge influence on so many Proteas players over a twenty year period. I was privileged to have been one of those. You appreciate the magnitude of the cricketer not only when you look at his record but also when you play alongside him,” Amla said.

Robin Peterson, the SACA president, pointed out that statistically Kallis is the greatest South African cricketer ever. “People were entertained by Jacques on the field and statistically he is the greatest South African cricketer ever. What we were able to see as players, however, was the man behind all the records… The aura in the change room, the calming influence on other players and the wonderfully subtle sense of humour, often in tight situations,” Peterson said.

The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) is the players union of South Africa's professional cricketers. It represents 230 players comprising the Proteas team, the six franchise teams and the 13 semi-professional provincial teams.

Stephen Cook, who is the captain of the bizhub Highveld Lions, a franchise team, said that Kallis is the idol for many young South African cricketers. “Most of us playing franchise cricket in South Africa aspire to play for the Proteas and most have a player we want to be like. For so many striving young franchise cricketers, that player was Jacques Kallis. He has inspired so many cricketers at many levels.”

The 38-year-old Kallis, on Wednesday, said his poor performance in Sri Lanka prompted him to take the decision to retire though he will continue playing in the Indian Premier League and other T20 leagues.

Kallis scored 13,289 runs in 166 Tests with 45 Test centuries and 58 half-centuries at an average of 55.37 — second only to the iconic Sachin Tendulkar.

He also had 292 wickets with five five-wicket hauls and took 200 catches in the longer format.

He was also an integral part of the ODI set up scoring 11,579 runs and taking 273 wickets from 328 ODIs with 17 centuries and 86 half centuries. He has represented South Africa in five World Cups since 1996.

On Wednesday, Indian stalwart Rahul Dravid had hailed Kallis as ‘The Garry Sobers of our generation.”