Castle Lager Proteas all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, has announced that he will retire from Test and First-Class cricket after the second Sunfoil Test against India starting at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Thursday. Kallis remains available for selection in the limited-over formats for South Africa.
Commenting on his decision, the veteran of 165 Test matches said: “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 young and humble 20 year-old, and finishes his Test career as one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game. His statistics speak volumes for the illustrious career he has had: scoring 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, says the team will miss Kallis’ presence in the team environment.
“ The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense, not just as a player but as a human being. Im not sure we will ever see another player of that stature very soon.
“ Jacques calmness, maturity and presence in the change 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.”
Cricket South Africa (CSA) President Chris Nenzani led the tributes to Kallis:
“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. South Africans love their sporting heroes and Jacques is right up among the best; not only that but he has been there for the best part of two decades. At a time when we live in a fast-changing world and not always for the better he has remained true to the best traditions of the game and of sportsmanship and has always risen above any kind of controversy.
“To me the greatest legacy he leaves us is the Jacques Kallis Foundation which offers underprivileged South Africans of all persuasions the priceless benefit of a quality education and the opportunity to live their dreams on the cricket fields. There are already a couple of youngsters from this programme who have gone on to represent SA Schools and SA under-19.
“He has indeed been our knight in shining armour who has ridden to the rescue of our embattled troops on more occasions than I am sure he would wish to remember!
“Happily, Jacques is not totally lost to the Proteas. Our ODI side is a comparatively young and inexperienced one and his contribution to our World Cup campaign will no doubt be as immense as it has been across all the formats up to now.
“Jacques, we thank you not just for what you have meant to South African cricket and indeed to the world of cricket but more particularly for the example you have set in being a model South African for our youth and future leaders.”
CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat commented:
“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 the reality dawns that Cricket South Africa’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 when the Sunfoil Series concludes against India at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
“Jacques Kallis 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 and his statistics speak volumes. He has the 10th highest ICC batting points ranking of all time (935) and the highest by a South African. As for the number of Test centuries scored, he is second only to Sachin Tendulkar and he is statistically the greatest all-rounder of all time.
“Jacques has been ever present for the Proteas in the past 18 years and it is fitting that his final Test should be on the same ground as the one on which he made his debut against England back in 1995.
“Only Jacques would know how much strain his body can still take and while we will be very sad to see him walk off the Test arena for the last time, we can be buoyed by the knowledge that he wishes to represent us at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australasia. What great satisfaction it will be to Jacques and the rest of us if the Proteas can triumph at the World Cup.
“We were reminded again this past weekend what he means to the Proteas and what some of our opponents might well call an unfair advantage that he gives us! When Morne Morkel was ruled out of the match through injury he simply stepped into the void, cranked up the speed gun and put his body on the line to deliver what we needed.
“Like all great players Jacques’ contribution cannot just be measured in runs, wickets and catches. He has been a tremendous source of inspiration and a mentor to some of his younger peers and I am sure that super stars like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis would be the first to admit how much they relied on him.
“As the then convener of selectors I still have vivid memories of the way Jacques guided the 20-year old AB through the proverbial nervous nineties to his maiden Test century at SuperSport Park against England in early 2005. Each of his colleagues will surely have memories of their own which made Jacques such a special team mate. I will never forget his run of five consecutive Test centuries in 2004 when in the first innings in New Zealand, with no DRS he was wrongly given out lbw in the nineties and alas, we all thought that’s a record missed! But Jacques said ‘There is still a second innings’. And would you believe it, he scored a hundred in the second innings.
“On behalf of the Cricket South Africa family, all our fans and indeed on behalf of the nation, I am privileged to extend our grateful thanks to Jacques for what he has contributed to South African cricket and in the process to nation building. He has certainly played his part in making our cricket a truly national sport of winners.
“I look forward to see how in the years ahead we can engage his superb knowledge and experience. He is far too valuable and no doubt will have much to offer.”