Jacques Kallis is unquestionably the greatest South African cricketer of the modern era and probably the greatest of all time as well. It is not just his statistics that make this claim. He has scored more than 13 000 runs in Test cricket and more than 11 000 in ODI cricket; he has taken more than 250 wickets in both formats and more than 100 catches in both formats and is second only to Sachin Tendulkar with 45 Test match centuries.
What is truly remarkable is that he has achieved these world-best figures while batting at No.3 or 4 and not in the traditional No. 6 spot reserved for all-rounders. Even the great Sir Garfield Sobers only batted at No. 4 for a relatively short period of his Test career.
He has also been the rock around which the Proteas’ batting has been built and it caused him to rein himself in for much of his career. Now that the Proteas have their strongest middle-order ever with Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers batting on either side of him he has been able to demonstrate his attacking talents to the full and that is probably why he had to wait until his 143rd Test match to score his first double century. The two halves of this innings were coincidentally his two fastest Test centuries of all time. A year later he scored a second double century against Sri Lanka.
He has represented the Proteas at 5 World Cups and was named Man of the Series when the Proteas won their only major ICC title to date at the 1998 ICC Champions’ Trophy.
He was named South African Cricketer of the Year in 2011, having previously won the inaugural award in 2004 and was also selected for the ICC Test Team of the Year for 2011 and again in 2012.
He retired from Test cricket at the end of the 2013/14 series against India, leaving the five-day game in a blaze of glory with his 45th century. He remains available in the ODI format.