South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis has announced his retirement from Test and First-Class cricket after the second Test against India starting at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Boxing Day. However, the Proteas all-rounder will remain available for selection in the limited-over formats for South Africa.
Kallis, 38, 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 is a veteran of 165 Test matches and has scored a mammoth 13,174 runs at an astonishing average of 55.12. He also picked up 292 wickets to go with his 199 catches.
Announcing his retirement, Kallis further said, “The last two years specifically have been a memorable journey with an exceptional group of cricketers. 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.”
Kallis has been struggling with injuries and loss of form in the recent series but the announcement has come as a surprise to the cricketing community.
South African coach Russell Domingo said that the team will miss Kallis’ presence and that it’s a huge loss for South African cricket.
“The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense, not just as a player but as a human being. I’m 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.”
Kallis has been one of the leading players of his generation and is often compared to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara. However, his all round abilities put him in a different bracket altogether and he is widely considered as the best all-rounder to have graced the game after Sir Garfield Sobers.