JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s Jacques Kallis, the greatest all-rounder of his era, will retire from Test and first-class cricket after the Boxing Day match against India in Durban, the country’s cricket board said on Wednesday. Kallis, cricket’s fourth highest Test run-getter, would be available, however, for selection in the limited-over formats, Cricket South Africa said in a statement. “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,” said the 38-year-old, who has amassed 13,174 runs and taken 292 wickets from 165 Tests. “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.”
The broad-shouldered top-order batsman and medium-pace bowler has been a pillar for South African cricket since he made his debut as a 20-year-old against England in Durban. His Test batting average of more than 55 and his knack of picking up crucial wickets make him undoubtedly one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game. The right-handed batsman also has the second highest number of centuries (44) in Tests behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar, who retired from cricket last month.
2015 dream: Kallis, who has also made 11,574 runs in 325 one-day internationals, will give himself one last chance to win a World Cup for South Africa in 2015, when the tournament will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. “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.” South Africa coach Russell Domingo said it will be difficult to find another player of Kallis’ stature.
“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,” Domingo said. “Jacques’ calmness, maturity and presence in the changing 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.” With the first match ending in a draw, top-ranked South Africa take on India in the second and final Test from Thursday. The Proteas will also host Australia for three Tests and as many Twenty20 internationals in a series starting in February.
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