DURBAN: He was a quiet performer all his life. And in his Christmas shocker that he was retiring from Test cricket, Jacques Kallis maintained the same dignified attitude that became so much a part and parcel of his career.
All the South African newspapers were closed, barely a couple of home journalists were present at the Kingsmead, and there was absolutely no fanfare about the way the greatest allrounder in world cricket pulled the curtains down on his Test career. He had come for practice a day ahead of the Boxing Day Test against India
, did the usual routine training and there was no inkling that it was coming even when the team left the Kingsmead premises.
The cricket world was truly caught napping when the official Cricket South Africa mail arrived that the Durban Test would be his last. The press release, though, said Kallis would be available for selection in ODIs.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to come to, especially with the Australia series
around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format,” Kallis said in the press release.
He made his Test debut as a 20 year-old and finishes his Test career as one of the greatest cricketers. 13174 runs, 292 wickets and 199 catches — the statistics say it all.
Andrew Hudson, the South African chairman of selectors had indicated to TOI just after the ODI series that the Tests against India could be his last. “We are looking at some changes after the India series
and Kallis could be the catalyst of those,” Hudson had said.
The South African cricket fraternity wasn’t too sure about it, but the chairman’s words proved to be true in two weeks’ time.
The South African team members were informed of Kallis’ decision to quit on Tuesday, even though they were asked to keep it a secret. “He told us yesterday that he is going to quit. It was an emotional moment for all of us,” a member of the South African contingent said, refusing to elaborate.
Kallis said that the last phase of his career was truly a memorable one. “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,” he said.
The Indian team, which came for practice at Kingsmead just after the news broke, was informed about it by the media. There wasn’t much of a reaction from the boys who gave a grand reception to Sachin Tendulkar on his farewell a month back.
“It’s still five days away…You have to wait and see what we have in store for Kallis,” Indian skipper MS Dhoni said after the practice session. There might be a guard of honour in store for the champion all-rounder, who has decided to stop seven Test centuries short of Tendulkar’s record of 51.
The South African cricket management didn’t give too much importance to the record and Kallis’s latest dip in Test form is being projected as one of the reasons behind his decision to quit. “We would have to see if Jacques has the motivation to break Sachin’s record,” Hudson had said, and it so happened that the all-rounder himself wasn’t too keen on going for the record.
The team, of course, will miss him, even though there are a host of talented cricketers like Quinton de Kock knocking the doors of Test selection. But there are many who believe that Kallis should have retired from ODIs instead.
Source: Times of India
Some would say Sobers was better than Kallis. But we feel that Kallis was the best all-rounder to have ever played the game. While his form in last few Tests was a concern, everyone including his critics backed him to regain it. But Kallis thought his time as a Test cricketer was up and announced his retirement. His retirement from Test cricket is a huge loss for many of his fans and for Test cricket. But his reassurance to play ODIs will be welcomed by his fans.
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