Praise has poured in from past and present players after Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket on Wednesday.
The Proteas ODI skipper AB de Villiers said Kallis will be missed in the Proteas’ environment, not just for his outstanding contributions in the middle.
‘His value and statistics on the field speak volumes, but his presence in the change room and willingness to teach the youngsters was immense,’ he said. ‘He has played a big role personally for me since making my debut for South Africa in 2004, and is a huge loss for South African cricket. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be making the journey with us to the World Cup, but we will definitely carry his resilience and professionalism with us out on the field.’
Hashim Amla shared similar sentiments, saying Kallis leaves a great legacy that many young cricketers can look up to and follow.
‘Jacques is a legend; sportsmen like him only come around once every five decades,’ Amla said. ‘He is an astute professional who always gave 100% for his country and I believe a lot of youngsters coming up can learn a lot from the way he shaped his career. He will be sorely missed in the dressing room, and in the slips where he was a trademark figure. It has been a pleasure to have shared the crease with him on a number of occasions, and I wish him well for the future. He has earned his break.’
Former South African players who shared a change room with Kallis also welcomed his decision.
‘He really wanted to win the World Cup, but I’ve always appreciated his honesty and I think he realised that he might let the team down,’ former captain Graeme Smith told News24. ‘He was honest enough to realise he might not be strong enough to make it through to next year, especially in terms of bowling and mentally.’
Smith went on to say that Kallis was among the greatest to have played the game.
‘It’s always difficult to compare players from different eras, but if you consider the amount of cricket Jacques played, the length of consistency at the top of the game and all the different conditions and challenges he performed in, then he’s got to be up there with the best who’ve ever played the game. In time, I’m sure his reputation will only go from strength to strength.’
ICC Chief Executive and former Proteas wicketkeeper David Richardson has thanked Kallis for his contribution to the sport.
‘Jacques Kallis will go down as one of the greatest all-round cricketers in the history of the game. Since making his international debut at the age of 20, he has been a mainstay of the South African line-up in all forms of the game,’ said Richardson.
The players who possibly felt the full extent of Kallis’ contributions were his opponents. Players from all over the world took to twitter to show their appreciation for what was an extraordinary career.
‘Well done Jacques Kallis on a superb career!!! Probably the only player we feared with both bat and ball in hand…Go well in retirement!’ – Former Sri Lankan batsman Russel Arnold.
‘Jacques Kallis congrats on a magnificent career mate! Best ever!’ – Former Australia quick Brett Lee
‘Jacques Kallis is the greatest ever allrounder in my opinion. The international game will miss him.’ – Former England captain Michael Vaughan.
The greatest praise however came from India’s duo of Ravi Shastri and Rahul Dravid. They spoke about Kallis’ incredible statistics after he retired from Test cricket in 2013.
‘The workload he has sustained is unbelievable,’ said Shastri. ‘To put it straight, he is a sum total of Rahul Dravid (13,288 Test runs) and Zaheer Khan (300 Test wickets).
‘I think he’s going to be even more respected and revered once he leaves, because then it`s going to be virtually impossible to find a replacement for that kind of cricketer who bats in your top four, bowls a very heavy ball, takes wickets, catches in the slips,’ said Dravid. ‘He does it all! We’re going to start appreciating and recognising him a lot more once he leaves.’
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