JOHANNESBURG: South African cricket great Jacques Kallis yesterday announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket.
The 38-year-old, South Africa’s all-time leading Test scorer with 13,174 runs, had already brought the curtain down on his Test career in December.
His decision means he will no longer be available for the Proteas’ one day and Twenty20 sides.
The all-rounder yesterday acknowledged that his
dream of playing in next year’s Cricket World Cup was “a bridge too far”.
He scored just five runs in three innings in a recent one-day international series in Sri Lanka
“I just knew on that tour that I was done,” Kallis said in a statement. “The squad that was in Sri Lanka is an amazing one and I believe they have a good chance of bringing the trophy home in March.”
It always seemed a long shot for Kallis to remain competitive through to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next February and March.
But he finished his one-day career with an outstanding record. In 328 matches he scored 11 579 runs at an average of 44.36, with 17 centuries and 86 fifties. He took 273 wickets at an average of 31.79, conceding only 4.84 runs an over. He was Man-of-the Match on 32 occasions.
South African one-day captain AB de Villiers said Kallis’ experience and tactical knowledge would be missed.
“His value and statistics on the field speak volumes, but his presence in the change room and willingness to teach the youngsters was immense,” said De Villiers.
“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.”
Test captain Hashim Amla said Kallis was “a legend”. “Sportsmen like him only come around once every five decades,” said Amla.
“He is an astute professional who always gave one hundred percent 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,” Amla added.
Kallis was sometimes criticised for scoring too slowly in one-day games. His batting strike rate of 72.89 was relatively modest but he was respected by his team-mates as an excellent judge of the tempo required to win a match. When Kallis scored runs, South Africa usually won.
Kallis played in 162 Test matches, scoring 13,289 runs at an average of 55.37 and took 292 wickets at 32.65. He is the only player in history to score more than 10,000 runs and take more than 250 wickets in both formats of the international game.
He played in 25 Twenty20 internationals, scoring 666 runs (average 35.05) and taking 12 wickets at 27.75.
He will continue to play Twenty20 cricket, saying he intends to honour contracts with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League and the Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash.