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Former players hail Kallis as the "greatest SA cricketer"

December 25, 2013 19:09 IST

Former players hail Kallis as the "greatest SA cricketer"

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As South Africa's the greatest all-rounder of his era, Jacques Kallis, called it time on his Test career, tributes flew in from various quarters in admiration of the legend. 
 
Kallis, cricket's fourth highest Test run-getter, on Wednesday, announced that he would be hanging his boots from the longer version of the game, however, for selection in the limited-over formats.
 
"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."
 
Former captain Kepler Wessels described Kallis as "the greatest cricketer this country has ever produced."
 

Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Paul Kane/Getty Images

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Legend both on and off the field

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His former team-mates Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Herschelle Gibbs cherished the time spent playing with him.

"It is great that Cricket South Africa waited for him to decide and make the decision on his own. He deserved that respect," said Pollock.

"It is sad to see him go just ahead of the Test series against Australia early next year. He played his part in the drawn match against India at Johannesburg and looked in good touch in the second innings after his recent poor run. Guys like him do not take too long to bounce back."

Gibbs praised his decision to carry on playing limited-overs cricket.

"Kallis has a wealth of experience and South Africa have been in a rebuilding mode recently. It works out well for the team because he can guide the younger players with the World Cup coming up in 2015. He has been a fantastic cricketer for us and he will continue to do so, whatever cricket is now left in him," Gibbs said.

"I can just say this, he is an absolute legend not only on the field but also off it," Ntini said.


Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

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Placed fifth in SA's all-time wicket-takers in Tests

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CSA president Chris Nenzani also lauded Kallis for his contribution through the Jacques Kallis Foundation.

"To me the greatest legacy he leaves us is the Jacques Kallis Foundation which offers underprivileged South Africans of all persuasions the priceless benefit of a quality education and the opportunity to live their dreams on the cricket fields. There are already a couple of youngsters from this programme who have gone on to represent SA Schools and SA under-19," Nenzani said.

Kallis (164) has played the most Tests for South Africa, ahead of Mark Boucher (146) and Graeme Smith (112). He also scored the most runs (13091), ahead of Smith (9134 runs) and Gary Kirtsen (7289 runs in 101 Tests). He leads the century-count by a mile, with 44 Test hundreds, ahead of 27 by Smith.

With 292 wickets, he is placed at number five in South Africa's all-time wicket-takers in Test cricket, after Shaun Pollock (421 in 108 Tests), Makhaya Ntini (390 in 101 Tests), Dale Steyn (341 in 68 Tests) and Allan Donald (330 in 72 Tests). With 199 catches, he is way ahead of Smith (161).


Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Arguably South Africa's greatest sportsman

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Kallis' teammates took to the twitter to pay glowing tributes to him. A number of Proteas players hit the right superlatives for one of the greatest all rounders of the game.

"It's been emotional few days knowing JK retiring. All I can say what a privilege to have played with the great man!" wrote South African skipper Graeme Smith.

"Hopefully, we can give him the send off he deserves over the next 5 days!gonna miss him immensely @jacqueskallis75 love you and grateful," he posted.

Opener Hashim Amla tweeted: "An amazing career from arguably South Africa's greatest sportsman. Lookin forward to one last game in whites with this legend."

South African middle-order batsman J P Duminy said it was an honour to share the dressing room with Kallis.

"Been an honour to share a changeroom with 1 of the gr8's of the game. May we give u the send off u thoroughly deserve."


Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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'He has been a stalwart for many years'

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Off-spinner Johan Botha wished Kallis "all the best" for his last Test in whites.

"All the best with your last Test @jacqueskallis75 !!Get "Slaz Door" going for 1 big score to finish!!Going to miss you in whites," he posted.

Haroon Lorgat, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, was effusive in his praise for Kallis and said "it is fitting that his final Test should be on the same ground as the one on which he made his debut against England back in 1995."

"He has been a stalwart for many years and South Africa's recent triumphs and greatness have been built around him. He is a legend and his statistics speak volumes. Jacques has been ever present for the Proteas in the past 18 years," Lorgat added.


Image: Jacques Kallis
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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