DURBAN: Jaques Kallis, one of the greatest all rounders of the game, today announced his retirement from Test cricket after the Durban Test against India, starting tomorrow, but will continue to play in the One-day format.
Going through a lean patch of late, Kallis has featured in 165 Tests for South Africa, scoring 13174 runs at a stunning average of 55.12. He also took 292 wickets and 199 Test catches, proving what a quality cricketer he has been for his team in the last 18 years.
With 44 hundreds under his belt, Kallis was closest to Tendulkar’s record of 51 Test centuries and the possibility of surpassing incredible figure by any batsman has diminished further.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel the time is right. I don’t see it as goodbye, I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing,” Kallis said in a statement.
Kallis is currently fourth on the list of leading run-getters in Test cricket, behind Tendulkar (15921 runs in 200 Tests), Ricky Ponting (13378 runs in 168 Tests) and Rahul Dravid (13288 runs in 164 Tests).
He is the greatest all-rounder the game has seen, at least in terms of statistics, leaving behind Sir Garfield Sobers (8032 runs, 235 wickets, 109 catches in 93 Tests) and Sir Ian Botham (5200 runs, 383 wickets, 120 catches in 102 Tests.) “It’s been an honor and a privilege to have been part of the South African Test team since making my debut 18 years ago. I have enjoyed every moment out in the middle but I just feel that the time is right to hang up my Test whites,” Kallis said of his decision.
Following Kallis’ retirement, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will remain the only active players, who feature in the top-10 century scorers in the Test cricket.
Tendulkar leads the list with 51 centuries and is followed by Kallis (44), Ponting (41), Dravid (36), Sunil Gavaskar (34), Brian Lara (34), Sangakkara (33), Steve Waugh (32), Jayawardene (31) and Matthew Hayden (30).
Both Sangakkara and Jayawardene are already 36 years of age and their chances to surpass Tendulkar in the list look remote.
Kallis was part of the Test team that became the world’s number one ranked side in the format after defeating England away in 2012. However, he will have one regret, not winning an ODI World Cup with the Proteas.
They lost to Australia in the semi-finals in the 1999 World Cup in England as well as in the 2007 edition in the West Indies.
The closest he has come to a major ODI trophy was when he played a stellar role in their victory at the ICC Knock-Out Trophy in Bangladesh in 1998, scoring 37 runs and taking 5-30 to beat West Indies in the final.
He had earlier scored an unbeaten 113 against Sri Lanka in the semi-final of that tournament, to propel his side into the summit clash. -PTI