Proteas

Veterans heap praise on Kallis

2013-12-26 13:30
Jacques Kallis (Gallo Images)

Durban - Former South African captains Shaun Pollock and Kepler Wessels have  praised Jacques Kallis as one of South Africa's all-time great cricketers following the announcement that he will retire from Test cricket after this week's match against India at Kingsmead.

Pollock said on Thursday that Kallis had been responsible for taking South African cricket to a new level, as an all-rounder and specifically as a batsman.

"When I started playing, the benchmark for Test batsmen was an average of 40.

"There were some guys in other countries, pushing the envelope, averaging 50, and Jacques took our guys to the next level."

"He's been a wonderful cricketer," said Pollock.

"The statistics speak for themselves.

He didn't try and draw attention to himself, he just knew what his ability was and he went about it daily, doing his best for South Africa.

"He deserves all the credit he gets.

"There is no doubt he will be missed. He will go down as one of the legends.

"I can't compare him with (Garry) Sobers because I never saw Sobers but he is surely one of the greatest of all time."

Wessels, whose playing career spanned that of Kallis as well as those of Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards, South Africa's only two members of the International Cricket Council's hall of fame, said the total package provided by Kallis made him "probably the best player South Africa has produced.

That comes in a rich tradition of magnificent players, so that's saying something. I'm not going to compare him against Pollock and Richards because they were specialist batsmen but he batted as well as they did, he bowled exceptionally well and he caught very well."

Both former captains said they were not totally surprised by his decision to retire, although both said they had thought he might prolong his Test career until the end of an upcoming series against Australia, which ends at Newlands, his home ground, in March.

"You just know when it is time to go," said Wessels.

"Rather too early than too late.

"You realise that maybe your best days are behind you.

"You have set a certain standard and you don't want to perform below that. "

"I thought he would try and go out against Australia at Newlands but you know your own body," said Pollock.

"If you reach a stage where you don't have the motivation or feel you can't give of your best you know it's time to go."

Pollock and Wessels both said Kallis, 38, had set himself a tough target by stating he wanted to continue to play one-day international cricket until the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"As long as he keeps fit and plays in some one-day tournaments there is no reason why he can't play in the World Cup," said Pollock.

"The next one-day tournament is six or seven months away but if he believes he can do it I am sure he can make it."

Wessels also said fitness would be factor if Kallis was to give himself a chance of fulfilling his last remaining ambition - to be part of a South African team that won the World Cup.

"He brings a lot to the team," said Wessels.

"It is just a case that it is quite a long time to the World Cup but if he keeps himself busy, plays in the Twenty20 tournaments and plays as many one-day games as he can, it shouldn't be too difficult."

Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, who is commentating on the South Africa-India series, said Kallis was "one of the greatest of all time."

Gavaskar said Kallis would have to be considered for a world all-time XI.

"There have been many great all-rounders but not all of them could be selected as either a specialist batsman or a bowler, which has been the case with Kallis. It is difficult to compare different eras but to me Kallis was unique."

Current South African captain Graeme Smith said at the toss:"It's been an emotional few days.

"I have been chatting to Jacques since before the first Test.

"We want to put in a special performance for him in this match. 

"He is probably the greatest cricketer to come out of our country."

Kallis led the South African team onto the field at the start of the match to a standing ovation from the spectators.

Umpires Steve Davis and Rod Tucker also applauded Kallis before taking up their positions.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

R5m for Test-best Proteas

2014-04-15 14:01

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
57 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
06 July 2014
Sri Lanka v South Africa, Colombo 06:15
09 July 2014
Sri Lanka v South Africa, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium 11:00
12 July 2014
Sri Lanka v South Africa, Hambantota 06:15
Previous Results

Date Match Result
Vote

What was the No 1 reason for the Proteas losing their ICC World Twenty20 semi-final to India?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.