ARGUABLY THE GREATEST CRICKETER OF ALL TIME
By: Lucky Khanyile
Jacques Kallis recently announced his retirement from international cricket after nineteen years as arguably the best cricketer to have ever graced international cricket.
King Kallis, as he is affectionately known, was described by Australian commentator, Mark Nicholas as ‘the standard bearer for the nation who made South Africa proud and the world take notice’.
Having played in 166 test matches and 328 ODIs, he went on to become the leading run-getter for the Proteas in both formats. Kallis said, “I was lucky to remain injury free. I had a very strong mental strength and my technique was solid.”
The 38-year-old made his test debut at the age of 20 against England in Durban. He scored only one run in the first innings and did not bat in the second but this did not deter his dream of becoming the best all-rounder of his generation. He went on to record his ODI debut in 1996 against the same opponent in Cape Town, making only four runs in the match.
It is not all doom and gloom as far as his playing days are concerned though as he will play on in the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League in Australia. “At the moment I will play in IPL and Big Bash cricket until the end of next year,” he said.
The Capetonian believes it was time he called it a day after long 19 years of grueling travels playing test all around the world. He believes that it was time he spends quality time with his family after he was away on tour most of the time.
“…spending time with my friends and family and have fun no matter where we are is what I intend to focus on,” said the all-rounder.
The right-hander is already giving back to community as he established the Jacques Kallis foundation sponsoring schools like his former school Wyneberg Boys High. The other schools are Pretoria Boys High School, Maritzburg College and Selborne College all in different provinces.
His contribution to cricket has been praised by CSA Chief Executive Officer, Haroon Lorgat.
“He has played a huge part in making cricket a truly national sport of winners and, in doing so, contributed so much to the important process of nation building. He is a true professional and it has been an absolute privilege to have worked with him both as Convener of selectors and now as Chief Executive,” he said.