We have had a plethora of fantastic cricketers mesmerising us in recent times and many of these can be titled legends. Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid. Yet, one player who is always missed from this list is Jacques Kallis. Jacques Kallis might not have the flair of Lara or the natural ability to bat like Tendulkar. He might not be the best bowler but definitely one of the best slip fielders. Kallis is right up there in every department and in combination he is arguably the greatest all-rounder of this generation. He is up there with likes of Sir Garry Sobers and Imran Khan.
The 38 year old cricketer announced his retirement from all forms of cricket 8 months before the 2015 world cup. It is the only title that has eluded him in his illustrious career. This comes as a surprise to millions of his fans all over the world. Getting an international cap is dream come true for any cricketer. On the other hand, hanging up your boots is not an easy call to make. Poor fitness coupled with declining form in Sri Lanka led to the legendary all-rounder decided to call it quits. The fact that he didn’t prolong his career till 2015 world cup speaks tons about his character.
Picture Source: cricketchamber.comDuring his almost two decade career, Kallis played a total of 519 international matches. He scored 25,534 runs with 62 centuries and took 577 wickets besides 338 catches. Mind-boggling stats! To maintain such a high level of form and fitness is commendable and Kallis is an inspiration for every young cricketer looking to make a mark at the international level. The fact that he could still bowl faster than half the Indian pacers is a trademark of his cricketing abilities.
Jacques Kallis had a rather uneventful start to his career against England in 1995/1996.The first six innings with bat saw him pass 10 on only one occasion and bowling was average in those early days. But no one could question the young batsmen’s talent and his legendary first hundred. Against a McGrath and Warne-led Australian side, the feat was impressive. Add to that, a bowler friendly wicket at the MCG. December, 1997 announced the arrival of Kallis as an international batsman with an exquisite technique and class.
After that there was no looking back as Kallis scored consistently and his numbers speak for himself. He was a utility player for South Africa – consistent with the ball and was always there when his captain needed to break a partnership or give short bursts of pace and aggression. The importance of Kallis to South Africa cannot be examined. He was their main man and under his influence Proteas have marched to the top of international game.
With Kallis gone game of cricket has certainly got poorer and South Africa might never find a replacement for him. With his feats Kallis has etched his name in the golden history of cricket. We fans all over the world will be hoping to see him in action in different T20 competitions and to all those watching him, I say cherish these moments as we might never see a player like him again.