Jacques Kallis retires July 31, 2014

Smith appreciates Kallis' 'honesty'

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Cullinan: A brave decision from Kallis

Graeme Smith, the former South Africa captain, has said that Jacques Kallis retired from international cricket because he realised he might no longer have the mental strength to last till the 2015 World Cup, and that he could not face the possibility of letting his team down.

Kallis had quit Tests late last year and decided to call time on his limited-overs career after making 0, 1 and 4 in Sri Lanka earlier this month.

"I've been calling him an 'old man' and asking him what he's doing out there, but I had a hint that he might decide to retire after he came back from Sri Lanka and realised that it would take a lot of hard work for him to get through to the World Cup," Smith told sport24. "When you're playing full-time it's easier, but focus is very crucial at international level and I think he was wondering if his mind is really on it.

"He really wanted to win the World Cup, but I've always appreciated his honesty and I think he realised that he might let the team down. He was honest enough to realise he might not be strong enough to make it through to next year, especially in terms of bowling and mentally."

After Kallis' return to the ODI side last year, the challenge for South Africa had been to build the side around him but Smith said the timing of his exit six months before the World Cup had given the team time to make up for his absence.

"He's given the team enough space tactically to fill his gap with other guys but it's obviously always sad when players of his calibre move on. But he's had an incredible career which we can all celebrate and look back on fondly. He brought so much happiness and South African cricket got a lot out of Jacques in so many different eras."

Smith said that Kallis was among the greatest to have played the game. "It's always difficult to compare players from different eras, but if you consider the amount of cricket Jacques played, the length of consistency at the top of the game and all the different conditions and challenges he performed in, then he's got to be up there with the best who've ever played the game. In time, I'm sure his reputation will only go from strength to strength."

Hashim Amla, the South Africa Test captain, also praised Kallis, calling him a "one-in-50-years" cricketer. "Jacques was a one-in-50-years cricketer who had a huge influence on so many Proteas players over a twenty-year period. I was privileged to have been one of those. You appreciate the magnitude of the cricketer not only when you look at his record but also when you play alongside him."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Too hard to judge between Kallis and Sobers - both excellent and easily the two best all-rounders I have seen.

  • Amol on August 2, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    Since all the other legends have been dragged in here for the comparison, I would say Kallis is the greatest Cricketer OVERALL ever (the greatest batsmen being Sachin and Lara) . I put Kallis ahead of Sobers, he being comparable to Sobers for being a batting all-rounder and not a bowling one (Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Hadlee, Pollock etc).

  • Varnendra on August 1, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    @ Gulzar Nathani . Imran and Kallis are many levels lower than Richards and Sobers. And no one is comparable with Don Bradman; not even Pele and Muhammed Ali. Don Bradman is the greatest sportsman ever.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Congratulation to the Great Jacques Kallis , I enjoyed his game. His consistency is equal to the Great Legends Sachin Tendulkar, Rickiponting , Garfield Sobers, Hats up & Best Wishes.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    the best all round cricketer I have ever seen after Imran khan!!!! he has shown us the ability to perform in the most crucial stage in the name of game of uncertain "CRICKET"!Salute you buddy!

  • Gokula Krishnan on August 1, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    Good decision, all the senior players should take this into consideration.

    If a player who feel's he might not be fit in future games and quits playing cricket, then why not senior players who are not fit, are not leaving spot for younger players to get in.

    Even though this will not be applicable for all the teams, it will with Indian cricket team, where still lot of talented players waiting for a chance.

    Keep going Kallis, there are lot many things in this world other than playing cricket, world requires contribution from great people like him in other fields as well.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    To me, the greatest all round cricketer.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    today one of the greatest player of cricket has retired from the 22 yard pitch.Nobody can match him because he has taken 250+ wickets & 11,000+ runs both in test and ODI in international cricket . He did not play for him rather than he always played for his country and other cricket teams.He is one of the legends of cricket.He is known as the greatest all rounder of all times. Me and your fans will never forget you and we salute you for giving us inspiration,entertainment,and showing your determination towards cricket.You will always be my sporting idol "KING KALLIS"

  • Deep on August 1, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    @AltafPatel woah woah waoh. Not one of Dravid's 210 catches was a good one? He slipped against spinners like Harbhajan and Kumble whereas Kallis didn't slip against quality spinners. For example, watch Dravid's 200 catch. Kallis was absolute champion in all three fields, but as a slip catcher and batsmen Dravid eclipses him by a touch.

  • Prem on August 1, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    It is great to see recent South African cricketers like Smith, Kallis etc who have called time when they felt they were not contributing to the team - compare this with other cricketes like Cook recently, Laxman at the end of his days etc who continued to inisist they deserved a spot in the team even though they were not performing.

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