Exactly at 12.37 p.m. on Christmas day, South Africans busy relishing a festive lunch, had to cope with grim reality. A mail from Cricket South Africa broke the news that Jacques Kallis ‘will retire from Test and First-Class cricket after the second Test against India’.

Incidentally, the press release added that ‘Kallis remains available for selection in the limited-over formats’.

Describing his decision, that was the subject of speculation over the last few weeks, Kallis said: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to have been part of the South African Test team since making my debut 18 years ago. “I just feel that the time is right to hang up my Test whites. It wasn’t an easy decision to come to, especially with Australia around the corner, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format.”

Mind-boggling numbers

Kallis has mind-boggling numbers across all departments of the game and in 165 Tests, has 13,174 runs, 44 hundreds, 292 wickets and 199 catches.

One of the game’s legends, be it for his batting or his all-round skills, Kallis was quick to highlight that he is available for limited overs games.

“I don’t see it as a goodbye because I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing. Winning an IPL title with the Kolkata Knight Riders was a special achievement, and I am still determined to taste that success with South Africa at an ICC event,” Kallis said.

South Africa’s cricketing fraternity was effusive in its tributes to its greatest cricketer.

Excerpts

South Africa coach Russell Domingo: The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense. I am not sure we will ever see another player of that stature very soon. He has ambitions of playing in the 2015 World Cup and it will be important to manage him accordingly.

Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani: We are entering a new era with three of the icons of the game — Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and now our own Jacques Kallis — departing the Test arena within a short space of time.

CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat: Jacques Kallis has simply been the Proteas’ Rock of Gibraltar. Their recent triumphs and greatness has been built around him. I look forward to see how in the years ahead we can engage his superb knowledge and experience.

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