The word “Complete Cricketer” fits aptly on the former South African Cricketer, Jacques Kallis. The 38 year and 287 days old veteran South African all-rounder has announced his retirement from International Cricket today, which made space for the word “Former” to sit before his name. According to the viewpoint of a Cricket lover, today marked the end of an era in Cricket. The South African legend made his debut in Cricket in a test match against England in December, 1995. And today the fairy-tale alike cricketing journey in International Cricket ended for him. Throughout his 19-years of International Career, he has made immense contributions for the South African cricket. He was a genuine great batsman, a perfect medium pacer and also a brilliant fielder, particularly in the slip cordon. What more a team is needed when you have player of this class!
He has won several matches for South Africa by his all-round performances and also he perfectly used to fit himself in every format of the game, be it a T20 or an ODI or the test. He has been compared with batting greats of his time in the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and others. Also, he has been compared with bowling greats like Zaheer Khan, Jimmy Anderson, Brett Lee and other fast bowlers. With a batting average of 55.37 in Tests and 44.36 in ODIs and also with good bowling averages does make Jacques Kallis a complete cricketing legend. He was like a Colossal to the South African line up at no. 4. South African predominantly depended upon him for most of the times.
Kallis was also pretty consistent throughout his career. There have been very few phases in his career when he was out of form. Sometimes, he did face troubles due to injuries which detained him from bowling but he was a reliable batsman throughout. He has scored a test century in every year since 1997 and he averaged over 35 in each of the year.
Let us draw some of the batting statistics of the batsman.
- Kallis is the third highest run scorer in Test Cricket with 13,289 runs. Only Sachin and Ponting is ahead of him in the list.
- Kallis is the 7th highest run scorer in ODIs with 11,579 runs. Sachin Tendulkar leads the chart with 18,426 runs.
- It might sound bizarre to some but it is fact that Jacques Kallis has a better test batting average than the likes of legendary batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar and others.
- Kallis is the 2nd player in the list with most number of Test Centuries with 45 centuries. The Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar leads the chart with 51 centuries.
He was no less majestic in the bowling department too and some of his spells brought victory to South Africa from apparently no where. Let us now draw into some of the bowling statistics of this perfect all-rounder.
- Kallis is the 5th highest wicket taker by a South African bowler with 292 test wickets. Pollock, Ntini, Steyn and Donald are ahead of him.
- He is the 2nd Highest wicket taker by a South African bowler in ODIs with 273 wickets. Pollock is ahead of him.
Apart from batting and bowling, there is a third and one of the most important aspect in the game. That is fielding. Kallis’ eminency in that aspect too is widespread. He had a safe pair of hands and perhaps one of the greatest slip fielders of all time. Let us focus on his fielding records too.
- Kallis stands 3rd Highest in the list of Highest Catches by a Fielder in Tests with 200 catches. Dravid leads the chart with 210 catches and is followed by Jayawardene with 200* catches.
- He stands 6th Highest in the list of most number of catches by a fielder in ODIs with 131 catches.
No other player in the universe has over 25,000 international runs with over 550 international wickets and with over 300 international catches. Jacques Kallis is perhaps the most distinct in this list and he is undoubtedly one of the greatest all-rounders in the game. Perhaps he is The Best All-rounder. Cricket is perhaps a number’s game and his Numbers speaks of his talent.
But this legend has never been in the limelight despite of his all-round brilliance. Also, he retires with the unfulfilled dream of being a World Cup Winner. South Africa is yet to win a World Cup but on the other hand, South Africa is the Ranked 1 test team according to the present ICC rankings. This is one thing, he must be proud of and he has immense contribution in taking his team to the prime spot.
He will ever be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers with some giant-alike records.