Bangalore: When Jacques Kallis was named one of five Cricketers of the Year in the 150th edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, most reactions were along the lines of 'What, he hadn't been named all these years?' But the man himself, currently plying his trade with Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, wore the new mantle lightly, focusing on the job in hand instead.
"It's a great honour to be named one of the five cricketers of the year," Kallis told the team's official channel. "I obviously had a pretty good season with South Africa and it's nice to be rewarded for that. But having said that, you don't play the game for those accolades, you play the game to win for the team you are playing for. So nice as it is to win the accolade, it's nice that the team had a good year as well."
Kallis is obviously closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but that has not affected his performances. "Yeah, getting on in life now ... I'm 37, but still hungry, still enjoying it," he said. "There's still a lot to achieve in the game. As long as I wake up in the morning hungry to play this game, wanting to get results for the team that I play with ... I'll go on till the body holds out.
"I'm not a big one for setting personal goals. I prefer setting targets for the team and helping the team out in situations. My target would just be to make great decisions during big moments in the games."
Calling Kallis "one of the five great cricketers of all time", Brendon McCullum, his Kolkata team-mate, said, "He has so much talent and he is such a humble guy as well. He's achieved so much, he deserves every accolade he's going to get by the time he is finished. He is such a great guy. A great team man. And it's a privilege to play with him."
Trevor Bayliss, coach of the Kolkata team, added that having Kallis in the mix had allowed greater flexibility in both batting and bowling. "He just keeps doing it - batting and bowling," he said. "The longevity he has shown at the very highest end of the cricket world has been fantastic and as I said, he continues to do it. He's one of the greats of world cricket. He'll be remembered for a long time when he eventually gives it away."