Calling Jacques Kallis a 'true champion', Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has welcomed the South African to the retirees' club. Tendulkar joined legions of fans across the world, who have paid tribute to the legendary all-rounder Kallis, who retired from Test cricket after the series victory against India in Durban on Monday. (Series win a perfect tribute: Smith)
Sachin, who himself retired from international cricket in November, tweeted: "It's been a joy to have played against you. Jacques you are a true Champion. Retired life isn't so bad :-))" (Related: Superhero Kallis says 'Thank You')
Kallis and Tendulkar shared a healthy rivalry during their playing careers. Ahead of the India versus South Africa series that ended on Monday, Kallis said India will be poorer without Tendulkar, who retired from cricket on November 16 after playing his 200th match in Mumbai. "One of the many things that Sachin brought to the setup was experience of playing in the South African conditions. In his absence, India would certainly miss that," Kallis said in an interview.
The last couple of Tendulkar's record 51 Test hundreds came in South Africa. In December 2010, when India last toured the Rainbow Nation, Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 111 in Centurion. The knock, however, went in vain as India crashed to an innings defeat as South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Tendulkar and Kallis have dominated Test cricket ever since they arrived on the international scene. Tendulkar, with 15,921 runs, holds the record for the most runs in the longest format of the game while Kallis is third on the list with 13,289. Both the legendary batsmen left a mark in their final innings. While Tendulkar scored a fluent 74 against the West Indies in Mumbai in November, Kallis hit a match-winning 115 for the Proteas at Kingsmead. It was his 45th Test ton.
While Tendulkar is devoting much of his 'retired' life to charity work -- he is a UNICEF brand ambassador, Kallis has pledged a lot of his time to his foundation. The aim of the Jacques Kallis Foundation is to sponsor learners from disadvantaged backgrounds by offering them the opportunity to attend one of four established cricket schools, which will then allow the students to achieve their full sporting potential as well as a solid foundation in academic and life skills programmes. Tendulkar is championing for better sanitation.