Jacques Kallis, one of the greatest all-time all-rounders, wants to play the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The 38-year-old, who has decided to retire from Test cricket after the second Test against India in Durban starting Thursday, has played 325 ODIs scoring 8680 runs and bagging 273 wickets. Kallis said in a statement on Christmas Day: "I don't see it as 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." (Jacques Kallis to retire from Tests after India series)
Although most top cricketers in their late thirties tend to prolong their Test careers and avoid the stressful shorter format of the game, Kallis has done the reverse. His current Test form has been rather pale considering his lofty standards and the decision to play ODIs and T20 has clearly come because the South African team management still sees value in the robust all-rounder. (A fitting finale awaits Jacques Kallis)
Kallis' sudden retirement has taken the world by surprise. Sunil Gavaskar is one of the many who never saw it coming. For Kallis too, it wasn't an automatic decision considering he still remains a batting mainstay for the world's No. 1 Test side in any format. (Preview: Jacques Kallis' final hurrah in white kits)
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 have enjoyed every moment out in the middle but 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 and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format." (India have edge in Durban: Gavaskar)
Once the world's leading all-rounder in ODIs, Kallis has been rather choosy about the shorter format of the game in the last couple of years. He hadn't played ODI cricket for close to two years and even opted out of the ICC Champions Trophy in June this year. After a chat with national coach Russell Domingo, Kallis returned to the 50-over format but his form remained below par. (India will lash out at South Africa in Durban: Pujara)
Kallis played the recent home series against Pakistan and scored a half-century. Kallis has turned out in three ODIs since then, sitting out of the dead-rubbers against both Pakistan and India, scoring 26 runs and claiming three wickets. South Africa do not play any one-day cricket until next July against Zimbabwe. This effectively means Kallis will be out of international cricket for nearly seven months after the Kingsmead Test. South Africa play a five-match series against Australia and another five matches against West Indies at home before the 2015 World Cup. If Kallis plays in all those matches, he will turn out 13 more times for South Africa before the World Cup. " 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."
Proteas' coach, Russell Domingo, says the team will miss Kallis' presence in the team environment. "He has ambitions of playing in the 2015 World Cup and it will be important for us to manage him accordingly so that he is in prime form leading into the tournament," said Domingo.