South African coach Russell Domingo on Wednesday said his team would "sorely" miss the "maturity" of Jacques Kallis in the dressing room and they have a challenge to manage the legendary all-rounder in a way that he could be in peak form before the 2015 ODI World Cup. (Read here)
Kallis announced his retirement from Test and first-class cricket on the eve of the Boxing Day Test against India but expressed wish to play the 2015 World Cup for South Africa.
"The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense, not just as a player but as a human being. I'm not sure we will ever see another player of that stature very soon. Jacques' calmness, maturity and presence in the change room will sorely be missed and hopefully he will still be able to play a role in this team's success in the near future," Domingo said.
Going through a lean patch of late, Kallis has featured in 165 Tests for South Africa, scoring 13174 runs at an average of 55.12. He struck 44 centuries and also took 292 wickets.
Domingo said it would be an important challenge for the team to selectively manage the 38-year-old cricketer, leading up to the 2015 ODI World Cup.
"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," he said.
Haroon Lorgat, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, was effusive in his praise for Kallis and said "it is fitting that his final Test should be on the same ground as the one on which he made his debut against England back in 1995."
"He has been a stalwart for many years and South Africa's recent triumphs and greatness have been built around him. He is a legend and his statistics speak volumes. Jacques has been ever present for the Proteas in the past 18 years," Lorgat added.
Kallis' teammates took to the twitter to pay glowing tributes to him. A number of Proteas players hit the right superlatives for one of the greatest all rounders of the game.
"It's been emotional few days knowing JK retiring. All I can say what a privilege to have played with the great man!" wrote South African skipper Graeme Smith.
"Hopefully, we can give him the send off he deserves over the next 5 days!gonna miss him immensely @jacqueskallis75 love you and grateful," he posted.
Opener Hashim Amla tweeted: "An amazing career from arguably South Africa's greatest sportsman. Lookin forward to one last game in whites with this legend."
South African middle-order batsman JP Duminy said it was an honour to share the dressing room with Kallis.
"Been an honour to share a changeroom with 1 of the gr8's of the game. May we give u the send off u thoroughly deserve."
Off-spinner Johan Botha wished Kallis "all the best" for his last Test in whites.
"All the best with your last Test @jacqueskallis75 !!Get "Slaz Door" going for 1 big score to finish!!Going to miss you in whites," he posted.
Former captain Kepler Wessels described Kallis as "the greatest cricketer this country has ever produced."
His former team-mates Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Herschelle Gibbs cherished the time spent playing with him.
"It is great that Cricket South Africa waited for him to decide and make the decision on his own. He deserved that respect," said Pollock.
"It is sad to see him go just ahead of the Test series against Australia early next year. He played his part in the drawn match against India at Johannesburg and looked in good touch in the second innings after his recent poor run. Guys like him do not take too long to bounce back."
Gibbs praised his decision to carry on playing limited-overs cricket.
"Kallis has a wealth of experience and South Africa have been in a rebuilding mode recently. It works out well for the team because he can guide the younger players with the World Cup coming up in 2015. He has been a fantastic cricketer for us and he will continue to do so, whatever cricket is now left in him," Gibbs said.
Ntini said: "I can just say this, he is an absolute legend not only on the field but also off it."
CSA president Chris Nenzani also lauded Kallis for his contribution through the Jacques Kallis Foundation.
"To me the greatest legacy he leaves us is the Jacques Kallis Foundation which offers underprivileged South Africans of all persuasions the priceless benefit of a quality education and the opportunity to live their dreams on the cricket fields. There are already a couple of youngsters from this programme who have gone on to represent SA Schools and SA under-19," Nenzani said.
Kallis (164) has played the most Tests for South Africa, ahead of Mark Boucher (146) and Graeme Smith (112). He also scored the most runs (13091), ahead of Smith (9134 runs) and Gary Kirtsen (7289 runs in 101 Tests). He leads the century-count by a mile, with 44 Test hundreds, ahead of 27 by Smith.
With 292 wickets, he is placed at number five in South Africa's all-time wicket-takers in Test cricket, after Shaun Pollock (421 in 108 Tests), Makhaya Ntini (390 in 101 Tests), Dale Steyn (341 in 68 Tests) and Allan Donald (330 in 72 Tests). With 199 catches, he is way ahead of Smith (161).