India will miss Sachin Tendulkar's experience when they tour South Africa in December, feels Jacques Kallis. Tendulkar retired from cricket on November 16 after playing his 200th Test in Mumbai. He had quit ODIs in 2012. The veteran South African all-rounder said in an interview that Tendulkar's solidity in the middle-order will make Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team vulnerable on pacy South African tracks.
Speaking to Times of India, Kallis said, "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." Tendulkar scored two Test centuries when India last toured South Africa in 2010-2011. (Read: Full interview in Times of India)
Thirty-eight-year-old Kallis is seven shy of Tendulkar's record 51 Test centuries, but the South African all-rounder, arguably one of the best in modern cricket, said he has never thought of chasing Tendulkar's numbers. "This is not on my mind and let me tell you, it's certainly not something what drives me," Kallis said. (Read: What went on at Sachin's dinner party)
Kallis himself is returning to cricket after a 20-month gap and with his eyes firmly on the 2015 World Cup Down Under, the burly champion is expected to make the ODI XI when South Africa play Pakistan in Cape Town on November 24. He will replace Faf Du Plessis, who is getting married and getting some time off. Kallis, who originally planned to return to the squad in the three-match ODI series against India, last played an ODI in February 2012 against New Zealand.
But Kallis is eagerly waiting for India to arrive in December. While saying India's new-look team will miss Tendulkar's experience, Kallis is aware that the young guns on Dhoni's roster are capable of firing. "I am sure that Sachin will be the first one to say that the game is always bigger than any individual. I firmly believe that the game will continue to be glamorous with new gladiators in the ring," Kallis said.
Kallis wished Tendulkar a happy innings with his family. "Sachin has had a great and long innings in the game. But I suppose this (retirement) is part of life, unfortunately. We will miss him a lot. Honestly speaking, it will feel quite strange playing against India at home without Sachin," Kallis said.