Image courtesy of: The Guardian
Kallis has vowed to continue putting his country before himself
South Africa veteran batsman Jacques Kallis has announced that he plays cricket to win and make his country proud, which he believes should be the priority for all players instead of their accolades.
Kallis was recently named one of the top five players in the 150th edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, which is something he is extremely proud of and grateful for as well.
“It’s a great honour to be named one of the five cricketers of the year,” Kallis said. “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.”
Despite moving closer to retirement everyday, Kallis seems to be defying the age factor in the eyes of many cricket pundits and former players.
“Yeah, getting on in life now,” he said. “I’m 37, but still hungry, still enjoying it.
“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.”
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who played alongside Kallis during his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), honoured him as “one of the five great cricketers of all time”.
“He has so much talent and he is such a humble guy as well,” McCullum added. “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.”
Kolkata’s coach Trevor Bayliss also praised Kallis, calling him a force to be reckoned with when he bats or bowls.
“He just keeps doing it – batting and bowling,” Bayliss 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.”