In an exclusive interview to Sky Sports, South Africa’s legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis rewinded memories of his playing days.
Kallis who retired from international cricket in July last year admitted that he doesn’t miss playing the game anymore although he conveyed he misses being part of the South African dressing room.
“I don’t miss too much to be honest.
“I had a good run and I feel I have retired at the right time.
“May be it is one thing, the dressing room time amongst the guys but I certainly don’t miss anything from cricket point of view.
“I have been really proud to represent my country for 19 years and look back at it with a lot of pride.”
Kallis also gave hindsight on his post-retirement life and was glad to give something back to the game through his foundation.
“I have got a foundation that I run back home called ‘The Jacques Kallis Foundation’.
“It helps talented young cricketers to get to top schools throughout the country and give them an opportunity to live their dream.
“Basically to give them a life they wouldn’t have had if not for the foundation.
“It is nice I could give something back to the game. I would like to be remembered as someone who has given something back to the game rather than stats.”
Expressing his huge passion for golf, Kallis being the all-rounder he was also gave a try at the game, something which he regretted on not able to do during his career.
“I have managed to get a little bit of golf in. It has been a massive passion of mine and thoroughly enjoyed that.
“It was nice to spend a little bit more time with golf, something I wasn’t able to do while playing cricket and catching up with friends and families but hopefully I can improve in playing golf.”
Remembering his last day in Test cricket, the South African all-rounder was completely moved by the tributes he received on his retirement.
“It was incredible (the send-off on his retirement). Ideally it should have ended in Newlands but it didn’t end like that.
“But I got a fantastic ovation at Durban. It is where I started my career and it was fitting that I ended there.
“It was magnificent to have all the tributes from friends, families, players I have played with and the ones against, all the messages I got was very humbling.”
Kallis - rated as one of the best all-rounder to have played the game has been part of 166 Tests, 328 ODIs and 25 T20Is in career spanning 19 years.
The all-rounder scored 13289 Test runs and another 11579 in ODIs and 666 in T20Is respectively.
However it was not the stats that drive the 39-year-old.
“To be honest, winning the game for whatever side I played for is what drives me.
“Stats certainly don’t drive me. I hated losing and wanted to win.
“Whatever side I was playing for, I tried to make the best call at that time for me as an individual and play in the best way I can in that situation in order to win the game.”
Recollecting the memories of 2-0 win over England in England that allowed the South African team to displace their opponent at the top of the ICC Test rankings, Kallis said the win was like a World Cup triumph in the Test format.
“It was incredible.
“We worked so hard as a team and the period of time It took us to get there and obviously there was lot of sacrifices.
“It certainly was a proud day in order to play the cricket we have played to get to that point.
“Obviously there were some strong sides around – England, Australia, India.
“We got through all those challenges for us it was like winning the World Cup from the Test point of view."
Kallis also conceded that playing England and Australia in their respective countries was the toughest tour he was part of.
“Beating England against England is always tough. Along with that goes beating Australia in Australia. That was our two toughest series and we went on to do that twice.”
When asked about Kallis’ predictions for England’s upcoming Ashes tour and the tour of South Africa later in the year, the legendary all-rounder said it was wrong to write-off Cook’s men as they have always been a competitive side in the longer version of the game.
“England have always played well in South Africa and you got to play some good cricket to beat them.
“People are writing them off at the moment. But I think the Test side is a very different side as compared to their One-Day side.
“I think It will be a tough Ashes series.
“England need to really play well if they want to win it. When England come to South Africa it is still the same.
“England need to be at the top of their game but the game and players changes so quickly that could be very different by the time Ashes happens.
“There is still a lot of cricket before that. I am not going to predict too much. I will wait a little bit longer before saying who is going to come at top.”
Kallis, who has featured in four seasons for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League since 2011, will now join the support staff of the two-time champions when they take on Mumbai Indians on 8th April.
© Cricket World 2015