Kallis Happy With Retirement Timing

September 29, 2014

Former South Africa allrounder Jacques Kallis has said that his decision to retire from international cricket was well considered and not taken at the spur of the moment. Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Kallis revealed he felt "the time was right" to walk away from the game despite making his ambitions of playing the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand public earlier.

"I have always said the day I wake up and I don't have that feeling of wanting to play international cricket, I'll call it quits and that's exactly what happened," he said. "I was always going to be honest with myself about that. It would have been nice to get through to the 2015 World Cup but I'm certainly not going to play if I am even 1% off from where I should be for international cricket."

Kallis announced his decision to retire after scores of 0,1 and 4 in the three-ODI series against Sri Lanka in July. He had announced his Test retirement in December 2013 after the final Test against India in Durban. "I know I have made the right choice. I sleep comfortably at night," he said. "I felt I had spent enough time away from home, other things were more important than international cricket to me."

Over the course of his career, Kallis was part of five World Cup campaigns that ended in defeat. He insists the tag of chokers is "overused" and is regarded as a "joke" within the side. According to Kallis "little things have gone wrong at the wrong time" in previous World Cups for South Africa. "Somewhere along the line I can guarantee you South Africa will win a World Cup and the way the team is playing at the moment, there's no reason it can't be the one coming up."

While Kallis' international career might be over after 166 Tests and 328 ODIs, he intends to continue playing T20 cricket around the world for a few more years. Currently in India for the Champions League T20 as a member of Kolkata Knight Riders, Kallis said he enjoyed the role of mentoring younger players. "When I grew up, seniors did that for me. I have 20 years of knowledge and I can pass that on to some of the youngsters and help them become cricketers they want to become."

Knight Riders, who won their second IPL title in three years in June, are currently on a hot streak of 12 consecutive victories. Kallis credited the success to the players getting on well both "on and off the field". "The side was very cleverly and well chosen. Sometimes being a good cricketer doesn't mean you are going to become a good team man," he said. "The side has very much been selected on guys getting on well off the field which sometimes plays a massive role on the field."

They were the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the CLT20, racking up three successive wins, but Kallis insists there is no talk about the title in the dressing room. "Not a word has been spoken about that yet. We take it one game at a time. That's been a strength of this side; it's the reason why we've won 12 in a row because we haven't looked ahead."

Despite the growing popularity of T20 Kallis, who is the second-highest century maker and third-highest run-getter in Test cricket, believes the longest format of the game is "healthy". "I believe there's no need to change anything about Test cricket," he said. "Cricketers still want to be judged at how good they are in Tests. I think T20 has been magnificent for the game, it has speeded up Test cricket, made it more exciting, brought new audiences to Test cricket."


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