It's been one big fun experience, says the man with the famous, toothy smile
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For all the runs and the wickets that he left us with, Jacques Kallis will also be remembered for his toothy grin.
That characteristically shy smile that he flashed after every milestone and every wicket during his 18-year long career. On Monday, the toothy grin was everywhere. Kallis was on top of the world in the final scene of his glorious chapter. And it only got wider and more sheepish as he walked into a packed press conference room that accorded him with a standing ovation.
Even Kallis, that Atlas-like figure, the man with the poker-face, had failed to hide his emotions as his teammates carried him around Kingsmead.
There were no tears. It was a surprisingly jolly and upbeat Kallis that met the media for the final time as a South African Test cricketer.
"It was a tough call for me. 18 years ago I was sitting there. Not much has changed. I've got a little older, got a little bit wiser, lost a little bit of hair, gained a little bit of hair. I really have been fortunate," he said.
The end was low-key. Just like the announcement of his retirement-made public through a press release on the day before the Kingsmead Test.
Kallis said he wouldn't have had it any other way. He scored 13, 289 runs, took 292 wickets and snared 200 catches. But never did he scream out for attention. Never was Kallis in search of any publicity.
"I enjoyed not being in the media and getting on with the job and leave that up to a few guys who are more out there with their personalities. We came to an agreement (with the CSA). I could still play the last game. It gave people a chance to say goodbye," explained Kallis.
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