Jacques of all trades to hang up his Test whites

Jacques KallisDurban Test will not only be the 166th of Jacques Kallis' illustrious career; it'll also be his last (AP)

It was a hot Christmas day in Durban. The South African team had only called for an optional training session, but were present at Kingsmead nearly in full strength. While most of them had retreated to their newly air-conditioned dressing-room for a breather, the most senior member of the Protea camp continued to sweat it out under the searing sun.

Like always with Jacques Kallis, there were no half measures as he continued to run in at full steam and kept beating Rory Klienveldt's bat. He kept at it for close to 40 minutes before finally giving himself a break. Such was his intensity that you just couldn't have guessed that this was to be Kallis' final-ever practice session on the eve of a Test match.

Less than half-hour later, the news was out. The second India-South Africa Test in Durban will not only be the 166th of Kallis' illustrious career; it'll also be his last. "It's been an honour and a privilege to have been part of the South African Test team since making my debut 18 years ago. I have enjoyed every moment out in the middle but I just feel that the time is right to hang up my Test whites," Kallis was quoted as saying in CSA press release.

The release also said that the 38-year-old still remained available for selection in the limited-overs format with playing the 2015 World Cup his ultimate aim. "It wasn't an easy decision to come to, especially with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format," Kallis added.

During his 18-year long career that began right here in Kingsmead against England in 1995, Kallis remained an unsung and unassuming accumulator of runs and wickets, and clearly the foremost all-rounder of his time. The numbers he’s achieved with bat and ball though are nothing short of extraordinary. He's presently fourth on the all-time run-scorers list with 13,174 runs, second behind Sachin Tendulkar in terms of centuries and his average of 55.12 is only second behind Kumar Sangakkara when it comes to those with over 10,000 Test runs.

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