Jacques Kallis: Driblets of warmth while signing off in style

A Jacques Kallis fan holding up a poster with the line "Kallis drank from cricket's chalice" walked around the Kingsmead stadium during the match to pay respect to his hero.
By Khurram Habib | Hindustan Times, Durban
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2013 10:08 PM IST

A Jacques Kallis fan holding up a poster with the line "Kallis drank from cricket's chalice" walked around the Kingsmead stadium during the match to pay respect to his hero.

A couple of hours later, while on his farewell lap around the ground, Kallis halted in front of a stand with Allan Donald, and his teammates. Donald asked someone from the crowd to toss a can of beer he was drinking from and asked Kallis to take a sip from it.

As the scene flashed on the big screen, the 7000-odd crowd roared and applauded. It was probably the best way Kallis could have thanked his loyal fans, having signed off his remarkable career with the crushing Test win earlier on Monday.

Such fans were very few, keeping in mind the unglamorous image he had built of himself compared to other legends; but the fans still were crazy about him and knew what they were losing.

Strong, silent
"That's my personality. That's the way I am. I keep a low profile and I perform well in that image. We had decided to keep my farewell this way," was Kallis's reply when asked about it after the match. He had a few tears in his eyes but he composed himself.

For a man who has been intensely private throughout his career, he appreciated those who'd stood by him and helped him, his teammates, and especially all his girlfriends.

MS Dhoni carries home the memory of a very quiet person. Asked to say something about Kallis, he said, "He didn't speak much on the field" even if a lot was happening.

Call him calm or aloof but the way he controlled himself and then patiently obliged everyone with signatures and photographs exemplified the reserves of patience he had while holding South Africa's batting together, even while copping criticism for batting too slowly.

The entire South Africa team had trooped out moments after the game wearing a special T-shirt. The following line was printed on the back: "The only player to score 10,000 runs and take 200 wickets" and on the front it had 'Thank You JK' with his picture.

"I will probably play a bit of golf after this," said the man himself.

However, his focus is on qualifying for the 2015 World Cup squad. If he does that, he'll be only the third player to play six World Cups.

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