Undoubtedly, Jacques Kallis remains the most complete all-rounder of his time. No other player has fused batting and bowling ability and consistently performed for a decade and a half's stretch in multiple forms of the game as Kallis has.
Starting off as a batsman, Kallis made the first of his many tenacious hundreds by scoring 101 to save the match for South Africa against Australia in 1997 after being forced to follow on. With the cherry in hand, a 5/30 in the 1998 Knock Out trophy final helped South Africa beat West Indies and clinch glory.
Kallis remained a permanent member of the South African team, through hard times surrounding match-fixing and poor display at home in the World Cup. More significantly, Kallis has been the backbone of sides which rebuilt under Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith and carried their ascendency towards the top, chasing record scores and scalping series wins in previously unsettling conditions. All-rounders such as Brian McMillan and Lance Klusener remained in and out of the side but it was only Kallis whose dependability with bat and ball handed a prolonged stint in the side. His trademark cover drive over the top and the glance towards square leg would be two of the most glamorous shots in his repertoire. His batting average was among the best in the game despite a blip in 2008, while he had respectable bowling figures notching a wicket a match.
In Tests, Kallis has recorded centuries against every side, including one each on foreign soil. As his career progressed, he tried to balance out the work load. He sat out most of the limited overs series since 2012 to keep himself fit for the longest format. But after a lean patch in the longest format of the game in 2013, he decided to retire from Test cricket. He signed off in style with a century in Durban, helping South Africa win the home Test series against India.
Kallis played for the Bangalore franchise from 2008-2010 in the Indian T20 League but shifted base to Kolkata in 2011 and has been a part of the squad ever since. He played a significant role in winning Kolkata, their only league title in 2012 and was purchased for 5.5 crores as the franchise used their right to match card in the 2014 Indian T20 League auction.
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