Kallis, role-model for aspiring cricketers

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Jacques Kallis, who has announced his retirement from Test cricket after 18 years, will remain in peoples minds as one of South Africas greatest cricketers.

Jacques Kallis, who has announced his retirement from Test cricket after 18 years, will remain in people’s minds as one of South Africa’s greatest cricketers.

However, Wynberg Boys’ High School principal Keith Richardson, who coached Kallis when he began playing at the school in 1989, will remember him as the ideal role model for aspiring cricketers.

In the early years Richardson admits that the all-rounder was not the most talented player in the squad, yet the coach was blown away by his dedication and commitment to be the best.

“He had this real desire to succeed. He would always put in the extra time at the nets and he worked harder.

“There were times when he was teased and criticised for his slow batting but he just had this innate ability to ignore any sort of criticism.”

After making the first team as an opening batsman when he was in Grade 10, Kallis began building a reputation for the school.

“Jacques became known at school as someone who did not give his wicket away, and that is something that has inspired many of the boys at the school today.

“They all want to be just like Jacques Kallis, and that’s the legacy that he has left behind.”

In 2009 the school honoured the all-rounder by renaming their cricket pitch the Jacques Kallis Oval after he became the first South African to achieve 10 000 Test runs.

“We had a big unveiling back then and we invited Jacques to attend. On the day I told him that if he scores his first 200 then he will also get a bench named in his honour at the stadium. A few months later he scored the 200, so now he also has a bench.”

Three trees also stand in the school grounds in honour of Kallis, due to a long-standing school tradition of planting a tree every time a Wynberg boy scores a century.

“Jacques has earned many accolades in his playing career, which is what most people will talk about.

“However it is the drive and commitment that he showed to become a great that we will always remember.

“His work ethic was incredible and his career proves the value of always trying his hardest and his dedication.”

In 2005 the champion all-rounder started the Jacques Kallis Scholarship Foundation which so far has given no fewer than 39 young cricketers the chance to attend and play for four schools, Maritzburg College, Pretoria Boys High, Selborne College and Wynberg.

Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) president Beresford Williams was also full of praise for Kallis, who played 31 first-class games for Province.

“We are blessed to have had a player like Kallis in South Africa and it was made better that he played most of his domestic cricket for Province.

“He will go down as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time and he fully deserves the accolade.”

Since hearing about Kallis’s retirement the WPCA have begun discussing ways to honour South Africa’s brilliant all-rounder.

“The country should celebrate one of our greatest sporting sons for all that he has accomplished.

“There are many ways we can honour him at Newlands, but we will need to find the perfect way to do so.” - Cape Argus


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