Former Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis received the Ikhamanga Award in the Silver Division from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.
The National Orders ceremony was held in Pretoria, and Kallis was recognised for his “contribution to the sport of cricket and for placing South Africa on the world sporting map. His stellar career & commitment to the sport inspired many young people to aim for excellence”, the Presidency said.
Kallis, who made his South African debut at 20 in 1995, played in 166 Test matches, 328 one-day internationals and 25 T20 Internationals.
The 43-year-old is the third highest run-scorer in Test cricket with 13 289 at an average of 55.37, and he retired in 2013.
Kallis also boasted excellent bowling and fielding records in the five-day arena, with 292 wickets and 200 catches.
The former Western Province stalwart is currently the head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, and was unable to attend the National Orders ceremony.
Instead, his wife Charlene and long-time manager Dave Rundle stood in for him.
The Order of #Ikhamanga is bestowed in SILVER on:— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) April 25, 2019
JACQUES KALLIS: For his contribution to the sport of cricket and for placing South Africa on the world sporting map. His stellar career & commitment to the sport inspired many young people to aim for excellence.#NationalOrders pic.twitter.com/aL1KEKh3HY
“Jacques’ long list of achievements hardly need repeating, but suffice it to say, he stands alongside the great Sir Garfield Sobers as the greatest batting all-rounder of all time, and is certainly our greatest player of the modern era,” Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe said in a statement.
“He earned his place in every Protea team he represented, both as a top-order batsman and as an outstanding swing bowler of lively pace.
“In addition, his slip-catching was legendary, and contributed significantly to the successes our fast bowlers enjoyed throughout his career.
“Most of important of all is the outstanding example he has set for the highest standards of sportsmanship and the traditions of the game to inspire not just aspiring young cricketers, but the youth of the entire country.”