Durban: Former South African captain Shaun Pollock termed Jacques Kallis as the "greatest allrounder of the modern era" and someone who can only be compared to the contemporary legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara to name a few.
"In the modern era, he will go down as the greatest allrounder, if not the cricketer. I can't compare with others that I didn't see play. I don't know what [Sir Garfield] Sobers was like. From what I have experienced, Kallis was certainly the greatest allrounder of my generation," Pollock said at a press conference on Saturday.
"The people you would be comparing him with would be Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and maybe Rahul Dravid as well. Lara for example, was more flamboyant. Sachin, we all know, went in at age 16, having the reputation that he did in India meant that he got a lot of accolades and brought a lot of attention to himself".
According to Pollock, Kallis was a silent performer who always did his bit for the team. "Whereas Jacques just got on with his business, continuously getting runs, being the backbone of our batting line-up for a long period of time. Even on his bowling contributions, it was always two or three wickets he used to pick up.
"But there weren't many performances that brought a lot of attention to him. He was always there doing his part. And I think that's why in many ways, he slipped underneath the radar.
"We appreciated him here. But maybe we didn't give him as much attention, didn't give him as many accolades as Ponting or Sachin got in Australia or India," said Pollock.
Pollock believes that Kallis was the man who raised the benchmark for the South African batsmen. "I think Kallis has been a catalyst for many South African batsmen. At that time, we had a lot of batsmen averaging in the 40's or just over-40. He raised the benchmark. He took it to a new level. Guys have followed suit.
Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers all the guys who have come after have set themselves new standards of what is a good average and what is to be achieved."
Pollock also spoke about the contribution that Kallis' father had and how loyal a friend he had been over the years.
"His [Kallis] mother passed away when he was young, so his dad played a huge role. His dad had made a lot of sacrifices for him and really supported him through his career. I know when he gets 50s or 100s he always acknowledges his dad.
"Jacques always came across, to me, as a very loyal person, whether it was to team-mates, friends or sponsors. He always respected people for the value they added to his life".
The former South African speedster had an inkling about Kallis' mindset while watching him during the last series against Pakistan in the UAE.
"I think Jacques would have thought about it a lot. In the UAE, in the last Test match, there were a few moments, when you watched him that you did get the feeling that something was playing on his mind. The time to go is when you're on top, when people are asking is it the time or is it not. So all credit goes to him".
Pollock feels that a player of Kallis' stature could have continued playing for another season or two had he expressed his desire for doing so.
"If he wanted to play, you'd pick him for the next year or two. I'm just happy that he announced it before this Test match because he's going to get a bit of fuss because that's what is deserved after the effort he's put in".
Finding Kallis' replacement is next to impossible but Pollock believes that a certain amount of flexibility in the South African set-up might just help them find a better balance instead of trying to find a suitable substitute.
"The key is going to be balance. If you take Jacques out of this line-up, shift all the batsmen up slightly and bring in someone like Ryan McLaren who brings both aspects a bit, and then you have Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander who can also contribute a bit with the bat.
"I think that's the way going for South Africa as you can't keep the licking the wounds for the five years to come," Pollock explained.
"We need to come up with a plan as how we can be successful without Jacques, as he has been a massive influence and he has contributed in all facets. We will have to come up with a plan, there's no doubt about that. He should be missed because of what he has achieved," Pollock signed off.
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