Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, friends for almost two decades, were the longest-serving members of the South African squad and also live next door to each other. They share a very deep friendship, and when Kallis decided to hang up his Test-boots, his best friend and the wicket-keeping legend just had to be at the Kingsmead Stadium, watching his mate play.
Who can forgot Kallis’ gesture after Boucher’s career-ending injury. With arms raised Kallis soaked in warm applause and then gestured to his eye with a small nod of the head. Although Kallis had pointed to his right eye instead of his left, it was a tribute to his best friend, Mark Boucher,
In a chat with the media, Boucher shared his impressions about Jack Kallis.
On how he broke the news: Jacques called me on Christmas eve and told me that he is retiring. As mates, we have had a few chats regarding this but this was the time he, sort of, made up his mind. He has been travelling 20 years and he deserves this time off, the time with his family. He did not want to drag his feet in international cricket because that will affect his cricket, his team.
The strong silent type: He lost his mother early, and his father made a lot of sacrifices. He was close to his father, and his sister and then he lost his father. Considering the nature of his upbringing, he is a closed-book and he needs to trust you to open up. Not just me, there were also a few others with whom he opened up.
Time for himself: He likes doing the South African things, light up a fire, have a braai (barbecue) with his friends, or a quiet drink. Now he gets time forthat.
I never tried to persuade him about not retiring. He always made his decisions, I wasn’t reacting just as a cricketing friend, I was also reacting as a friend.
We will play more golf together.
The road ahead: He is one of the greats, and no one will understand the workload he bore for the South African cricket team.
But he is still around, he will play the One-Dayers, and I guess he will play the Indian Premier League.
He has made his money, so may be he could afford to take a year off before he decides what to do next.