Jaques Kallis, one of the greatest all rounders of the game, on Wednesday announced his retirement from Test cricket.
The 38-year-old Kallis had made his debut against England in December 1995 and is third big player to quit Test cricket this season after Australian Ricky Ponting and Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar.
Going through a lean patch of late, Kallis has featured in 165 Tests for South Africa, scoring 13174 runs at a stunning average of 55.12. He also took 292 wickets and 199 Test catches, proving what a quality cricketer he has been for his team in the last 18 years.
With 44 hundreds under his belt, Kallis was closest to Tendulkar's record of 51 Test centuries and the possibility of surpassing incredible figure by any batsman has diminished further.
He is the greatest all-rounder the game has seen, atleast in terms of statistics, leaving behind Sir Garfield Sobers (8032 runs, 235 wickets, 109 catches in 93 Tests) and Sir Ian Botham (5200 runs, 383 wickets, 120 catches in 102 Tests.)
Kallis is currently fourth on the list of leading run-getters in Test cricket, behind Tendulkar (15921 runs in 200 Tests), Ricky Ponting (13378 runs in 168 Tests) and Rahul Dravid (13288 runs in 164 Tests).
"It wasn't an easy decision, with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel the time is right. I don't see it as goodbye, I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing," Kallis said in a statement.
Following Kallis' retirement, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will remain the only active players, who feature in the top-10 century scorers in the Test cricket.
Tendulkar leads the list with 51 centuries and is followed by Kallis (44), Ponting (41), Dravid (36), Sunil Gavaskar (34), Brian Lara (34), Sangakkara (33), Steve Waugh (32), Jayawardene (31) and Matthew Hayden (30).
Both Sangakkara and Jayawardene are already 36 years of age and their chances to surpass Tendulkar in the list look remote.