Jacques Kallis was left out of South Africa’s squad for the Champions Trophy on Thursday after making himself unavailable for personal reasons and will miss a major international one-day tournament for the first time in nearly two decades.
His agent said it was a “short-term” decision that did not affect Kallis’ desire to keep playing Test cricket for South Africa or his “dream” to go to the 2015 World Cup, dismissing speculation the celebrated all-rounder was close to retiring.
Announcing South Africa’s 15-man squad for next month’s tournament in England and Wales, head selector Andrew Hudson said team management respected the 37-year-old Kallis’ wish to not be considered, but did not disclose his reasons.
“That was Jacques’ request [to be left out] and we were respectful of that,” Hudson said, adding that it did not mean Kallis’ 17-year, 321-game ODI career was over.
“He was and he is a great cricketer for South Africa, but I think it’s a little too early to speculate [on his future]. But we respect his decision for personal reasons. I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll learn more,” he said.
Kallis’ agent, former South Africa spinner Dave Rundle, told the Sport24 Web site later on Thursday that Kallis needed “some time out” and his withdrawal was part of his “planning” for the next two years.
“He still wants to continue playing for the Proteas, especially in Tests, and his dream at the moment to go to the World Cup is still there,” Rundle told the South African sports Web site.
“The decision taken now has no effect on his ongoing commitments to South Africa. This is short-term,” he said.
Kallis has limited his ODI appearances in the past few seasons in an attempt to prolong his career, but despite last appearing in a one-day international over a year ago, he was still expected to be in the Champions Trophy squad.
Thursday’s decision was an indication he would further reduce his ODI commitments in an attempt to make the next World Cup, when he will be nearly 40.
Batsmen J.P. Duminy and Faf du Plessis were included in the Champions Trophy squad after they recovered from injuries and A.B. de Villiers was named as captain. Former limited-overs skipper Graeme Smith was also picked as was South Africa’s top bowler, Dale Steyn, while left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso earned a surprise place.
Without Kallis, batsman David Miller won a place in the squad and Ryan McLaren, Rory Kleinveldt and spinners Robin Peterson and Duminy would provide options as all-rounders.