Dubai: Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis says the current South Africa side has “something special” and could end years of disappointment by securing the side’s first ever World Cup title.
The 35-year-old starred with bat and ball, scoring a brilliant 83 and taking 3-30, as South Africa beat Pakistan by 57 runs in Dubai yesterday to win their one-day series 3-2.
Kallis said next year’s tournament, which will be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, could be his last shot at the elusive crown, which South Africa have never won.
“It might be my last World Cup,” he said. “Obviously we haven’t had the success that lot of us would have liked (in the World Cups).
“But I really believe that this team (has) got something special going at the moment and if we just carry on playing the type of cricket that we playing, there is no reason why we can’t do well.”
South Africa have won only the 1998 Champions Trophy title since they were re-admitted to international cricket after a lengthy ban due to aparthied.
Kallis, who is the only survivor of that victory in Bangladesh and featured in three World Cup failures in 1999, 2003 and 2007, said he believed next year’s World Cup will be different.
“We got to take that game by game and enjoy. The message that I can give to guys is to really enjoy the World Cup, perhaps in the past we haven’t quite enjoyed as much as we have playing normal games,” he said.
Kallis admitted not winning the World Cup was a big disappointment.
“It is disappointing, but hopefully it can turn around and we can have one success. Probably the most important thing (is) that we put the hard work (in) and play the kind of cricket we have been playing for the last few months.”
South Africa are grouped with India, Bangladesh, England, the Netherlands, the West Indies and Ireland in the World Cup, which runs from February 19 to April 2 next year.
Kallis said that even after so long as a stalwart of the side, it was still an honour to play for his country.
“Performing for South Africa has always been special for me, from my debut to this day. Obviously I am trying to put as much hard work as I can and trying to be in the best condition, going into the World Cup,” he said.
“I want to give it my all. As long as I keep contributing and keep helping the youngsters along the way, I will be happy and to put great performances on important days like this, it gives me great pleasure,” said Kallis of his performance on Monday.
He passed 11,000 career one-day runs on Monday and said he was delighted to reach the milestone.
“It’s been a great honour, if you play for 15 years and I think get a few runs along the way and, hopefully, many more to come and, hopefully, at the end of it I can look back and feel proud at what I have achieved.
“I have certainly enjoyed the years and hopefully many more to come,” said Kallis, who also has 259 one-day wickets in 307 matches. He has also scored 11,126 runs and taken 266 wickets in 140 Tests.