South African and Kolkata Knight Riders' all-rounder Jacques Kallis tells Rutvick Mehta that it will take something special to better Tendulkar and what it takes to become a quality all-rounder. Excerpts:
Sachin Tendulkar tweeted 'retired life isn't so bad' immediately after your Test retirement. How has it been for you?
Well, I have not completely retired from the game, so I can't really tell you how retired life feels. I am still enjoying my cricket, so I will keep going till I can.
For someone who has played cricket day in and day out for almost two decades, it must be tough to suddenly not play the game on a regular basis, isn't it?
It is something that I do miss, though it was a decision made after much thought so I don't try and dwell too much on it. I am just enjoying whatever cricket I am still playing.
There have been many shock retirements this year, of Graeme Swann and Darren Sammy (from Tests). Do you think the rigours of modern-day cricket will result in premature retirements of many of the current players?
I think it depends from player to player. If a certain player thinks it is time to retire earlier than usual, then he must have his own reasons. Along with the rigours of modern-day cricket, the fitness regimes have improved as well. So you might see some players playing longer than usual.
You had said Tendulkar's record of most runs in Test cricket will not be beaten easily. But many believe Virat Kohli go a step further. Do you think it's a realistic prediction?
It is a little too early to predict that. Sachin's record is not going to be beaten easily and it is going to take something special. Virat is a very talented player and he definitely does have the potential.
Who is the world's best right now, Kohi or AB de Villiers?
AB, definitely. (smiles)
The Indian team for long has been searching for an all-rounder. Being one of the greatest the game has ever seen, what do you think takes to become a quality all-rounder? Has any Indian impressed you?
Well, to become a quality all-rounder requires a lot of hard work as you need to keep training in all the aspects of the game, and train to be the best at each. This is difficult to do at the highest level as it takes a lot of focus. I do not really watch much cricket if I am not playing, so I can't really say that I have seen any (Indian all-rounder).
How are you enjoying the season so far?
I enjoy playing in the IPL as the level of cricket is great and I look forward to coming back each year. We have a great squad this year with a lot of talented players and hopefully we can continue to do well.
Do you think your performances in the IPL will determine whether you make it for next year's 50-over World Cup?
I do not think about it that way. My focus has always been to do well in the tournament that I am currently playing in and right now, I am just concentrating on doing well in the IPL and helping KKR do well.
Away from cricket, with football World Cup not far away, how keen are you about it?
Well, I am more of a rugby fan! So I do not watch football too much.
Follow Rutvick Mehta on Twitter @RutvickMehta