Durban - The South African cricket fraternity heaped praise on all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who announced on Wednesday that he will retire from Test and first-class cricket after the conclusion of the second Test against in India in Durban.
Proteas coach Russell Domingo said the team will miss Kallis's presence.
"The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense, not just as a player but as a human being. I'm not sure we will ever see another player of that stature very soon," he said.
"Jacques' calmness, maturity and presence in the change room will sorely be missed and hopefully he will still be able to play a role in this team's success in the near future.
"He has ambitions of playing in the 2015 World Cup and it will be important for us to manage him accordingly so that he is in prime form leading into the tournament."
Cricket South Africa (CSA) President Chris Nenzani said Kallis's retirement marked a changing of the guard in the world game.
"We are truly entering a new era with three of the icons of the game - Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar now our own Jacques Kallis - departing the test arena within a short space of time," he said.
"It is a time for reflection not only on Jacques' enormous contribution to the game of cricket but also the legacy he leaves behind him."
Nenzani said Kallis had always risen above controversy and shown the game's best traditions of sportsmanship.
"To me the greatest legacy he leaves us is the Jacques Kallis Foundation which offers underprivileged South Africans of all persuasions the priceless benefit of a quality education and the opportunity to live their dreams on the cricket fields," he said.
"There are already a couple of youngsters from this programme who have gone on to represent SA Schools and SA under-19.
"Jacques, we thank you not just for what you have meant to South African cricket and indeed to the world of cricket but more particularly for the example you have set in being a model South African for our youth and future leaders."
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said that even though Kallis's retirement was inevitable, it was still a blow to South African cricket that its greatest ever player and arguably the world's best allrounder was leaving the test stage.
"Jacques Kallis has simply been the Proteas rock of Gibraltar. He has been a stalwart for many years and their recent triumphs and greatness has been built around him," said Lorgat.
"He is a legend and his statistics speak volumes. Jacques has been ever present for the Proteas in the past 18 years and it is fitting that his final test should be on the same ground as the one on which he made his debut against England back in 1995.
"Only Jacques would know how much strain his body can still take and while we will be very sad to see him walk off the test arena for the last time, we can be buoyed by the knowledge that he wishes to represent us at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australasia."
He said it would be tremendously satisfying if Kallis and the Proteas were able to triumph at the 2015 World Cup.
"On behalf of the Cricket South Africa family, all our fans and indeed on behalf of the nation, I am privileged to extend our grateful thanks to Jacques for what he has contributed to South African cricket and in the process to nation building," said Lorgat.
"He has certainly played his part in making our cricket a truly national sport of winners. I look forward to see how in the years ahead we can engage his superb knowledge and experience. He is far too valuable and no doubt will have much to offer."