Ordered player, delivered captain; The untold story of Graeme Smith
Updated - Mar 4, 2014 10:37 am
Graeme Smith was a name unheard off since 2003 but the name has already been doing rounds in the cricket fraternity. A player with 3 youth tests and 7 youth One Dayers, Smith was a part of the squad in the first ever U19 World Cup in 1998. In a country, ruled by apartheid controversies even after being readmitted to International Cricket in 1992, Graeme Smith was chosen to represent South Africa for what every cricketers dream about, he was selected in the test side. A 68 in the second innings followed by a 200 in his third test (against Bangladesh), Smith already proved what he was capable of doing.
Not many people know or will ever know until they read this part, that Smith was one of the three debutants (Andrew Hall and Dewald Pretorius being the other two) who were part of the side that played against the mighty Aussies in Cape Town. Overall, Smith is the 286th player to represent South Africa in the longer format but his Test Cap and Jersey tells us a different story. The number 49, is the test cap number that is being used after South Africa were readmitted in 2002.
But the man with a gifted talent din’t capture one’s eye until he was chosen for the top job of South African Cricket, post 2003 Cricket World Cup. Despite being barely 8 tests old, Smith was the chosen one by the board and he delivered for his nation with full heart. One can easily say that Smith is to South Africa what Waugh was to Australia or Dada was to India. We barely find a player who captains in nations in 50 tests, but this man has gone on to captain his side for a decade and 107 tests.
It will be better to say that Smith has seen a full transition of the game. During his tenure as captain, he has seen three English players resigning as captains and finally retiring. Those greats were Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan. But the greatest aspect of his captaincy is that he is a man of few words. Under Smith, South Africa has conquered all the nations, starting from India to West Indies. His affection for his side was seen when he came out to save a test match against Australia in Sydney with broken hands.
Here are a few achievements of Graeme Smith:
- 108 matches as captain.
- 52 wins as captain.
- Fastest South African to reach 1000 test runs.
- 15 centuries by a captain in test wins.
- 55% wins as an ODI captain