Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Some thoughts on Graeme Smith...

I just read this piece on Cricinfo about Graeme Smith's recent heroics in Sydney, and I have to say I totally agree.

A few years ago, when Smith slaughtered England's bowlers to the tune of consecutive double centuries (ending Darren Gough's Test career in the process) I wasn't a big fan of the outspoken South African captain. He seemed to come from the chest out, gum-chewing, Matthew Hayden school of cricket, one not exactly known for its charm.

When his side came a cropper (yet again) to the barbed taunts of Shane Warne, I couldn't help but smile. And when Matthew Hoggard made Smith his rabbit on the tour to South Africa, I laughed for weeks. I have few better memories than that of Smith falling flat on his face to a Hoggard in-swinger, before picking himself up and trudging back to the pavilion having been given out LBW.

But over the years I've warmed to Smith, as I'm sure he'll be delighted to know... It started when he played for Somerset. Not for him the constant changing of counties, turning up for a match here and there, taking his cash and heading home. When Somerset won the Twenty20 Smith's delight was genuine. His affection for his team mates (and vice-versa) was warm and obvious.

Today, Smith is one of the best batsmen in the world, probably the best captain, and poised to lead his team to the top. He is admired by all who play or watch the game. Now that he is in charge of a good side, the side that he wants, he is able to relax and display a sense of humour. That can only be a good thing.

I have one fear however, and that is that over the next two years South Africa will fall prey to the same problems that beset England post-2005. The warning signs are there already: South Africa's squad is pretty thin, if there are any injuries to the current XI. Who comes in if Steyn is injured, or Kallis?

And then there's the injuries to Smith. When Vaughan bust his knee, English cricket went bust with it. Let us hope that Smith can recover quickly: in time to give the Aussies another pasting, and take the Number 1 spot in the ICC rankings that they deserve


  1. Wait until the retirement biography, you'll realise he was a c*nt all along.

  2. It hurts me to say it but he would be in my world XI straight off! He does look a bit racist though.. can we say that here?