Graeme Smith

Sports Speaker - Cape Town
Graeme Smith

 

Graeme Smith is a former South African cricket player who also served as the captain of the team. Graeme was made the captain of the national cricket team after an experience of eight tests only. Besides being a successful captain, he was a lethal left-hander who would come out blazing right from the word go.

At the age of 22, he captained South Africa for the first time against Bangladesh becoming the youngest captain for South Africa.

Smith is the only player in the world to have witnessed 100 tests as captain. Graeme guided his team to victory in 53 occasions, the most by any captain.

He led his team to earn a test series victory in Australia on two different occasions (2008-09 and 2012-13).

South Africa became the number one in Test team rankings after defeating England which resulted in Andrew Strauss’s retirement.

Graeme saw 92 wins in 149 matches when he captained South Africa in ODIs.

Besides leading his team to 53 test wins in 108 matches, he also holds the record of most centuries (15) by a captain in Test wins and most runs by a captain (8659).

He is also the fastest South African to reach 1000 test runs. Graeme was awarded the South African cricketer of the year award in 2002.

Smith studied at the King Edward VII School in Johannesburg. Graeme was selected for the South Africa Under-19 cricket team where he played tests and ODIs including matches played at the U-19 Cricket World Cup in 2000.

Graeme has played domestic cricket in South Africa for several teams including Cape Cobras, Western Province Boland and United Cricket Board of South Africa Invitation XI.

After some eye catching performances at the junior level, Graeme made his test debut for South Africa against Australia at Cape Town in March 2002. He scored 68 runs in the second innings, batting at number three.

His outburst of success came in his third test match against Bangladesh where he was promoted to open the innings with Herschelle Gibbs. He scored 200 which was followed by 151 in the home series against Pakistan.

Graeme formed a destructive opening partnership with Gibbs.

During the tour of England in 2003, he made his mark in international cricket with consecutive scores of 277 at Edgbaston and 259 in an innings victory at Lord’s. His innings at Lord’s is the highest score by a foreign player there.

He piled up 714 runs at an average of 79.33 in the series. Smith was made the captain of the ICC World XI against Australia in the Super Series Test match in October 2005.

On 12 March, 2006, Smith built a partnership of 187 with Herschelle Gibbs to chase a target of 434 in an ODI against Australia. That was the highest score in ODIs at that time.

Smith scored 232 against Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2008 where he, along with Neil McKenzie compiled 415 runs to break the record for the highest first-wicket partnership in tests.

In 2008, his scores of 108 at Lord’s and 154 not out at Edgbaston proved crucial in South Africa’s Test series win in England, their first since 1965. In 2008-09 Smith guided his team to an emphatic ‘heavyweight’ Test series win on Australian soil. That was Australia’s first loss on home soil in 16 years.

In his tenure as South Africa’s captain, Smith couldn’t lead South Africa to a victory in an ICC event. Graeme couldn’t erase the infamous ‘chokers’ tag from his team.

Graeme quit the ODI captaincy after South Africa were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. His bad patch also includes the 1-5 and 0-5 losses to New Zealand and Sri Lanka respectively in his early years as captain.

In the 2005 county season, Smith played for somerset and captained the team for some part of the season. He made his impact in the match against Leicestershire at Taunton where he scored his maiden first-class triple hundred. His blistering innings of 311 off 255 balls was followed by another amazing knock of 105 in the T-20 Cup match against Northamptonshire.

Graeme joined Rajasthan Royals in the first season of the Indian Premier League in 2008. He stayed with the franchise until 2010, before moving to Pune Warriors India for the 2011 season.

The South African announced his retirement on the third day of the third test against Australia in 2014. Graeme justified his decision by mentioning his recent poor form and the need to look after a young family.

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