South Africa in Australia, 2005-06 January 15, 2006

Simpson attacks Smith's 'wandering mind'

Cricinfo staff

Bob Simpson on Graeme Smith: 'To be out four times in a row ... is not acceptable' © John Dawson
Prior to South Africa's morale-boosting win at Brisbane on Sunday, Bob Simpson, the former Australia coach, launched an attack on Graeme Smith, accusing him of having a wandering mind.

"Smith has shown he wants to be aggressive, but I would like this to be more with his bat and less with his mouth," Simpson said in his column in Indian magazine Sports Star.

"His bid to boost the confidence of his team with ill-advised words is not working and will not work. All of his time should be spent getting the most out of his players and himself. At present his mind is wandering too much ... to be out four times in a row to tactics devised to get him in such a manner is not acceptable and shows to me a mind that is not relaxed and concentrating on every ball."

Although Smith fell for 12 on Sunday, he did lead his team to an excellent victory despite the best efforts of Australia's fieldsmen. Andrew Symonds completed a slick run-out, and Michael Hussey sprinted about 15 metres to take an outstanding diving catch that nearly turned the game Australia's way. The South African fielding has also annoyed Simpson, who described it as "just terrible".

"Their ground fielding has lacked security and concentration and enthusiasm," he said. "This is a comparatively young team and I am amazed at the number of simple errors that are being made and the lack of pride being expressed.

"History, and I am sure the modern computer, would show that first slip takes the most catches followed by the second and the third slips. Yet, because other countries are using spread slips, though without much or perhaps any success, Smith is being influenced by it without understanding the law of averages. I don't know who is helping the South Africans with their fielding, but whoever is doing so should examine why so many catches are being spilt."