January 10, 2009

South Africa in Australia 2008-09

Graeme's gallantry was glorious, but wrong

Jamie Alter

Plenty of people, not least those in the South African team, have termed Graeme Smith's decision to bat at the SCG last week with a broken hand as inspirational. But John Robbie, writing in The Independent, questions Smith's move. The writer believes batting was the easier option for Smith to make, because had he chosen not to bat, he would have been targeted by the legion of fans who are not Smith supporters. For Smith, batting was a way of winning them over, but Robbie feels the decision itself should not have been his to make.

What if a ball had hit a crack and seriously cracked open his hand? What if he was out for a year instead of a few weeks? That would have seriously compromised the next series. What would the headlines be saying now? Would they focus on bravery or stupidity?

In the New Zealand Herald, Dylan Cleaver draws up a list of players who have battled through the pain barrier in Test cricket to perform heroic deeds. Not all of these deeds led to famous victories - see numbers 10, 9, 6, 5, 2 and 1 for example - but they gave their teams hope when there was little beforehand.


Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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