Graeme Smith retires March 5, 2014

'I've also spent the last 24 hours crying'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Justin Nurse swims in the pool below the gym South Africa players train at when in Cape Town. He has been a big fan, and when he came across Smith after his retirement announcement, he couldn't hold back his tears. He pays an emotional tribute to the man at

I can't help myself though. I choose the moment when he finishes a phone call to go on over there and thank the man. I'm searching for an in - not "I'm the T-shirt guy." I mutter something about how I play soccer with Bouch at Bob's place (interpret: I'm not a crazy fan - yes I am), and how I just want to thank him for all that he's done for South African cricket. And then I just break down. I start bawling my eyes out, right there in front of him and his wife. I can't help myself, and it is pathetic to see. Blind one, as we used to say back in the 90s. I'm trying to tell him how I was with him when he came out to bat with a broken hand, how I also followed those angling sliders from Zaheer Khan that got him time and again...