County news November 1, 2012

Surrey sign Smith as captain for three years

ESPNcricinfo staff

Surrey have signed Graeme Smith as their captain on a three-year deal and he will take over the leadership with immediate effect.

ESPNcricinfo first reported the development in September and Smith had said at the time that he would not give up international cricket to fulfill this responsibility.

That aim would appear to be achievable with South Africa scheduled for short tours in each of the next two English summers. In 2013 they will tour Sri Lanka but the Tests leg of the tour has been postponed until 2015. South Africa are due to tour Zimbabwe in 2014 and Bangladesh in 2015 with both tours only including two Tests, three ODIs and a T20.

Smith, currently touring Australia with South Africa, has captained his country in a record 94 Test matches since taking over in 2003 and will now lead the revival of Surrey - a county who were rocked by the death of Tom Maynard this summer. Captain Rory Hamilton-Brown left the club in the wake of losing his friend and flatmate and Surrey have looked to sign senior players to provide leadership in a dressing room that also lost Mark Ramprakash to retirement.

Vikram Solanki from Worcestershire and Gary Keedy from Lancashire were both brought in and the signing of Smith completes a core of senior figures to guide what is otherwise a young, inexperienced squad.

Smith, 31, will also plug a large hole at the top of the order. Surrey tinkered with several opening combinations in narrowing avoiding relegation last season, beginning the year with Jacques Rudolph and Steve Davies and ending it with Rory Burns and Zafar Ansari - who have played 26 first-class matches between them. Smith's 11,522 first-class runs at 50.75, encompassing 104 Tests and 8,413 runs, will provide great experience opening the innings.

The move will also provide Smith with extra stability for his family. His wife is from Ireland and during the summer they had their first child.

Smith will join up with Surrey close to the start of the 2013 campaign. South Africa's home series against Pakistan concludes on March 24 with the English season set to begin on April 9.

"I am excited to be joining such a professional and talented team," Smith said, "during what will hopefully prove to be a rewarding and successful period for Surrey. When you consider the ambition shown it was an easy decision for myself and my family and I would like to thank Surrey and Cricket South Africa for giving me the opportunity to lead the side and make it possible.

"I am excited about what we can achieve at Surrey going forward and would like to state very clearly that I will balance my new role alongside my continuing commitments to the Proteas and I look forward to continuing to represent my country for many years to come."

Surrey director of cricket Chris Adams added: "Signing Graeme is a massive coup for Surrey. As well as being one of the best captains in the modern game, he is a phenomenal opening batsman and will lead by example from the top of the innings.

"By signing a three year deal, Graeme has demonstrated his commitment to Surrey on a long term basis and I look forward to working alongside him and the rest of our hugely talented squad to bring more silverware to this club in the near future."

The deal will see Smith return to county cricket for the first time since 2005 when he led Somerset to the Twenty20 Cup title, scoring 380 runs. He also scored 472 first-class runs at 67.42.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanjay on November 3, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: Your arguments on why T20 cricket is a poor relation to CC would be more palatable if they weren't dripping in arrogance. Perhaps, if you could show some respect for the game - after all, even T20 is cricket, and designed in England, probably by a CC watcher who was bored out of his mind - then you wouldn't come across as someone who conveniently forgets that T20 is played in England too.

  • ian on November 2, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    @nccricket: re: supporters of county cricket versus t20/IPL audiences. When the former attend a cc match all they get (iindeed, all they want) is the cricket (with updated scores from other matches taking place round the country during the intervals). They do not need the aggressive razz-mattazz that I listed in my earlier post because they have developed powers of concentration & appreciate the value of the play itself & are attuned to the rhythm of the day's play, not a caterwauling accompaniment that is deemed necessary for a t20 contest. It's like going to a restaurant, my friend; in some restaurants the food is so inferior that there is a big bottle of ketchup on the table with which you can smother your food to make sort of palatable. And, after several such experiences, one has to ask oneself whether it isn't all ketchup. Do keep an open mind, old chap. Each to his own. Mine's a 5* restaurant. Wouldn't you like to come along? There's no sauce on the table & the chef is superb!

  • Anver on November 2, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Smith's services will be very crucial & surely it will lift Surrey cricket !!!!

  • John on November 2, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    Is KP still on Surrey's payroll? If so then it's be a very interesting start to the country season next year!!! lol

  • Rob on November 2, 2012, 0:38 GMT

    Smith v Adams - hmmm.....and then Pietersen too. Fireworks at the Oval methinks.

  • Michael on November 2, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Some people seem to see different scorecards from the ones I read. The second half of the season saw a top 3 of Ansari,Burns and Harinath, and Roy down the order. Also in the top six was Davies who was 26( too old for some who think that 25 is the right age to retire. In the first half of the season the order contain the veterans Maynard and Hamilton-Brown, the youngest county captain by miles. Elsewhere in the order featured Meaker and Dernbach who in some eyes is obviously pushing a Zimmer frame around.Get real and look at your own county staffs. Surrey brings on youngsters more than most, and quite frankly youth needs older heads to grow properly.

  • Matthew on November 1, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    @WilliamFranklin Hello there. Think it was me that said that. Never had any doubt that you'd succeed eventually and well done for getting a deal for him without it affecting his SA career. We all know where the money is. In cricket and british society in general.

  • LAVIGNE on November 1, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (November 01 2012, 15:44 PM GMT) : Agree 100% with you. I could not have written this better !

  • LAVIGNE on November 1, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    @satish619chandar on 01-11-2012 at 11:27 GMT /// If I remember correctly Rahul DRAVID has played for Scotland a whole season of county cricket, same for Harbhajan Singh or VVS Laxman to name a few Indians test-cricketers ! And they all benefited from this experience. So what ?

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    Surrey are fast becoming (if they weren't already) the New York Yankees of county cricket. Bringing in expensive veteran players at the expense of younger ones. I don't see very much inexperience in that squad.

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