County news

Surrey sign Smith as captain for three years

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 1, 2012

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by InsideHedge 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.

Posted by Nutcutlet 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!

Posted by anver777 on (November 2, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

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

Posted by Lmaotsetung 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

Posted by Robster1 on (November 2, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

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

Posted by 2.14istherunrate 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.

Posted by yorkshirematt 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.

Posted by Andre2 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 !

Posted by Andre2 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 ?

Posted by   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.

Posted by shillingsworth on (November 1, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

@David Hopps - point taken. However, even suggesting that the SA captain is about to give away his international career at the age of 32, in favour of the relative obscurity of county cricket, was a bit of a long shot and surely needed to be based on more reliable information than was apparently the case. Neither article has even mentioned the small matter of Smith's IPL contract, which will surely restrict his availability for Surrey just as much as his continuing international commitments.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

I hope Smith doesn't retire prematurely. Would love to see him complete the triple by completing a win in India (added to Australia and England), perhaps even win in SL and become one of the few captains to win in all 8 major Test nations... atleast rack up a 50th Test win and become the most successful captain numerically in the sport.

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 1, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

I thought I knew my cricket.....but who are Surrey exactly? I tried looking up some info in my Barclays World Almanac (you know the one with the red cover), I can only gather that it's a county about 110 miles south of Edgbaston, home of Warwickshire. If anyone can confirm, pls. let me know.Many Thanks in Advance.

Posted by brittop on (November 1, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

@satish619chander & @Cpt.Meanster: Doesn't the article say he won't miss test matches whilst playing for Surrey? Same criteria for IPL - play if you don't miss test matches. Another point - going to a test series from playing first class cricket, must be better than going from T20.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (November 1, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

Well one thing is for sure: if KP shows up for any games he'll get to play under a skipper who'll take no nonsense. KP is a pretty big bloke, but he'll not intimidate the twice-his-size Biff, who has been keeping tough characters in line longer than KP has had his tattoos! (Smith would probably get the best out of KP - pushing him to prove himself.) On another note, an interesting point to ponder is this: Smith bags an England Skipper each time he brings the Proteas over for a series (& this year he nicked ALL the Silverware too, Trophy & Mace.) I wonder if being a County Skipper might suddenly be regarded as an "occupational hazard?" In any case, I doubt any of the current County Captains will refer to him as what's-his-name, or Greg!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 1, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

People must never ever confuse or draw comparison with County Cricket to IPL. Country cricket is respectful, knowledgable and the cornerstone of test cricket and great things. IPL is a mercenary fueled hit and giggle. Its a great deal for Surrey as they get a world class opening batsman and captain. Graeme gets to play for a county with great traditions and a very knowlegable crowd followers. From what i see he doesnt miss any test matches and that is built into his contract. He doesnt feature much in SAs ODI and T20 games anymore.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

@SJC1000

Seen the prices for a Oval ticket lately? ;-)

Posted by nccricket on (November 1, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

@ Nutcutlet: How do you know that folks following county cricket are more enlightened than those following the IPL? In fact, if one were to follow the state of cricket over the last 20 years or so, and dig up statistics as well, one would find it very difficult to prove that cricketers arising from the midst of the IPL's Indian fans have fared much better as a cricket team representing their country at the International level, especially vis-a-vis the boys sprouting from amongst the english county cricket patrons who went on to represent england. Must say nut, the 70s were over 40 years ago.. as you poms say, do come along.

Posted by Hornetz on (November 1, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

Interesting to see that a side who forced Ramprakash into retirement due to an emphasis placed on youth has now bought three 30+ signings in the next few months; Gary Keedy, Vikram Solanki and Graeme Smith

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

@ Clarke 501 - Accuracy works two ways - for articles and comments. What George actually said when he exclusively broke the news, which seems to be a good thing for Cricinfo to do, was that it "could potentially" cause him to give up international cricket, not that it would, that it potentially could. Hardly "bizarre." All such considerations are bound to have been discussed and, as it turns out, any talk of retirement has been rejected. Give me the story first any time, even if the emphasis turns out to be slightly awry.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

yeah i have a question.. how is county cricket signing not same as IPL signing... guess what you get more money in IPL... which the players are entitled to choose.. so i do not know why the english and australian crickets masters(so called) always fuss about a product coming out from Subcontinent..

Posted by SJC1000 on (November 1, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

"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."

They already have Tremlett, Davies, Lewis and Gareth Batty. The amount of money they must be chucking around is ridiculous, especially when you chuck hald of Dernbach's contract and and presumably at least one T20 overseas player, and the cynic in me would question where on Earth all this money is coming form.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

Heartiest congratulations Graeme Smith. I wish you and Surrey all the best. I know that with all your expertise, you are going to enjoy your stint in England. Looking forward to seeing you in action at The Oval or at Lords when I have the opportunity to visit the UK once again. Fan from Cape Town. And don't expect too much in this space from the SA "Biff haters". You have knocked the wind out of their sails.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 1, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Cpt.Meanster: Before calling anyone else a hypocrite, best check your facts first. Smith will not miss any tests under this deal, due to the timing of the schedule and he will prioritise tests during the few clashes. He doesn't play limited overs cricket for SA these days. T20 leagues, on the other hand have already had a huge impact on international cricket, the latest impact being SA's postponed tests vs SL.

Posted by Tjoeps on (November 1, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

I think this is great for Graeme, Surrey and cricket... As a saffer I wish Graeme best of luck with this venture..... Very happy that he will still be available for SA and be part of the mean machine for time to come.... Have a great Aussie tour!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 1, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

satish619chandar: county cricket & more specifically the supporters of counties, are a different kettle o' fish when compared with the t20 junkies, specifically the IPL ites. Those that follow & watch cc are knowledgeable about cricket, deeply versed in the history & traditions of the game, & care about fc cricket in ways that would befuddle those who think that fireworks, loud & tuneless snatches of what passes for music played over the PA, gyrating girls & commentators sold on hyperbole are essential ingredients of a cricket match. In other words, Graeme Smith knows precisely what he is signing up for: an audience that will appreciate all that he has to offer & repay him in their respectful appreciation of his skills, performances & commitment. 'Big injuries' can happen (& have happened) at any time: crossing the road or getting out of the shower -- so your concern for his safety & fitness is unfounded, but touching in its way. Best wishes.

Posted by applethief on (November 1, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

Smith's figures are wrong. He played his 100th test at the start of the England series, so he's on 102, not 104. His runs are incorrect as well, should be 8314 test runs scored.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (November 1, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

Will be interesting to see how he and KP get along...wonder who will KP send his texts to this time around...Cook maybe!!

Posted by shillingsworth on (November 1, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

Whilst ESPN Cricinfo did indeed first report the story in September, they got the key part of it wrong. Smith hasn't retired from international cricket as was rather bizarrely claimed in the original article. Furthermore, neither the September article, nor this one mentions the rather obvious fact that Smith's international commitments are only part of the problem for Surrey, if he continues to play in the IPL. The comments about Smith and Pietersen are also pretty stupid - if the latter plays for England in all formats, he will revert to being at best a guest player for Surrey.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 1, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

Oh so Biff is off to Surrey ? And here we have people complaining T20 leagues are distracting to test cricket and international cricket in general !!! Can't stand the "Association of cricket hypocrites".

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 1, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

There seem no limits to Adams' ambitions. I share them as a Surrey supporter, and it will be good to square up to the likes of Warwickshire next year. I think most bases are now covered quite convincingly. Obviously this is the signing of THE Big Fish and his batting should be a good bulwark against early collapses,as the mathematics involved should mess up quite a few bowlers' lines. Tactically obviously the most experienced international captain with a lot offer the club. he should enjoy the attack he will command with its international flavour and variety, particularly if Tremlett is back to proper functioning.Both pace and spin are offered in plenty. The batting is a good mixture of experience and youth-4 of the main batsmen are under 25-and hopefully de Bruyn and Davies can find form again. There is reason for optimism so long as the weather is better than 2012, and it is good too to draw a line under the sadness of 2012.

Posted by WilliamFranklin on (November 1, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

@countjimmoriarty

Check your facts: Meaker, Dernbach, Burns, Roy, Dunn (not forgetting maynard RIP) not enough for you? Certainly providing more young talent for england than most other counties.

Posted by hodgie91 on (November 1, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

Not only a fantastic signing for Surrey, but also for English cricket as a whole. A well-respected and highly successful international captain will only surely raise the profile of the club, and the English domestic scene. Cannot wait to see him in action over the next few years!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 1, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

As a Surrey supporter, I am delighted that Graeme Smith is happy to take over a side that needs firm & confident direction after a traumatic & tragic 2012 season. There is a huge reservoir of talent in SCCC, but the players that are the future of Surrey were all nursing their grief, collectively & individually, & whilst still trying to play focussed, competitive cricket during this last season. Nonetheless, Gareth Batty did a sterling job of holding things together under the worst of circumstances. The arrival of GS is just the tonic that Surrey requires: an outsider with a tremendous international reputation; known to be a man who demands the best from his charges, leads from the front & is, in all respects, a role model. If Surrey can't begin to fulfil their potential in 2013 under him, then they never will. Through his influence & direction, several potential England players should move forward. This, then, is good news for England's future as well as Surrey's. Great news!

Posted by countjimmoriarty on (November 1, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Always good to see Surrey giving an opportunity to another promising youngster. Batty, Keedy, Solanki... Just what English cricket needs for the long term.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 1, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

i can see the time say in early june and he get a niggle or some lets a minor injury, with his board pulling him out, as a precaution. watch this space, i would put a bet on it.

Posted by TheBeard on (November 1, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

@Andrew As far as I'm aware, Batty agreed to be captain in an emergency last season but didn't want the job full time.

Posted by DCW78 on (November 1, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

Can't wait to see how Smith & KP gel when the later is available for his token county appearances when not reintegrating with England

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

At least he is still available for test cricket in our country.

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 1, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

As if he's not good enough in England already!! great news for Surrey fans and with the Oval only just over an hour's travel from my house it's certainly going to be worth a day out!

Posted by Dheeraj_Shetty on (November 1, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

This is rubbish decision by Smith, I hope he doesn't retire during those 3 years, when i first read the headline it appeared as if he has retired and has been surrey by Surrey as a Kolpak player, but good to know it isnt.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

Great for Graeme Smith - as this will be a boost to his Pension Fund - GOOD LUCK KP... Suggest u change attitute towards GCS

Posted by WilliamFranklin on (November 1, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

Wonder if the Yorkshire fan who said only Surrey would try this on the previous story will reappear? He missed the crucial point, only Surrey would attempt this and succeed.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 1, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

not sure who backs surrey but they seem to spend money on recruitment as if its gone out of fashion. most counties must wish they were in the same position, but money seems to be no obstacle, if a player comes available, you guessed it surrey will be the interested county.

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 1, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

@satish19chandar: Well said, absolutely spot on.

Posted by Cric_whiz on (November 1, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

Another Saffer bites the English pie! byw BCCI bashers will not comment on this page & justify Surrey's selection which is endorsed by ECB not caring for the damage that this will cause to the South African cricket....Will the current England captian Cook be allowed to play & captain an IPL or Big Bash team? Answer is No! Simple reason being he may be injured or burnt out! As if the English players are made of Wax & the Others ( Saffers) are not!

Posted by Tigg on (November 1, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

I imagine this means Smith will, if not give up international cricket, at least give up the short forms.

Posted by ballonbat on (November 1, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

Satish619chandar, what is your objection. Smith is part of a tradition of overseas county players that stretches back years and years. Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Barry Richards, Mike Proctor, Donald, Ntini, Hussey etc. Many of these players have been IMMENSE for their county

Posted by ashlatchem on (November 1, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

That is craaazzzzyyy! I remember seeing this and thinking that there was absolutely, positively no way that Smith would go for this!! (Honestly considered it even being a joke...) Surrey have just signed the best captain in international cricket at the moment!!!! Surrey fans must be over the moon surely!!

Posted by jpeacock158 on (November 1, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

Great signing, we need a good opener and the batting line-up needs bolstering after losing our best two in Maynard and RHB. Wish we could inject some youthful, already established batsmen into the order though. Bowling stocks are great, as is the wicket-keeping depth with Davies, Burns and Wilson. C'mon Surrey, big year next year!!

Posted by brusselslion on (November 1, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

A great signing. Brings immediate strength to the top order and the youngsters should benefit from playing with him and from his captaincy.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Interesting signing however I do feel that it is very harsh on Gareth Batty who from what I could tell as a non Surrey fan but follower of county cricket (Warwickshire member), did a very good job after he took over part way through a very tough season.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 1, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

What if Smith gets injured playing county cricket and misses international games? What if he gets a big injury and ends his career? Are these talks ONLY confined to IPL? I really don't want to comment like this but still, the so called T20 haters(Really the IPL jealous) should answer these stuffs before concluding things. Please publish.

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