SA v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day March 4, 2014

Graeme Smith's last stand

Graeme Smith has played tremendous innings for South Africa, but his last one ended in 16 minutes on the ground where he learned his cricket
65

Kimber: Cricket stood still for Graeme Smith

Three runs, three balls and 16 minutes.

Not numbers that will remembered with the same sentiment as 277, 259 or 234 - Graeme Smith's most significant double-hundreds - but ones that could resonate as much. Those are the statistics of his final Test innings.

They are indicative of a troubled series in which Smith scored just 45 runs in six innings, and perhaps explain why he is walking away.

Smith has run out. Literally. Scores were not being stacked up through usual his usual determination but criticism was. Enough became enough. Smith wanted to be unburdened.

Following last night's announcement, he looked as though the load had already left him in the field. He was sauntering about while David Warner was mounting a challenge so steep, it would require South Africa's best mountaineering effort to climb. When restricting Warner became impossible, Smith sent all his men to the boundary. He stationed himself at long on, where he signed autographs and took photographs while he peeped over his shoulder to see when the next ball would be bowled.

Even though South Africa were being batted out of the game, Smith looked untroubled. He smiled, he waved his arms - some wondered whether he would bowl - he stretched his legs and touched his toes, he jumped about and applauded on occasion. He seemed to be having fun.

When Michael Clarke called his troops in with Australia's lead at 510, the enjoyment stopped. Smith would have known that unless he started well, it would be difficult for South Africa to get themselves up for one of their toughest asks. All the responsibility and expectation that he soon will leave behind were on his shoulders one more time.

That may have been difficult to stomach when there was a moment to savour ahead of him. Smith walked out to be honoured the same way he honoured others before him. As a man who values tradition so much, this must have been one he wanted to experience.

The Australians aborted their warm-ups when they saw Smith at the top of the dressing-room staircase. They formed two lines. The guard of honour. Smith skipped down onto the field and reached Michael Clarke. For the duration of a handshake, the two men were not on opposing sides. They were two cricketers and between them there was only respect.

Smith walked through the passage and to the pitch. His pitch. The pitch he has played on since he was 18 years old. There was no one else close to him because Australia were in a huddle and his opening partner, Alviro Petersen, was still far behind. Smith could take ownership of the strip one last time.

He hopped about, tapped the ground and practiced his forward defence. Petersen got there; they shook hands and bumped shoulders. Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis, both recent retirees, looked on. Game time.

Petersen took strike. Smith had done so in the first innings and the pair always alternate. Petersen faced five deliveries before they ran three and it was Smith's turn. Ryan Harris bowled a shortish one, Smith moved back and across and defended. The battle had begun in subdued fashion.

In the next over Smith came face to face with the man who has caused his problems in this series. He was facing Mitchell Johnson's second delivery. It was short and aimed at the ribs. Smith kept it out and found the gap. Three runs. By the next time he faced Johnson, Petersen had been trapped lbw and Smith had rightly told him not to review, and Dean Elgar had seen off five deliveries.

As he has done all series, Johnson dug it in short, Smith inside-edged and Alex Doolan at short leg caught it. By the time Doolan's fingers were wrapped around the ball, Smith had already tucked his bat under his arm and begun the walk back.

He strode as though he was going somewhere. Quickly. Australia's celebrations had started and stopped. Johnson and Clarke had begun their appreciative applause for the South African captain and Smith just kept walking. For a second, it seemed as though he would not stop.

Then he turned around. Helmet in one hand, bat in the other. He waved to every part of the ground. He concentrated on an area in the president's pavilion where his parents and friends were. He waved goodbye. He stood still and soaked it all in.

A blink later, he disappeared. That was the last time Graeme Smith batted for South Africa. Three runs, three balls and 16 minutes.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    This has been the best article anyone has written about a cricketer's final international game.A fitting tribute to an absolute colossus of career.The most succesful captain in the history,The only saffer to win a series in Australia and he liked it so much he did it twice. He captained saffers through the thin , 2003-2006 and saw through the rise of steyn and devilliers as effecient warriors of the game.A task coming after an embarassing WC campaign and thin bowling stocks,he has truly lead his sides to many wins.Champion of the game. And Firdose this must have come close from the heart,superb write up heart wrenching.Keep it Up cricinfo.

  • hiasad on March 4, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    What a tremendous Leader !! Salute to you Sir. You are right there with Steve Waugh, Imran Khan and Viv Richards.

    A true sportsman who always came on the field with a brave heart and positive attitude to make Cricket the Winner. The sport is bigger to Graeme than a cheap win, something that Asian Teams find themselves doing a lot of times.

    Thank you for providing quality entertainment and a great examples for future sportsman to come. Enjoy your retirement and Wish you all the well

  • on March 6, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    Great work Graeme Smith, the warrior. Great work Firdose Moonda, I am your fan.

  • on March 5, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    australia should leave them to make draw because smith should get good send off.

  • Tiptop32 on March 5, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    SA cricket board had done an injustice to Jacques Kallis by making Smith as the captain that time. Kallis was a matured player at that time when Shaun Pollock was sacked from captaincy. However luckily the stupid decision taken by SA cricket board paid off. I dont buy the argument that great players dont make good captain without actually giving them the opportunity. Does Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan does not become good captains? In the hindsight. In my memory always it is that SA CRICKET BOARD DONE INJUSTICE TO KALLIS by not giving him a chance to captain the team.

  • on March 5, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    @Ahmad Uetian: "Facts don't lie." Your words, yet you've ignored nearly all relevant facts in order to present your warped view. 1) Your opinion. No facts to back it up. 2) He and Gibbs had a very successful partnership. Whatever Gibbs claims in his book, he is an adult who had every chance to take control of his own situation. 3) I see you like reading and repeating what ever is spouted in the media. 3 (sic) & 4) What a ridiculous comment. What was the win ratio of captains who weren't West Indian through the 70s & 80s? Who else has as large a sample of matches captained to compare with Smith? How many other sides won the World Cup during Smith's career? Ridiculous. 5) Again, opinion. No facts to back it up. The first Test against India was a lost cause that South Africa had no right getting close to winning. The SA results over the last 8 years speak for themselves. He knew how to win and he knew how not to lose. One of the greats backed up by his stats as a player and captain.

  • Charles_Fortune_Favours_the_Brave on March 5, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    @ Ahmad Uetian: you are exactly right, facts don't lie and the FACT is that Smith was the ONLY captain to win a test series in Australia, and he did it TWICE! He was also the first captain in more than 40 years to win a test series in England - and he did it TWICE!! He also presided over SA becoming the number one test team in the world and saw us undefeated in test series for any number of years. Sure, he failed to win the World Cup, just as every other SA captain before him has, but that's a different game anyway - if you are using World Cups as your measure of success you're clearly not a genuine cricket fan, since REAL cricket takes place over five days, not fifty overs....

    ...And when it comes to mastery of the five day game, no one can hold a candle to Smith. Biff, those of us in the know salute you - enjoy your retirement!!

  • neelabhsamvatsar on March 5, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    he will always be remembered as the greatest captain of all times.It was he only who made 90 against aus and helped sa to win in 438 game.When he took the captaincy he was just 22 yers old and had played 8 tests and 22 odis.he is the foundation of sa cricket team. thanks biff nad good luck for your future.

  • on March 5, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    1). Smith was always overrated as player & as Captain & he overstayed.

    2). He destroyed the career of big match player: Gibbs.

    3). He was also one of the reasons behind South Africans being chokers as he & Amla always choked in big games with pathetic averages in WCs & tournament finals.

    3). Leadership wise he was very poor compared to Ponting, as Ponting won 2 WCs out of 3 with no losses in 2 of them Smith's team never made it to semis despite SA being always at par with AUS in terms of batting, bowling & fielding capacity & had very balanced side.

    4). Same is the case in tests as Ponting's win rate was 60% whereas of Smith, meager 45%.

    5).Contrary to Ponting Smith lacked the killer instincts & he would even squander sure win opportunities like he did in 1st test vs Ind

    LOOK PEOPLE, Facts don't lie. If your perception is that he was a great leader, correct your perspective. Unfortunately this generation of people have tendency to praise mediocrity & take greatness for grante

  • Paracha420 on March 5, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    A great leader he changed the face of South African cricket over the period of 12 years and now look what a team he made after many many years we will remember the team that Greame Smith made...Smith your courageous SCG innings was a pleasure to watch...Regards from Pakistan...

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    This has been the best article anyone has written about a cricketer's final international game.A fitting tribute to an absolute colossus of career.The most succesful captain in the history,The only saffer to win a series in Australia and he liked it so much he did it twice. He captained saffers through the thin , 2003-2006 and saw through the rise of steyn and devilliers as effecient warriors of the game.A task coming after an embarassing WC campaign and thin bowling stocks,he has truly lead his sides to many wins.Champion of the game. And Firdose this must have come close from the heart,superb write up heart wrenching.Keep it Up cricinfo.

  • hiasad on March 4, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    What a tremendous Leader !! Salute to you Sir. You are right there with Steve Waugh, Imran Khan and Viv Richards.

    A true sportsman who always came on the field with a brave heart and positive attitude to make Cricket the Winner. The sport is bigger to Graeme than a cheap win, something that Asian Teams find themselves doing a lot of times.

    Thank you for providing quality entertainment and a great examples for future sportsman to come. Enjoy your retirement and Wish you all the well

  • on March 6, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    Great work Graeme Smith, the warrior. Great work Firdose Moonda, I am your fan.

  • on March 5, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    australia should leave them to make draw because smith should get good send off.

  • Tiptop32 on March 5, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    SA cricket board had done an injustice to Jacques Kallis by making Smith as the captain that time. Kallis was a matured player at that time when Shaun Pollock was sacked from captaincy. However luckily the stupid decision taken by SA cricket board paid off. I dont buy the argument that great players dont make good captain without actually giving them the opportunity. Does Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan does not become good captains? In the hindsight. In my memory always it is that SA CRICKET BOARD DONE INJUSTICE TO KALLIS by not giving him a chance to captain the team.

  • on March 5, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    @Ahmad Uetian: "Facts don't lie." Your words, yet you've ignored nearly all relevant facts in order to present your warped view. 1) Your opinion. No facts to back it up. 2) He and Gibbs had a very successful partnership. Whatever Gibbs claims in his book, he is an adult who had every chance to take control of his own situation. 3) I see you like reading and repeating what ever is spouted in the media. 3 (sic) & 4) What a ridiculous comment. What was the win ratio of captains who weren't West Indian through the 70s & 80s? Who else has as large a sample of matches captained to compare with Smith? How many other sides won the World Cup during Smith's career? Ridiculous. 5) Again, opinion. No facts to back it up. The first Test against India was a lost cause that South Africa had no right getting close to winning. The SA results over the last 8 years speak for themselves. He knew how to win and he knew how not to lose. One of the greats backed up by his stats as a player and captain.

  • Charles_Fortune_Favours_the_Brave on March 5, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    @ Ahmad Uetian: you are exactly right, facts don't lie and the FACT is that Smith was the ONLY captain to win a test series in Australia, and he did it TWICE! He was also the first captain in more than 40 years to win a test series in England - and he did it TWICE!! He also presided over SA becoming the number one test team in the world and saw us undefeated in test series for any number of years. Sure, he failed to win the World Cup, just as every other SA captain before him has, but that's a different game anyway - if you are using World Cups as your measure of success you're clearly not a genuine cricket fan, since REAL cricket takes place over five days, not fifty overs....

    ...And when it comes to mastery of the five day game, no one can hold a candle to Smith. Biff, those of us in the know salute you - enjoy your retirement!!

  • neelabhsamvatsar on March 5, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    he will always be remembered as the greatest captain of all times.It was he only who made 90 against aus and helped sa to win in 438 game.When he took the captaincy he was just 22 yers old and had played 8 tests and 22 odis.he is the foundation of sa cricket team. thanks biff nad good luck for your future.

  • on March 5, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    1). Smith was always overrated as player & as Captain & he overstayed.

    2). He destroyed the career of big match player: Gibbs.

    3). He was also one of the reasons behind South Africans being chokers as he & Amla always choked in big games with pathetic averages in WCs & tournament finals.

    3). Leadership wise he was very poor compared to Ponting, as Ponting won 2 WCs out of 3 with no losses in 2 of them Smith's team never made it to semis despite SA being always at par with AUS in terms of batting, bowling & fielding capacity & had very balanced side.

    4). Same is the case in tests as Ponting's win rate was 60% whereas of Smith, meager 45%.

    5).Contrary to Ponting Smith lacked the killer instincts & he would even squander sure win opportunities like he did in 1st test vs Ind

    LOOK PEOPLE, Facts don't lie. If your perception is that he was a great leader, correct your perspective. Unfortunately this generation of people have tendency to praise mediocrity & take greatness for grante

  • Paracha420 on March 5, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    A great leader he changed the face of South African cricket over the period of 12 years and now look what a team he made after many many years we will remember the team that Greame Smith made...Smith your courageous SCG innings was a pleasure to watch...Regards from Pakistan...

  • legbeforew on March 5, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    A wonderfully written tribute to a wonderful sportsman, captain, and, above all, person. The wonderful game and its followers will miss you.

  • anver777 on March 5, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    End of a great career for Smith !!!! thanks for entertaining fans all over !!!!

  • on March 5, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    It is shame that player like Sachin who hardly contributed in winning for his team any significant series, got more than what he deserves in his bid farewell and on the other hand cricket true brand ambassador and great leaders like Ponting, Dravid, Kallis and Mighty Smith not getting half of what they deserves. Smith a match winner and great leader. All of his century won RSA matches. Wow what a player. A salute from an Indian to Biff :)

  • on March 5, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    A great man finally called it a day. When I watched him in England in 2003 scoring those two big double hundreds I was expecting another rising star in the mold of Bradman, Lara, Hammond to make series of double / triple hundreds.He later fell short of my expectations but turned out to be the most successful Captain after Bradman. Only Sehwag, Sangakara and to a lesser extent Micheal Clarke became NUMEROUS scorers of Big Double Hundreds. However, Clarke,s career is still not over, neither Sangakara's though he is approaching the end of his career. SRT's name is missing since not once did he cross 250 in his illustrious career. SRT is still the most over rated batsman of his era. Any way, GS shared one thing in common with the Don. They both failed in their last test. Farewell my friend, you have done SA very proud.

  • on March 5, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Smith was a Great Batsman Not Dout in it.. He always play to be confidenc... He played many time long innings and acheive the title of series..But Unfourtunatly He said Good Bye to Test Cricket ...This is really a Bad News for team South Africa... Our Wish He acheived more scuccess in his Life.... Many Players given Retirment after play against Australia ...In The Past England Players given Retirment after Loosing A Dinamic Series Against Australia In asha 2013-14...Best of Luck Gereme Smith For feature ..... We miss You In Cricket .... But Always Still In Our Heart .. Haris Singer (Voice Of Heart) ♥

  • on March 5, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    Tks. for the Smith piece sans boring adjectives and superlatives.

  • sachin_equal_to_bradman on March 5, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    Respect to One of the greatest leaders and a gritty batsmen!!! India would love to have such a leader after MSD!!! Please come to india and teach leadership...Hats-off....Thanks Smith...Respect from India

  • on March 5, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    The Aussie juggernaut rolls on, having flattened Trott, Swann,Flower and Pietersen during /after the Ashes, it has now obliterated Graeme Smith-- if he had a halfway decent series I am sure Smith would not have retired. Perhaps Petersen, Peterson and Morkel will also now be shelved, while Warner ( aided by the deceptively good Steve Smith, and occasionally by Rogers, Doolan and Clarke) took care of Philander and Steyn except in that reverse swinging second innings collapse in PE. I daresay the Indian batsmen won't be lining up for the winter tour of Australia.

  • on March 5, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Over 9000 test runs- 8000 of them through mid wicket- effective though at his peak.

  • Mayaro_Man on March 5, 2014, 3:14 GMT

    Gritty, committed, skilful, supportive and above all classy. A true hero of the sport who should be remembered as one of SA's best. Well played Graeme Smith. Enjoy the other side of life now.

  • gibbs.175 on March 5, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    Graeme Smith Was a talented cricketer but unfortunately he ,been out of touch and never got that back .On the other hand he did not try to change his order (batting slot ) , Smith should have try to play in the middle order. but it is over now .Smith has never been a good and aggressive captain and he never showed posstive role to bring the young talented in the final squad . during 2003 to 2011 he has played almost same 15 -20 players . In the same period of time Indian , Lankan , England , Aus ,NZ captains have played with 30 - 35 players .That is why other captain has much talented team than RSA ( winning Tourney rates ) ...Smith is Responsible for this downfall ,Now ABD can play or make plans more freely and possitivley because this is not easy to work with ex. captain (the captain like Smith ,more tough ) or senior players . If someone wants to be a perfect captain with senior players ,captains FOLLOW S.GANGULY .....,Good luck Smith .....Carry on ABD and DU PLESIS

  • HolyShmoly on March 5, 2014, 1:56 GMT

    Graeme did what no else has done or would ever do in the near future, lead a team when you are just 7 tests old. While he was lucky to have some great players in his side - Kallis, Donald, Styen, Boucher and the recent crop of world class batsmen, bowlers and keeper, he led from the front. The one thing that he must be sorely missing is a WC trophy. The only consolation for him would for SA to win next years WC, so he could at least feel proud of "his" team. As an Indian fan, if India is not going to win (which is almost unlikely as AFG or BD winning), I would love SA to win.

    Salute to a man with bloody determination.

  • Dangertroy on March 5, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    The circumstances really remind me of Ricky Pontings farewell. Final test of a three match aus/sa series that was still in the balance. A guard of honour, an innings all too short.

    Farewell Mr Smith. As an Aussie fan, I'll always respect you for the way you saw off three English captains. Shame you couldn't make it to England again soon, as I reckon you would of had a red hot chance to make it four. Best of luck with the rest of your career.

  • dunger.bob on March 5, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    A lovely article. I nearly had a tear in my eye and I'm not even South African. I'm pleased our boys showed him the respect and appreciation he deserves. Wonderful stuff.

  • on March 4, 2014, 23:55 GMT

    The selectors should think about giving the captaincy to Faf as he would make a great test captain and is a great leader. They should give the captaincy to Faf for both test and ODI formats and then allow AB to focus on his batting and then AB has the potential to go down in history as one of the all time great batsmen. I say Faf for new captain.

    Graham Smith, we say thank you for all you have done for SA cricket, you will go down in history as the best captain SA has had. Thank you so much for your services to SA cricket, you will be missed.

  • on March 4, 2014, 23:53 GMT

    Gutless man. At 33 he retires because he cannot face the humiliation of a single poor series. I suppose that is what makes the difference between a good player and a great. Think of Viv Richards, Sobers, Gavaskar, Hutton, Ponting, Kallis, Lara, even Bradman (11 Test innings without a century) and now Clarke. Had they scampered safely into retirement at the first drop in form, what would their legacy have been? Graeme will be remembered as Tendulkar is: a fair-weather friend, a loser, a man who could not fight when the odds were against him. Saffers' Tendulkar.

  • ShutTheGate on March 4, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    South Africa without Graeme Smith will be strange. It will feel almost like we're playing a different team.

    A legend of the game.

  • on March 4, 2014, 22:24 GMT

    a piece of writing appropriate to a such a hard fought and ultimately successful career. He took a lot of hits, Smith , but came through it with an admirable record and tremendous composure. One thinks that he will succeed at whatever he turns his hand to now

  • on March 4, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    A player who entered World Cricket to be the leader of South African team..Such a long successful haul as the test captain of Safers ..Wish u best of luck for the future Respect and appreciation from Pakistani

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    I second Ameya here. Absolutely wonderful article by Firdose. Couldn't have been a more glorious tribute to a legendary career. Take a bow Graeme Smith. You deserve every bit of applause you got today. Cricket will miss you.

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    very emotional writing. Even though I am a die hard fan of Australia, I wanted him to score half century. I really respect him.

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    regarding all the talk of india not winning anything outside subcontinental dustbowls- first of all - they are not a weak team by any stretch of imagination playing anywhere in the world ,its just that the bowling has become shambolic over the years,its just a matter of time that the bowling wil be sorted ,and when considering the inexperience of the batters and the way they have performed ,they are something for the future tours to watch for doesnt matter how much the aussies and saffers and others make fun of them but it is their boards which literally beg and want the indian team to tour their respective countries but when it comes to icc tournaments theres no better team in them like india and sl and they will be the favourites for the 2015 wc also

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    Great cricketer, a few points worth mentioning. Firstly credit to CSA for having the vision of making him the captain at such a young age, needed a fresh start to recover from the Cronje fiasco. Secondly, i remember him being bullied by Steve Waugh's Aussies in his debut test, but he stood strong in the second innings, only to be counted along Steve as crickets greatest captains. Salute you Smith, pray that Faf and AB give you a fitting farewell.

  • mmoosa on March 4, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    People have no idea what pressure Smith withstood from every quarter including political,player selection,media perceptions of his "arrogance" and lack of both strike bowling or spin options.

    Smith led from the front and he scored big runs,big innings and match winning ones.He forged the unit from an uncertain one to one that spawned Amla,A.B and Steyn as modern greats.He leaves the team in a far stronger position then when he commenced his captaincy.Rebuild though they must and the Smith-Kallis-Boucher axis is no more but resides in the A.B-Amla-Steyn stewardship of the team.

    Too many memories but above all is that sheer champion attitude that elevates people to great deeds..Enjoy your retirement young man and your family...you have earned every plaudit.

  • on March 4, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    graeme smith is great player great thinker and had ability of match winning player,i recand him one of the best player south Africa ever produce after hanse cronje(late)

  • on March 4, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    oh no when this haPpened ?? we all are so busy in afridi heroics that most of us didn realize that legend has just retired :-(

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Massive Australian fan but for once I was quite disappointed when we took a wicket. Goodbye Biff, a modern day great indeed!

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:35 GMT

    He was a Great Player... Respect from Pakistan.

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    Please immediately reconsider your decision to retire since the ozzies through their mental slapping approach do this to a lot of players thus leading them to premature retirements, leaving their teams permanently scarred.

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    One of the finest articles for one of the finest captains the world has seen. Numerous centuries and especially on the 4th innings centuries leading to SA win. Amazing cricketer and wonder captain. On his day, he would definitely be amongst the greatest cricketers - Bradman, Richards, Sachin, Lara, Kallis, Ponting, Waugh. The last 2 years has seen the greatest cricketers retiring - Sachin, Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, Laxman and now Smith.. what for now will we watch the game of Cricket.. especially the test cricket.. Salute to all these Greats!

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    Has off to smith..really a great player and one of the great captains of the game..wish him all the best in future.from Pakistan

  • Nortox on March 4, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    Must say.. A very nice article and there should be more of these for International entertainers , great player.

    Smith was not a pretty player but sure was a gritty one. Wonderful captain for RSA and will be difficult for CSA to find some one as good as him to lead. With Kallis and Smith ending there carriers in small space Team SA will find it tough to maintain their supremacy in Test arena.

  • Aaryabhatta on March 4, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    Salute from India....Good leadr

  • iamthecaptain on March 4, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    Haven't read a better article in cricket. Kallis, Dravid, Sachin and their likes all deserved an article as this. Ah! Wonder what would the author write when MSD retires.

  • on March 4, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Hats off to Greame Smith for serving South African cricket for so long and with all the commitment which was required to live up the true spirit of cricket as gentleman's game. He served South African cricket with an unflinching faith, unmatched zeal and the exclusive warmth of heart. Wish him best of luck for his future assignments..

    Arshid Jan RANA, Kabul, Afghanistan

  • on March 4, 2014, 17:50 GMT

    South african's never gave smith his due respect, he is the reason that they are number 1 in tests. He was a man who led by example, not by talks, when he scored a century saf never lost a game. I Wonder if we will ever see another captain leading team for 10 long years. Salute Smith, you are name of an inspiration.

  • on March 4, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    Sensitive and well written article. Always a giant of the game, physically and and as a batsman and cricketer, pulling South Africa out of several difficult situations. Great leader of men from what I have seen and heard. There comes a time when your hand eye co- ordination falls apart a split second and that is good enough to make batting difficult against a really quick bowler. Perhaps he will have a great future as an administrator of this great sport.

  • samirsss on March 4, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    I agree about a really well written article. I wonder what kind of transition that SA team will go through now that Smith wont be there.

  • domeroo on March 4, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Superb article Firdose. As a long-time SA fan thank you Graeme Smith. You changed the mindset of this team to mirror your own, providing a period of undiluted enjoyment ranging from double tons in England to broken hands in Australia. Nobody should begrudge you your place in the pantheon of greats or a long and prosperous life after the game.

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    Grame Smith as a batsmen looking to his stance, grip, back lift and balance always looked vulnerable perhaps the most easy opening batsmen to take the wicket of in internatinal cricket. Perhaps the only reason he survived was a captain of talented and aggresive side and ofcourse good man manager. If you watch Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, kumar Sangakara, Mahela Jaywardene, Jaques Kallis and Virat Kohli batting you will know he was no where near. He was never considered as prize wicket. I am sure he is lucky never had to face Wasim Akram.

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    Well, he was not very consistent to be honest. On top of that he couldn't handle spin very well. His record against Pakistan India and Sri lanka are there for everyone to see. An average ODI player with an average of 37. I think Greame retiring will be a blessing in disguise for Saffers. In the recent past he had become a negative influence for the team who had to carry him along while he got out without much on the board. In addition, I think SA are making a mistake by picking Alvrio. This guy will never come good. They should opt for de kock instead.

  • Hashimbaig on March 4, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    Why Graeme Smith retires so early? Not a great decision, because if you struggles to score runs, so why you are not rest. I think that south africa will be a very bad team now 100% shore.

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    Some awesome piece of writing. I had not seen the match, but after reading this, I thought that I was watching everything LIVE. Kudos to the writer. And yes, farewell Graeme Smith. You were n will always be a wonderful cricketer.

  • marubini on March 4, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    End of an era #farewell graem smith our greatest captain since readmission.

  • sundersingh on March 4, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    smith has shown the way to many modern day cricket when it comes to taking retirement decision... GReat player for SA.... and good captain, i think the down ladder is shown for SA in cricket

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    on these pitches when you bat you keep batting...these pitches do not crumble on last few days making bowling out opposition as much difficult as in 1st innings except that the natural cause of pressure still remains.

  • cheguramana on March 4, 2014, 16:10 GMT

    It feels very stranger.... Suddenly, three Absolute legends of South Africa are out of Test cricket - smith, Kali's, Boucher..... Feels a bit like Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly leaving Indian team.... Finding replacements wl be a challenge, I think we can say that Saffer's perch at no.1 in Test cricket is nearly over!

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    Stunning bit of pros, Firdose - not too sentimental for such an emotive occasion. Biff will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind him a side arguably in better shape than the one he inherited all those years ago. I was lucky enough to see his double-ton at HQ and Hashim Amla's triple at The Oval. How lucky is that?

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    good by smith its very good series but you play well as my expectation you have good player of cricket ever. love u smith

  • fifth_innings on March 4, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    A poignant writing and an emotional fairwell to one of the greatest SA captain of all time.

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Hats Off. Great 4th Innings Player. He was close to 10000 runs. He needed only 750 and odd. He did not scratch around and still chose to retire. Great Sportsmanship. Good Luck Smith for you future endeavors.

  • Chn2 on March 4, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    Greame has been a very nice cricketer, great opener & brilliant leader. He will always be remembered for the goods he has done to Cricket SA & world wide cricket fan. Greame thanks for all the entertainment you have given to us.

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    A masterpiece apt for a master. Thanks Firdose.

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    Farewell Graeme Smith. Thank you for all those wonderful years. It was like you began yesterday, but alas I remain young no more. The longest serving captain of our age after Ricky Pointing and Stephen Fleming; a thoroughbred mix of both, yet only better; a renegade to begin with, a statesman to end as; you are what Virat Kohli could be, and what we hope he surely must be; fore sure a better role model of leadership there shall not be. Thank you Captain Smith. It was a pleasure. #GraemeSmith.

  • legspinner007 on March 4, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    Beautiful description of the final innings of one of the games legends last Firdose... Hats off...

  • legspinner007 on March 4, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    Beautiful description of the final innings of one of the games legends last Firdose... Hats off...

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    Farewell Graeme Smith. Thank you for all those wonderful years. It was like you began yesterday, but alas I remain young no more. The longest serving captain of our age after Ricky Pointing and Stephen Fleming; a thoroughbred mix of both, yet only better; a renegade to begin with, a statesman to end as; you are what Virat Kohli could be, and what we hope he surely must be; fore sure a better role model of leadership there shall not be. Thank you Captain Smith. It was a pleasure. #GraemeSmith.

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    A masterpiece apt for a master. Thanks Firdose.

  • Chn2 on March 4, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    Greame has been a very nice cricketer, great opener & brilliant leader. He will always be remembered for the goods he has done to Cricket SA & world wide cricket fan. Greame thanks for all the entertainment you have given to us.

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Hats Off. Great 4th Innings Player. He was close to 10000 runs. He needed only 750 and odd. He did not scratch around and still chose to retire. Great Sportsmanship. Good Luck Smith for you future endeavors.

  • fifth_innings on March 4, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    A poignant writing and an emotional fairwell to one of the greatest SA captain of all time.

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    good by smith its very good series but you play well as my expectation you have good player of cricket ever. love u smith

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    Stunning bit of pros, Firdose - not too sentimental for such an emotive occasion. Biff will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind him a side arguably in better shape than the one he inherited all those years ago. I was lucky enough to see his double-ton at HQ and Hashim Amla's triple at The Oval. How lucky is that?

  • cheguramana on March 4, 2014, 16:10 GMT

    It feels very stranger.... Suddenly, three Absolute legends of South Africa are out of Test cricket - smith, Kali's, Boucher..... Feels a bit like Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly leaving Indian team.... Finding replacements wl be a challenge, I think we can say that Saffer's perch at no.1 in Test cricket is nearly over!

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    on these pitches when you bat you keep batting...these pitches do not crumble on last few days making bowling out opposition as much difficult as in 1st innings except that the natural cause of pressure still remains.