Graeme Smith retires March 5, 2014

'When I told the team, it was a really tough night'

61

After 10 years, 11 months and 16 days, 117 Tests, 60 wins, 9265 runs, 27 hundreds and more press conferences, training sessions and autographs than you can count, Graeme Smith had one word to describe his international career: privileged.

"When I look at my Test cap, it's worn down and it's been through a lot but it's been a privilege," Smith said after his last day as a Test cricketer. "Today is a day I would like to celebrate. The challenges of captaining are well documented but I only see it as a highlight. I've been extremely proud of captaining South Africa."

Smith is Test cricket's longest-serving captain and under his leadership, South Africa grew from a team that threatened to achieve into one that achieved. They won series in tough places, members of their squad became world leaders in their disciplines and they became a unified unit.

Smith began thinking about retirement in June, when Gary Kirsten's tenure as coach ended. Smith wasn't sure if it was just Kirsten going, Mark Boucher gone and Jacques Kallis about to go that sparked the idea, or whether he really wanted to call it quits. "It's been a period of time of trying to understand that because everyone kept telling me you're only 33," he said.

If any cricketer has proved that age is really nothing but a number, that person is Smith. He took over the captaincy at 22 and played at the highest level for 11 years. Smith had said he did not want to play until the same age as Jacques Kallis (38) or Sachin Tendulkar (40) and perhaps that is how old he feels already. Once he accepted that, it was just about doing what he considered the right thing.

"The hard part is to have the courage to make the decision," Smith said. "It felt like the time is right. I realised this is the place where I wanted to finish. I didn't want to hang on too long and finish it in a place where it didn't feel right. It just took courage to hang on to that last 5% and make the decision.

"I haven't had my best series. I felt really good in the two past series but knowing that the end was near made it difficult for me to find the space to keep performing."

Before the second innings against Australia at Newlands, Smith needed to call time. His first duty was to tell his charges. It was also his most difficult task. No player in that change-room knew a Test captain other than Smith. His concern was that they would feel abandoned. "When I told the team, it was a really tough night. I didn't get too many words out," he said. "The hardest part was saying goodbye to the team. For so long the Proteas have been my family. I've grown close to players and I will cherish those relationships for the rest of my life."

Knitting close bonds is what Smith's leadership was really about. As his captaincy matured, his focus shifted away from results and towards team building, which he realised would ultimately bring results. "To create the culture and to see it grow has been really special," Smith said. "And there's been so many wonderful victories around the world. Our record away from home is something I am proud of as a leader as well."

Smith also places value on things that cannot be measured. As his captaincy reached its later stages, he spent time emphasising team culture and the importance of representing the country the best way possible. He stressed that political challenges had nothing to do with his decision to step down. "I am hugely proud of the diversity and the quality of players that have come through and stand their ground against anyone in the world. The diversity of this team is our strength," he said.

He thinks it will continue to be that way but South Africa's most important challenge will be filling the gap left by the retirements of three stalwarts: Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis and himself. "There's some important things that need to be tightened and an environment needs to be created that can create success. The leadership group and how they galvanise the players and get them in the right direction will be important," Smith said. "Yes, the team has lost a lot of experience but there are guys who have played well around the world."

He will be around to offer advice when needed. "There are certain challenges on the exterior that need to be met. I'd love to play a role in helping. I have gained a lot of experience over the years and I'd love to share that."

For now, though, he has something he needs to do: let go. While South Africa's lower-order batted out the final hours of Smith's international career and attempted to increase his unbeaten series run to 15, the former national captain found out how difficult it bowing out really was. "We've become good at never letting go," Smith said.

Smith's days as a South African cricketer are over but he left the way he arrived -fighting. "We found a way to take it as deep as possible. It would have been a wonderful fairytale if we hung in there but I saw enough qualities to know South Africa will be strong for a long period of time."

In that knowledge, Smith can walk away a satisfied and proud man. He is choosing to walk away feeling privileged instead.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Crictragic1 on March 7, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    One of the very best men of cricket I've ever witnessed; and I am a cricket tragic and fanatic of pthe ast 50 years!

  • Wallaroo on March 6, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    Well I have to admit it Smith has been a great captain for South Africa and set an example of leadership for many around the world. Humble yet unyielding. I hated him in the beginning and thought he was arrogant when he called Shane Warne a backyard captain; but over the years I have grown to admire him and appreciate his "different" sense of humour and awkward stance. While I wouldn't read a book on how to play cricket by Graeme Smith I would definitely read one on how to lead and inspire a damaged team by Graeme Smith. Take care and hope the future brings you more successes.

  • kitten on March 6, 2014, 20:47 GMT

    Greetings and best wishes to you Graeme, from Toronto. I have enjoyed watching you bat, and your tough captaincy was a pleasure to see. You have made SA proud, and will always be remembered. You were uncompromising on the field, and rightly so, but you were never shy of congratulating the opposition whenever the need arose, true hallmarks of a champion. Even though you have called time on your career, inspite of being so young, you have rightly deserved all the accolades you receive, and I would just like to thank you for all the entertainment provided over the years. I wish you, and your young family, all the very best of good health, and lots of happiness, now, and in the years to come. Take a bow, Graeme!

  • on March 6, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    farewell Smith, we will truly miss you ://

  • Tiptop32 on March 6, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    @Katey, you are wrong, nowhere Kallis told no to captaincy. He was sidelined by SA cricket board. pls dont mislead cricket lovers.

  • on March 6, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Congrats G Smith - a fantastic career and a great example to the kiddies following cricket. Y

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    SA will have more top order problems than ever. Smith Gibbs and Kallis was such a formidable top order. Every1 forgets about Gibbs (who had a lot of problems and did not live up to his potential ) but who formed great opening partnerships with Kirsten at first and then Smith especially. They are still to find a stable partner for Smith in tests after Gibbs ouster and now even Smith is gone .Amla might move up the order to open now and so will the other batsman. AB at 4 Faf at 5 JP at 6 .Give De Cock another go and I've heard about Van Zyl a lot so maybe him. Massive rebuilding phase .Let's hope steyn has 3-4 years in him as even he's on the wrong side of 30 .Also I think philander at 7 is a sensible option as he can get 40-50 odd quite easily every time I have seen him. SA BADLY need a spinner. JP is an OK 2 nd spinner but SA need a guy like at least Lyon .Maybe give Simon Harmer a go?

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    Smith also places value on things that cannot be measured. As his captaincy reached its later stages, he spent time emphasising team culture and the importance of representing the country the best way possible. He stressed that political challenges had nothing to do with his decision to step down. "I am hugely proud of the diversity and the quality of players that have come through and stand their ground against anyone in the world. The diversity of this team is our strength

  • Dirtysneakers on March 6, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    @hello13 don't get bitter get better. No doubt smith's career has been inspirational and great, but no need to degrade Clarke and the Australians.

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    With a heavy bottom-hand, a tendency to ignore the entire off side and a whole lot of heart, Graeme Smith muscled his way to 17,236 international runs across three formats. He said determination rather than technique had helped him get there.

  • Crictragic1 on March 7, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    One of the very best men of cricket I've ever witnessed; and I am a cricket tragic and fanatic of pthe ast 50 years!

  • Wallaroo on March 6, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    Well I have to admit it Smith has been a great captain for South Africa and set an example of leadership for many around the world. Humble yet unyielding. I hated him in the beginning and thought he was arrogant when he called Shane Warne a backyard captain; but over the years I have grown to admire him and appreciate his "different" sense of humour and awkward stance. While I wouldn't read a book on how to play cricket by Graeme Smith I would definitely read one on how to lead and inspire a damaged team by Graeme Smith. Take care and hope the future brings you more successes.

  • kitten on March 6, 2014, 20:47 GMT

    Greetings and best wishes to you Graeme, from Toronto. I have enjoyed watching you bat, and your tough captaincy was a pleasure to see. You have made SA proud, and will always be remembered. You were uncompromising on the field, and rightly so, but you were never shy of congratulating the opposition whenever the need arose, true hallmarks of a champion. Even though you have called time on your career, inspite of being so young, you have rightly deserved all the accolades you receive, and I would just like to thank you for all the entertainment provided over the years. I wish you, and your young family, all the very best of good health, and lots of happiness, now, and in the years to come. Take a bow, Graeme!

  • on March 6, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    farewell Smith, we will truly miss you ://

  • Tiptop32 on March 6, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    @Katey, you are wrong, nowhere Kallis told no to captaincy. He was sidelined by SA cricket board. pls dont mislead cricket lovers.

  • on March 6, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Congrats G Smith - a fantastic career and a great example to the kiddies following cricket. Y

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    SA will have more top order problems than ever. Smith Gibbs and Kallis was such a formidable top order. Every1 forgets about Gibbs (who had a lot of problems and did not live up to his potential ) but who formed great opening partnerships with Kirsten at first and then Smith especially. They are still to find a stable partner for Smith in tests after Gibbs ouster and now even Smith is gone .Amla might move up the order to open now and so will the other batsman. AB at 4 Faf at 5 JP at 6 .Give De Cock another go and I've heard about Van Zyl a lot so maybe him. Massive rebuilding phase .Let's hope steyn has 3-4 years in him as even he's on the wrong side of 30 .Also I think philander at 7 is a sensible option as he can get 40-50 odd quite easily every time I have seen him. SA BADLY need a spinner. JP is an OK 2 nd spinner but SA need a guy like at least Lyon .Maybe give Simon Harmer a go?

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    Smith also places value on things that cannot be measured. As his captaincy reached its later stages, he spent time emphasising team culture and the importance of representing the country the best way possible. He stressed that political challenges had nothing to do with his decision to step down. "I am hugely proud of the diversity and the quality of players that have come through and stand their ground against anyone in the world. The diversity of this team is our strength

  • Dirtysneakers on March 6, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    @hello13 don't get bitter get better. No doubt smith's career has been inspirational and great, but no need to degrade Clarke and the Australians.

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    With a heavy bottom-hand, a tendency to ignore the entire off side and a whole lot of heart, Graeme Smith muscled his way to 17,236 international runs across three formats. He said determination rather than technique had helped him get there.

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    great captainship by g smith for s.af. team.9000+ test runs told all about his batsmanship.best wishesh for his futer life.

  • scklnka on March 6, 2014, 11:05 GMT

    great captain retires,and an era is ending ponting ,tendulkar,kallis,now smith,respect from india

  • din7 on March 6, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    no doubt a LEGEND! captaining a side as diverse as SA for 11 yrs is not a mean task and to the top of it converting them into no1 test side in the world....cricket will remember u forever...hes just 33 which seems a premature retirement...but anyways....farewell graeme

  • Protears on March 6, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Biff leaves SA cricket in a better state than he joined it in. He leaves a team of rough tags that climbed all mountains with him and will lead the next generation of Protea's to what we hope are fruitful times in SA cricket. Biff and Kallis hand over the reigns to Amla, De Villiers, Du Plessis, Steyn and Philander to culture the next generation proteas.

  • on March 6, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    a REAL Hero !!! #Respect

  • brusselslion on March 6, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    Congratulations to GS on a fine Test career.

    Welcome (back) to the Oval. Good luck (you'll need it). If you can turn Surrey into a winning team, you'll be labelled a genius.

  • on March 6, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    Great Captain and cricketer who has served SA and the world well and thank you Mr Smith and may God Bless you

  • ThreePIllarTales on March 6, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    From the backdrop of a racially and economically divided country looking for new hope after the Hansie debacle, Smith was South African cricket's answer to the world. From always being the bridesmaid honest uncompromising Biff took Safa to the top while coping with all the racial quota rubbish. It takes time to engender what was a priviledged sport into the masses. Well done mate.

  • Hello13 on March 6, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    Smith is a very decent man, that everyone respects regardless of nationality. The same can't be said for Clarke and the other Australians, who are a disgrace and should be banned.

  • fair_paly_1 on March 6, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    A couple of things stand out about Smith. Taking over captaincy at a tender age of 22 and staying on the helm of almost 11 years. This is an amazing record and achievement.

    Second is having been at the helm for 11 years and feeling old for cricket at 33 is admirable. Why does this not happen in other countries especially in Asian team until they get literally kicked out? Tendulkar would probably have gone on well into his 40's if people hadn't started asking questions when is he gonna retire. Same is likely to happen with Misbah. They never call it a day voluntarily.

  • on March 6, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    Yes is a good captain or I say was but he was a team man and v good batsman and south Africa cricket team and the fans and all over the world cricket lovers will remember him .....farewell g.smith

  • keyancools on March 6, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Losing Kallis and Smith in a short time going to be very hard on SA test team.But when legend falls a new one comes,so very good opportunity for the youngters now.and best wishes for Smith for his future.

  • on March 6, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    Salute ur contribution for ur cricket contribution. U r a true competitor. U will remrmber for long long time .

  • on March 6, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    farewell to a great warrior. on a different note why does these Indian morons try to compare tendulkar s batting and dhoni' s captancy with these great cricketers like Smith and KP. Indian bonehead need to get a life.

  • dunger.bob on March 6, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Big man. Big reputation. Big heart. Big loss to the game.

  • on March 6, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    A Legend... A Great Captain.... A Cool Player.... Mr.Smith.... World Cricket... Miss U... A Great Salute...

  • Paracha420 on March 6, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    Over the years we will remember the South African team "The team that Greame Smith made" hats off SMITH

  • Tendoschate on March 6, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    One of the finest Captain not involved in any controversies in 11 years of career and end up in a short note. Hats off to Smith for its contribution to SA.

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    great captain hats off to u smith I m big fan if sachin n kallis but after listening about ur retirement I was really very emotional I was very upset but its alright have a nice journey with family you r d best captain not for south africa but for game cricket once again hat's off to u

  • JimmySA on March 6, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    If you guys want to have a great read then buy Smith's book (If not already). Then you can see the mind-set he had and the strategies and confidence that he injected in the team giving them the belief that they could go to new heights and achieve things that were thought impossible. When you see the way they play on the field you have the same mind-set as the players because you know what they thinking and you believe they can win from crazy situations. Well done on a great career Captain Smith!

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    team india should follow him, if you feel you are out of form, you want to retire

  • Sandasiri_Asitha on March 6, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    A Legend.... A cricketer we all love... Hat off for the great Mr.Smith !!

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    "The Hardest part was not letting go and taking part.... It was the hardest pa-a-art"... lol... lay that Coldplay down my loquacious brother... But, no, great captain for SA to love and others to hate (and we did), especially kiwis.... but maybe that was respect. Pity to see another player perceived as jumping ship, hypothetically, as they lost and were losing. I want all greats to bow out on their own terms and this should be orchestrated. It's just not cricket otherwise. Good fight on the last day though SA... good effort.

  • milepost on March 6, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    Top guy, top player, top captain. Thanks.

  • uboatlover on March 6, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    great captain. sa won't be same without him. all prayers and wishes for his life after cricket

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    Farewell to one of my favorite cricketers Smith.. All the best for your future..

  • Katey on March 6, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    @Tiptop 32 (and others) - Kallis was offered the post as captain but did not accept it. He wanted to concentrate on his batting, and who will dare to say he was wrong! He has done amazing things as a batter (and bowler, and slip-catcher).

    Smith took on a tough job, in the morale-shattered team of post-Cronje and post-Pollock. He took it on as a very young man and brought to it the same qualities he showed as a batter: clumsy, ugly, without style, but also dogged, determined and with unbreakable courage.

    He was what the team needed and they responded, with the results you have seen. Especially in Test cricket, which has no World Cups, no glitz and glamour, but which needs the sort of qualities he showed and encouraged others to show: doggedness, determination and unbreakable courage.

    Goodbye Graeme! You've done SA proud and we will miss you.

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    Pity due to politics, Srilanka could not accommodate S Africa last year for tests. Ranjan Rodrigo

  • Malik_Murad on March 6, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    My eyes are full of tears by knowing that 'Cricket will be without Smith'. The one word I would like to dedicate to Smith is "FIGHTER". It would have been great had SA saved the last test against AUS. Irrespective of the loss against AUS,Smith will be remembered always as a role model captain and a true ambassador of Cricket around the globe. My salute to him....

  • on March 6, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    Great captian, took SA to a cliff...... hats offf..... only thing is SA to continue the same........

  • on March 6, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    A wonderful cricketer and a great Captain... Sad to see him go... He will be missed badly...

  • on March 6, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    I reckon the south african team should nurture Dean elgar fir a future captain to carry on after Smith as jn this series we saw a different better side of him

  • on March 6, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    As a batsman he might not be a legend as some people say (if ststs count anything then he definitely is a fourth innings legend, legendary than Sachin and Kallis himself) but as a cricket player with all its attribute he stands out as a modern day legend, who was so ugly with his strokeplay and stance that it made bowlers cringe more about how could a giant with no technique at all murder my good balls with such disdain and plunder heaps of runs?

    yeah! i can get him out second innings but wait he is one of the best fourth innings batsman of all time.. oh!! good God. this ugly elegance...

  • G_M_Awan on March 6, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    True captain or simply born captain........

  • sergio11 on March 6, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    more of an emotional decsin than a practical one..he is just 33..yes he is out of form..but personal problems or form related problem he could have take a brake and then return..anyways,one of the all time best opener..and a great captian...lot of rescept...from india..

  • on March 6, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    smith you came young to cricket and you left cricket young , a example to play short and sweet

  • Meety on March 6, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    Whilst I am okay with the individuals right to retire when they feel like it, coming straight after Kallis's decision - it is going to really hit SA hard. Experience counts for a lot & now AB & Amla (& Steyn) - will carry a heavy load.

  • on March 6, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Good luck for your future and your county cricket

  • on March 5, 2014, 23:48 GMT

    Alas! Parting is such sweet sorrow....

  • gcblackcapsfan on March 5, 2014, 23:46 GMT

    Congratulations on a wonderful career, inspirational captain and individual! All the best for your future endeavours hopefully you will be given an opportunity to continue contributing to S.A cricket.

  • perl57 on March 5, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    As a subcontinental person, I do find Graeme Smith as a good cricketer. Cannot term him to be any legend but definitely, to be able to stay as captain and even captain world XI once speaks volumes of talent and man management he has in him. As a cricketer, he is an average batsman but as a captain, stands right up there with the best. If anything, SA miss their captain more than the batsman himself. Negatives may be a part of any life, but his negativity was not at all at the level of Hansie Cronje. Who cares if he cannot be compared to Kallis and Boucher but he has continued the tradition of consistency in SA cricket right from when it started with Kepler, and then to Hansie, and then to Shaun. Only thing he could not achieve was a WC title. Good Luck Graeme. Thank you for the entertainment.

  • Snambidi on March 5, 2014, 22:10 GMT

    So at last the gossip that the greatest captain of Test cricket would quit has become a reality.SA Captain Crame Smith has finally decided to call it a day. Though the SA team & the cricket World are not very happy about the sudden announcement,it is the most appropriate juncture Smith decided to quit because the ICC Ranking if first position is in tact when he took the decision. The most unexpected Victory of Australia when just 4 overs left in the final day,however,mostly affected not for SA or her Captain Smith but the second rank holders India for no fault of them. India lowered her rank from second to third with just three ratings below the Aussies who hold 115 as against 113 of India. But India still maintains the second Rank in ODI rankings& ICC twenty20 . Dhoni will have to take over again on return from injury to improve upon the rankings. A chance is wide open in the T20 format soon when the World cup starts on the 16th of this month in BANGLADESH.ALL THE BEST SMITH& Dhoni

  • on March 5, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    An absolute legend of modern game . A well respected player who played the game in right spirit and fought till last minute . You will be missed Smith thanks for the memories

  • nainil0683 on March 5, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    True leader. Very good batsman, strong on the leg side and a true South African. Greame Smith will be remembered as a 22 year old captain going on to lead the side for 11 years in 109 Test matches. Although fans would have liked him to stay till around the age of 37 or 38, he is the true judge of his body and personal life. Many many Congratulations to Smith for having a fantastic career. Best of luck!

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    farewell

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    Great player. Miss u smith

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    Smith, Gibbs and Kallis. That's how I'll remember the Proteas top order! Now a new era starts with De Villiers being a senior. I do hope it's not to long before Stiaan van Zyl makes his way in the team, as it is only a matter of time. A quality test player with a splended technique.

  • vrn59 on March 5, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    My new SA XI: Dean Elgar, Alviro Petersen (or any young player that SA can find to replace him), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers (C), Francois du Plessis, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange / Simon Harmer. If they need a bowling allrounder, AB can keep and Faf can lead, with Wayne Parnell or Ryan McLaren at 7 in de Kock's place.

  • Tiptop32 on March 5, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    He has to consider himself extremely lucky to become captain of a team without any substantial achievement. It was a blunder by SA cricket board at that stage but he responded well. Having said that Kallis was an established and matured player at that time when Shaun Pollock was sacked from captaincy. SA board did injustice to Kallis by not giving a chance. I don't buy the argument that great players don't make good captain. If that was true we wouldn't have seen Imran khan, Viv Richards, Kapil Dev, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting. SA missed a good captain in Kallis. Graeme Smith was the beneficiary of the injustice done to Kallis by SA board. I also congratulate Smith for his achievements.This is from an indian neutral fan.

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Wonderful captain.. took charge at young age & never got distracted from his job.. Ii always had respect of his leadership & d way he carried his team... Take a bow !! u wl be missed when d coin goes in the air again in SA test match !!

  • India_Rules_Everybody on March 5, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    A sad day for cricket. It is always tough for both the player as well as fans of the game to watch one of them retire. Smith's has been a constant presence in the game for more than a decade and we all wish him the best of years ahead. Thank you Biff for your service to the game.

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  • India_Rules_Everybody on March 5, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    A sad day for cricket. It is always tough for both the player as well as fans of the game to watch one of them retire. Smith's has been a constant presence in the game for more than a decade and we all wish him the best of years ahead. Thank you Biff for your service to the game.

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Wonderful captain.. took charge at young age & never got distracted from his job.. Ii always had respect of his leadership & d way he carried his team... Take a bow !! u wl be missed when d coin goes in the air again in SA test match !!

  • Tiptop32 on March 5, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    He has to consider himself extremely lucky to become captain of a team without any substantial achievement. It was a blunder by SA cricket board at that stage but he responded well. Having said that Kallis was an established and matured player at that time when Shaun Pollock was sacked from captaincy. SA board did injustice to Kallis by not giving a chance. I don't buy the argument that great players don't make good captain. If that was true we wouldn't have seen Imran khan, Viv Richards, Kapil Dev, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting. SA missed a good captain in Kallis. Graeme Smith was the beneficiary of the injustice done to Kallis by SA board. I also congratulate Smith for his achievements.This is from an indian neutral fan.

  • vrn59 on March 5, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    My new SA XI: Dean Elgar, Alviro Petersen (or any young player that SA can find to replace him), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers (C), Francois du Plessis, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange / Simon Harmer. If they need a bowling allrounder, AB can keep and Faf can lead, with Wayne Parnell or Ryan McLaren at 7 in de Kock's place.

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    Smith, Gibbs and Kallis. That's how I'll remember the Proteas top order! Now a new era starts with De Villiers being a senior. I do hope it's not to long before Stiaan van Zyl makes his way in the team, as it is only a matter of time. A quality test player with a splended technique.

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    Great player. Miss u smith

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    farewell

  • nainil0683 on March 5, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    True leader. Very good batsman, strong on the leg side and a true South African. Greame Smith will be remembered as a 22 year old captain going on to lead the side for 11 years in 109 Test matches. Although fans would have liked him to stay till around the age of 37 or 38, he is the true judge of his body and personal life. Many many Congratulations to Smith for having a fantastic career. Best of luck!

  • on March 5, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    An absolute legend of modern game . A well respected player who played the game in right spirit and fought till last minute . You will be missed Smith thanks for the memories

  • Snambidi on March 5, 2014, 22:10 GMT

    So at last the gossip that the greatest captain of Test cricket would quit has become a reality.SA Captain Crame Smith has finally decided to call it a day. Though the SA team & the cricket World are not very happy about the sudden announcement,it is the most appropriate juncture Smith decided to quit because the ICC Ranking if first position is in tact when he took the decision. The most unexpected Victory of Australia when just 4 overs left in the final day,however,mostly affected not for SA or her Captain Smith but the second rank holders India for no fault of them. India lowered her rank from second to third with just three ratings below the Aussies who hold 115 as against 113 of India. But India still maintains the second Rank in ODI rankings& ICC twenty20 . Dhoni will have to take over again on return from injury to improve upon the rankings. A chance is wide open in the T20 format soon when the World cup starts on the 16th of this month in BANGLADESH.ALL THE BEST SMITH& Dhoni