County news September 27, 2012

Graeme Smith ponders lucrative Surrey offer

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Surrey have offered Graeme Smith, South Africa's Test captain, a lucrative long-term deal that could potentially require him to give up international cricket.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Smith has been identified by Surrey as the perfect man to lead their rebuilding process after a season that saw the retirement of senior batsman Mark Ramprakash, the death of the talented Tom Maynard and the departure of former captain Rory Hamilton-Brown. Smith would open the batting and lead the side.

It is not hard to see the attraction from Surrey's point of view. Smith, who will be 32 in February, has played more than 100 Tests and, as captain, overseen South Africa's ascent to No. 1 in the rankings. He averages almost 50 in Test cricket and scored a century in his 100th Test, against England at The Oval earlier this year.

After years on the road, a period of relative stability in London might well prove attractive for Smith too. He has recently married - his wife is from Ireland - and had his first child. But, while Smith has achieved almost everything he could have wanted as a Test player and no longer warrants selection in South Africa's T20I side, the ambition to win a World Cup remains strong.

While it is possible that Surrey would consider signing Smith simply as an overseas player and be happy for him to continue his international career, it is understood from a source in South Africa that the club are looking for a long-term option and would be reluctant to accept a situation where a player comes and goes according to the international fixture list. South Africa are scheduled to play in the Champions Trophy in England next June and then tour Sri Lanka in July and August.

Surrey declined to comment.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo; Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dan9999 on September 29, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    I don't think Smith will consider international retirement until he has scored 10,000 test runs: the benchmark for all-time greats. He is just about to enter his prime in terms of age for a batsman (32-34) and so I really don't think this will happen, at least not in the short term.

  • cloudmess on September 28, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    What a bizarre story. Any chance the other counties could offer lucrative, test-ending deals to the likes of Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, Steyn etc?

  • SICHO on September 28, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    @John Welsford, well then thank god you are not Graeme Smith.

  • on September 28, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    how lucrative is this deal. Thats what I like about the IPL compared to county cricket. We know how much the players are being bought for and paid. Media releases about county cricket don't disclose this

  • himohan007 on September 28, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    @ John Welsford Are sure KP n Strauss on side that too as partners of a franchise looodoooooool

  • screamingeagle on September 28, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    Like someone else posted, no one has issues when a county does poaching? :P Or maybe that is limited to IPL, I guess and when done by an English county, it is well in the spirit of the game or w/e.

  • on September 28, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    They say IPL poaches players but here when a county does that Shh shh

  • Sandman5five on September 28, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Achieved everything as a Test Player? Really? His side has just gone No.1. What about trying to stay there?! As a Captain, wouldn't he like to achieve that!

  • satish619chandar on September 28, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    So, you can retire for county cricket but certainly can't for IPL which will allow you more time with family? Certain boards don't even allow three week off! What a pity.

  • santosh386 on September 28, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Smith is only 32 and I don't think Surrey can offer anything so lucrative that he will quit international cricket in the near future. May be Surrey can try when he is 35

  • Dan9999 on September 29, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    I don't think Smith will consider international retirement until he has scored 10,000 test runs: the benchmark for all-time greats. He is just about to enter his prime in terms of age for a batsman (32-34) and so I really don't think this will happen, at least not in the short term.

  • cloudmess on September 28, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    What a bizarre story. Any chance the other counties could offer lucrative, test-ending deals to the likes of Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, Steyn etc?

  • SICHO on September 28, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    @John Welsford, well then thank god you are not Graeme Smith.

  • on September 28, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    how lucrative is this deal. Thats what I like about the IPL compared to county cricket. We know how much the players are being bought for and paid. Media releases about county cricket don't disclose this

  • himohan007 on September 28, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    @ John Welsford Are sure KP n Strauss on side that too as partners of a franchise looodoooooool

  • screamingeagle on September 28, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    Like someone else posted, no one has issues when a county does poaching? :P Or maybe that is limited to IPL, I guess and when done by an English county, it is well in the spirit of the game or w/e.

  • on September 28, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    They say IPL poaches players but here when a county does that Shh shh

  • Sandman5five on September 28, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Achieved everything as a Test Player? Really? His side has just gone No.1. What about trying to stay there?! As a Captain, wouldn't he like to achieve that!

  • satish619chandar on September 28, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    So, you can retire for county cricket but certainly can't for IPL which will allow you more time with family? Certain boards don't even allow three week off! What a pity.

  • santosh386 on September 28, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Smith is only 32 and I don't think Surrey can offer anything so lucrative that he will quit international cricket in the near future. May be Surrey can try when he is 35

  • shillingsworth on September 28, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    @Harvey - excellent comment, your theory seems much more plausible.

  • Guernica on September 28, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    There's absolutely nothing to suggest Smith is considering this offer - apart from the speculative title of this article. As most people suggest he has at least 5 years left in the test team and they'll need him when Kallis goes.

  • on September 28, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Shhh! Don't tell anybody I told you, but Smith, Strauss, Laxman and KP are starting a new IPL franchise...

  • on September 28, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Let's face it, over the years Smith's taken a bit of stick from the media and been labelled and blamed rather harshly for SA's failures. That must take a toll after a while. If I was him, I would be sorely tempted to not only leave the SA test side, but to leave cricket entirely....

  • wrenx on September 28, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Can't see why Smith would take this offer, other than wanting to be in one place for his family. At only 32, he's got many years left in him to prepare the test side for a long term successor in AB or Amla, and there are plenty of tough assignments upcoming for SA in the next 12 months. Maybe he wants to go out on a high, but why would he leave the international scene at the top of his game?

  • Alec_J on September 28, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    Please take the money Smith, your time is up!

  • on September 28, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    He's only 31, he can play on another 5 years in test and ODI cricket!!!! SA cricket needs him....stuff surrey cricket..

  • duncanmoo on September 28, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Hey Smithy, just when the South African public love you again? I just hope he does not take it, would be a poor end to his international career.

  • himohan007 on September 28, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Shame on ICC for allow ECB to streach its arm this far. After several years of negotiation ECB through Surrey pays high sum to convince him

  • on September 28, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    Graeme, I hope you wait a bit before doing this. You still have a lot of cricket in you.

  • himohan007 on September 28, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Good Ploy ECB to save Cook from embarrassment during their next clash.

  • Harvey on September 28, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    This story reminds me of Ryanair, who periodically make outrageous announcements, such as plans for a "fat tax" or to charge passengers per visit for the use of on-board toilet facilities. They know these things have little or no chance of happening, but it keeps them in the news. The ECB operates a salary cap in which the most a county is allowed to pay is £1.8m p.a. for its entire playing staff. How much scope does this give them to offer Smith a deal lucrative enough to give up international cricket and all the trappings of sponsorship and product endorsements that go with it? Not much, I wouldn't have thought.

  • on September 28, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    Dream on, not going to happen. Graham has got a quite a few test tours left, hopefully one of them will be another english tour and a dismissal of another english captain, or is that the ecb's method of getting rid of its South African talent, first Pietersen , then Strauss, watch yourselves Prior and Kieswetter, they coming for you too. Apologies from drifting away from the subject, just something for all cricket lovers to think about as english cricket is in a strong decline

  • on September 28, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    Why not ask Andy Strauss. Has 100 tests. Been an incredibly successful captain. Relatively young - and terrific with developing team members.

  • Surajdon9 on September 28, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    one of the rear BEST TEst Captain Love you smith.U have to do lots for South Africa...........

  • on September 28, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    As a Surrey supporter, I'd like nothing better than for Smith to replace the capricious & volatile Chris Adams - who, lest we forget, was instrumental in forcing Mark Ramprakash into retirement halfway through a season in which, following the losses of Tom Maynard & Rory Hamilton-Brown, we needed him more than ever - as long-term Surrey captain/supremo, but as someone who has a deep admiration & affection for South African cricket, I think it'd be a crying shame if he were to accept the post before his natural span as a world-class Test opener is up. Given that he's been plying his trade in the high-pressure arena of international cricket without a break for a decade or more, I can't agree with the commenters who claim that he still has four or five years left in the tank, but he undoubtedly still has a vital role to play in South Africa's surge towards domination across all three formats. I give him another two years at most, after which I'd love to see him take the reins at The Oval.

  • kingkarthik on September 28, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    This clear empitomises the cuckoo world in which the english counties and the english public live in. They would rather play nonsensical sunday cricket than international cricket. Anyone heard of frog in the well? I mean, the tanacity they have to think that Smith would be loser to give up his international career. Everyone, remember that now Warickshire (Where Ashley Giles is the top man in the management) is forcing Boyd Rankin to retire from Ireland and dedicate himself to the club. As Ashely stated, it is terribly frustrating that Rankin has to do national duties and he was getting injured, so he had to reduce the workload by retiring from international cricket. Is it not enough that you, the english counties have destroyed and undermined Ireland by poaching their best? Eion Morgan, Ed Joyce for a while. Our own little world, maybe that explains why Trescothic, Bopara, Yardy and Harmison all have fear of travelling overseas/ playing international cricket. Frogs in the well.

  • on September 28, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    West Indies Fan---It would be a slap to Cricket and Cricket fans around the world...this guy is only 31 i wpould to c him play a few more yrs.

  • yorkshirematt on September 27, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    Only Surrey would attempt something like this. Hope Smith sees the light and tells them where to go.

  • KiwiTrav on September 27, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    I guess England are tired of losing their own captains to Smiths team. I suppose this is the ploy to make sure Cook remains test captain for a long time yet :P

  • nikhil1122 on September 27, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    Smith can accept the deal, but this does not mean that he has to retire from international cricket. He is very close to 10000 test runs and thats no mean achievement. He can pick and choose the matches for Surrey and also play test cricket for SA. The SA team has gone strength to strength under his leadership and i hope it continues to do so.

  • on September 27, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    I'd be very disappointed in Smith should he accept this move.. It is an insulting offer..

  • ChuckyDoll on September 27, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Go for the money Smith! Forget the world cup. Everyone has something that they did not achieve. Look at all the (American) Football greats who never won a super-bowl. #1 is ephemeral, money for family and securing your family's future is real. Time to do justice to family.

  • Desilathha on September 27, 2012, 20:50 GMT

    If this is true than KP has not a thing wrong by retiring for IPL

  • djdrastic on September 27, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    Seems totally plausible that a captain of an the strongest international side in the world will retire and waft at club bowlers on Sundays.

  • SICHO on September 27, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    What type of deal is this? This is ridiculous and absurd. How can Surrey expect Smith to retire from international cricket for county cricket at his age? He'll be turning 32 next year and has more years to come to play for South Africa, not this time Poms you are not taking our captain away from us. @edgie, what technique? Biff has 8314 Test runs at average of 49.78 with 25 centuries, seems to me like a perfect technique as it scores runs unlike your other batsmen with the "perfect" technique for Test cricket.

  • xylo on September 27, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    England is just sucking all South African talent.

  • on September 27, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Agree with most comments here. I think Smith should carry on as test captain for at least another 3/4 years if SA want to build on their success for the long term. In ODIs hes not the player he was. Besides the fact that hes the best captain in the game now, his batting record when South Africa WINS games is not to be forgotten. I think he enjoys the test game, but I don't seem him playing to 40 like ST and Kallis will. Still his CV's pretty good: two away series in ENG, 1 in Aus, away wins in WI, NZ, and Pakistan. Just need to win a series in India (I don't count SL as we never play more than silly 2 test series there - a proper series there would be great)

  • ahweak on September 27, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    Club cricket and money coming in the way of a test career...well, well....I thought that the press was tired of hammering the IPL for this. It would be a shame of monumental proportions to cut short a test career to go play for a club side. Haven't we had enough south africans in the England set up already? How about a South African in the ECB?

  • npc_cricketlover on September 27, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    atleast this way england would be successful in devising a plan such that their next test captain doesnt retire when playing agains smith's team

  • on September 27, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Graeme must STAY as a Protea, for as long as possible, in order that we can continue to be number 1 (in all 3 formats).

  • 2.14istherunrate on September 27, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    I don't really see Smith considering retiring from Tests at 32, whatever his position is as far as captaincy, which he has done for an aeon. In any case though Surrey needs more strength in batting there seems to be a rationality behind having a quality spinner come in as overseas player. I think, maybe this is a story pulled out of a hat at a time when there are not too many stories around that are not world cup ones.

  • cover_drive12345 on September 27, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    I sincerely hope Smith does not accept the deal although I'm sure he won't. Saffers without Smith is like Enlgnad without rain :(

  • Dheeraj_Shetty on September 27, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    I hope he doesnt accept the deal, he belongs in the highest level, and not in a useless league.

  • yorkslanka on September 27, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    This is poor from Surrey and the ECB, if an ill team did this to an England player it would be described as unacceptable behaviour so why is it any different?

  • Ross_Co on September 27, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    How long until he can play for 'England'?

  • peter4135 on September 27, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    Is it really Surrey that wants him? I think the ECB is behind this...cause he can still qualify for England if he quit SA now.

  • asiacricket1234 on September 27, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    Honestly what made surrey think that Smith will accept such offer??? He is only 32. He probably have 4-5 year left of his international career. Why'd he stop playing for his country? How lucrative that offer is anyway? I doubt Surrey will be afford to spend million dollar for one player every year

  • vithur1507 on September 27, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    amazing, first they wanted South African domestic players to represent the England squad, couldn't get enough of that, they are trying to pull South African national players to fill their county circuit. Bye Bye Botha and Syanora Smith....

  • Robster1 on September 27, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Adams v Smith would never work

  • vinayakdada on September 27, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    never......................................................

  • on September 27, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    didn't a simular thing recently happen with Johan Botha quitting South Africa to captain South Australia?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on September 27, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Smith will never accept a deal where he can never play Test cricket again. Surrey will have to be flexible to his international calendar if they want him. He is only 32 years old, still got at least 3-5 years in the tank. Look at SRT, he wants to still be playing when he is 50 years old - but thats for records.

  • on September 27, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE GRAEME IN SURREY OUTFITS

  • Nuxxy on September 27, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    I'd like to see Smith retire from SA and aim for residency in Ireland. Something like that would really push their application to play in tests. Nothing against Smith...it just seems to 'fit' nicely, what with his Irish wife.

  • on September 27, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    O hell no, you're not stealing this one too. We need him.

  • edgie on September 27, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    As Test captain and batsman Smith has alot still to offer the Proteas. I do however feel that his limited overs career is really done. His technique does not allow him to play as well as he does in tests. I do hope though he at least travels to Australia and plays in the Home series against New Zealand and Pakistan. Great servant of the game and spceially for SA, he does deserve something like this.

  • CricketMaan on September 27, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    So its not just Asians who put club ahead of country..there are others who at least think that way, having said that Grame has been a fantastic circketer, so he does deserve to think that way.

  • on September 27, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    What sort of dollars are involved here? I have heard that South African players are not paid especially well, but how much could surrey be offering?

  • on September 27, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Smith won't be accepting it

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  • on September 27, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Smith won't be accepting it

  • on September 27, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    What sort of dollars are involved here? I have heard that South African players are not paid especially well, but how much could surrey be offering?

  • CricketMaan on September 27, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    So its not just Asians who put club ahead of country..there are others who at least think that way, having said that Grame has been a fantastic circketer, so he does deserve to think that way.

  • edgie on September 27, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    As Test captain and batsman Smith has alot still to offer the Proteas. I do however feel that his limited overs career is really done. His technique does not allow him to play as well as he does in tests. I do hope though he at least travels to Australia and plays in the Home series against New Zealand and Pakistan. Great servant of the game and spceially for SA, he does deserve something like this.

  • on September 27, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    O hell no, you're not stealing this one too. We need him.

  • Nuxxy on September 27, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    I'd like to see Smith retire from SA and aim for residency in Ireland. Something like that would really push their application to play in tests. Nothing against Smith...it just seems to 'fit' nicely, what with his Irish wife.

  • on September 27, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE GRAEME IN SURREY OUTFITS

  • TommytuckerSaffa on September 27, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Smith will never accept a deal where he can never play Test cricket again. Surrey will have to be flexible to his international calendar if they want him. He is only 32 years old, still got at least 3-5 years in the tank. Look at SRT, he wants to still be playing when he is 50 years old - but thats for records.

  • on September 27, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    didn't a simular thing recently happen with Johan Botha quitting South Africa to captain South Australia?

  • vinayakdada on September 27, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    never......................................................