County news September 27, 2012

Graeme Smith ponders lucrative Surrey offer


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

  • Dan 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.

  • David 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?

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

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

  • Dummy4 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

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

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

  • ajith 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.

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 12:48 GMT

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

  • Sandesh 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!

  • Satish 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.

  • Santosh 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

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