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CSA not hurrying to name Smith's successor

Firdose Moonda

March 4, 2014

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A
Domingo looks to future without Smith

South Africa are in no rush to appoint a new Test captain following Graeme Smith's retirement from international cricket. With their next assignment in Sri Lanka in July, Cricket South Africa has more than three months to choose the successor, and indications are the board will take its time mulling over it.

"We're fortunate there's a T20 series to follow this and we've already got an established captain," Haroon Lorgat, CSA's chief executive, said. "The next Test series is in Sri Lanka in July. So there's a bit of time and something the selectors will have to deal with. I don't want to pre-empt anything at this stage."

Lorgat, who was convener of selectors when Smith was appointed captain, said he would be in favour of a process similar to the one that applied more than a decade ago. "My recollection of the process is that the board confirms the appointment of the captain. I would support that approach. It's a big appointment, it's the leader. I'm sure the selectors will look across the entire team and choose, or recommend, whom they believe to be the best leader."

Graeme Smith steps out for his final Test, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day, March 4, 2014
Haroon Lorgat: "Sometimes lady luck smiles on people's careers. Saying goodbye at Newlands was an apt end to his formidable career." © Getty Images

Although Lorgat would not be drawn into speculation over who would take over, it is likely to be either AB de Villiers or Faf du Plessis. De Villiers is the current Test vice-captain and also leads in ODIs. Du Plessis is the T20 captain, but because of de Villiers' glovework in Tests, he has also been tipped for the Test role.

Whoever succeeds Smith, it will mark a changing of the guard for South African cricket. Smith has led the Test side since April 2003, and every member of this squad has known no other captain on a permanent basis. He has been the team's constant, something that would have been impossible to predict when he was appointed at the youthful age of 22.

"It was a decision that was a gamble," Lorgat said. "We knew that Graeme had the kind of attitude that leaders are made of. He didn't have the benefit of age or experience on his side. But when you looked him in the eye, when you spoke with him it was apparent this was a chap who could make it. Thankfully, all these years later we see a formidable record, personal and team wise. He's certainly proven us right."

Smith's long service to South African cricket meant that although his announcement came prematurely, it was not altogether unexpected for Lorgat. "We thought it would be sooner rather than later he would call time," he said. And even though news of Smith's retirement broke late (10.20 pm) on the third night of a Test in which South Africa are struggling, Lorgat excused the timing.

"I've got no qualms with that, it's the right thing to do," he said. "When you wake up one morning and realise it's the end of the road for you, you share that with the people around you. That's his team. Once it's shared with the team you might as well tell the public. We want to be open and transparent rather than it filtering through some unfortunate source."

The exact reasons for Smith's decision to step away from the international game are not known, and it was thought that after South Africa achieved the top-Test ranking, he may want to hang around until the 2015 World Cup. But Smith did not play in the most recent ODIs - three against India - and Lorgat indicated the chances of him traveling to the tournament were growing slimmer.

"If you think back to the rise of Quinton de Kock, and with Hashim Amla opening, Graeme must be realistic. I've heard him and [Jacques] Kallis a couple of nights ago openly stating that if they don't deserve on performance to be in the team they wouldn't want to be in the team," Lorgat said. "These are professional players, these are fantastic players. Graeme must have evaluated his own chances and to call time now rather than wait for the World Cup."

Smith has now played his last innings. He will be lauded for his contributions with the bat but remembered more for his mettle as a leader. He didn't do it the conventional way but the Smith way was more than good enough for Lorgat.

"Leaders are different. Some are upfront, some are quiet. Graeme is Graeme and his record speaks for itself," Lorgat said. "We should take pride in the way he has built this team and the legacy he leaves behind. A lot of the younger players that have come through have certainly drawn comfort from his presence. Sometimes lady luck smiles on people's careers. Saying goodbye at Newlands was an apt end to his formidable career."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2014, 11:44 GMT)

I am seeing so many people pushing for dean elgars case who I think would be the best choice to mould onto a captain as for amla he has repeatedly stated he would not like to be captain and noone wants to put a spanner in the works for AB so leave him as he is

Posted by stormy16 on (March 5, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

The obvious choice is AB but I get the feeling SA is not convinced by AB and would make another "Smith" like appointment by going for Faf, who I think they like as a leader. When Smith was appointed we all went who but that solved that problem for 11 years so for SA this could be the way. Yes AB has a workload but he is not a child and I am sure is capable of leading and keeping. A larger concern would be the effect of keeping on his back and I would address that by keeping with De Cock and taking the gloves off AB and giving him the captaincy. It would be a real shame if we were to miss AB to prolong injury through keeping when SA have options. AB I reckon is capable of breaking most batting records if he plays the full length career. He is a rare breed of batter who one would pick for all three formats and there are not many of them around. He needs to be given the best chance as a batter, especially when SA have what looks likes the perfect wicket keeper batter one could wish for.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

well played graemy and put forward sa cricket in world cricket map.luckily enough he had good team mates like pollard/knittinee.boucher/great allrounder kallis in his team.however choking attitude in the all important matches/tournaments took th esa team on the backfoot many times and could live upto their potential .

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

Faf is the best and right choice. That will graduate him to a new status from T20 captain... T20 not a big role for a captain. They can groom some one young.. AB to continue captaining ODI . That will make it thee captains for the three formats.. India should also move there soon if MSD cricket tenure needs to be extended. Too much burden on MSD now.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 12:55 GMT)

ABD is an automatic choice for the captain but should be relieved from wicket keeping, for which QTC is ready. Amla is not at all a leader, let him concentrate on batting only.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

Quinton keeps wicket regardless of weather AB captains or not. Choices of captain are Amla, AB or Elgar. For my money i would go Elgar captain and Amla vice with AB batting at 4 and Quinton opening with Elgar. Drop Alviro.

The politics could see some odd decisions made though so beware.

Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Parnel(Over Abbot for me). JP and Elgar to spin.

Posted by Testcricketistop on (March 5, 2014, 11:36 GMT)


"Smith overrated as player, as Captain & he overstayed." What? You need to tell us why in your infinite wisdom.

"He destroyed the career of Gibbs" Enlighten us please?

"He was also one of the reasons behind South Africans being chokers" So one man alone influenced poor performances by others?

"Leadership wise he was very poor compared to Ponting" Based on what? Ponting had a top team most of his career, when they retired he failed.

Your biased disapproval of Smith is clouding your judgement mate.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (March 5, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

The person above citing facts obviously doesn't like Smith and lets that cloud his lack of thinking. Over 100 tests an opener and averaging 48. That's not overrated. I can think of, top of my head Greenidge, Haynes who played over 100 tests with lower averages. Also, Taylor & Langer. In fact, only Hayden averaged slightly more (there may be other openers with 100 tests - but I've made my point). Cronje destroyed Gibbs - along with self-inflicted damage. As for choking. Cast your mind back to SA's first test vs WI in '92. Chasing 201 they were 3/122 at one stage. Didn't get to 150. Smith was a fine player and deserves a pat on the back not unfounded criticism.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 9:58 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 granted

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 8:57 GMT)

I think SA should try Amla. Because i think naming ABD as captain will increase his burden. He's already a main batsman, test wicketkeeper and ODI skipper. SA should try AMLA...

Posted by Vic010 on (March 5, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

Give the gloves to Q De Kock and then the captaincy to AB. Problem solved. Plus you are getting a young player who, I believe is going to be one of the best SA have had for a long time.

Posted by Practical_person on (March 5, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

AB is a natural successor but captaincy will put immense pressure given that he is already the wicketkeeper batsman.

Posted by Yankydoodle on (March 5, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

@Greatest_game: Ok, there might be better wicketkeeper/batsmen than Thami, but AB should not keep. He is no.1 batsman in the world. Imagine what he can do if he only bats. AB is not that great a keeper, SA need a specialit keeper. Even Morne van Wyk will do.

I just picked Thami because he is already in the squad and has been training with the group for a while now.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

Dean Elgar would be my choice. He's young enough (26) to be a long-term option and will surely take over Smith's opening spot. I like having an opening batsman as captain - he can literally lead from the front. He proved his toughness and grit in the 1st innings in PE with wickets falling around him. He's also done the job at franchise and A level.

Posted by cricket_ahan on (March 5, 2014, 6:16 GMT)

AB for mine is the natural and only real successor. He has the following of the team in the one day arena, and his standing in the team is already that of a leader. He also has plenty of years left in him as a cricketer, and his fighting character in tough situations (many a time has he held his ground while other wickets have fallen around him) also bare resemblances to other captains such as Ponting and Waugh. If he is appointed captain though, the glovework needs to be passed on - de Kock looks good in the one day arena, so maybe he is the go for this job. While I respect Amla's intellect and his elegance as a batsman, I feel AB has more grit and is a better all-round cricketer (hence better lead-by-example player).

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 5, 2014, 4:24 GMT)

@ mondotv is unaware of AB's history when he writes "He (Dhoni) also started off as a keeper whereas AB is a manufactured one."

WRONG! AB was a keeper from school age, & spent his formative years keeping. He & Faf played in the same team, & Faf was the captain! Boucher had nailed down the keeper's spot, & AB was picked as a batsman & ALWAYS THE BACKUP KEEPER to Boucher. On the few occasions Boucher was injured, AB kept. CSA's hoped that he would take over the gloves, & he actually resisted the idea as he wanted to focus on his batting! He did not want to go on as keeper, but when Boucher has his eye injury AB stepped in because SA could not afford to lose Boucher's limited but effective batting skills. With AB keeping they put in the extra batsman - Duminy!

AB is statistically the most successful wicketkeeper/batsman ever. He is up at the top of the keepers list, and his batting average is so much higher than the rest is pushes him to the top. He IS a real keeper, make no mistake!

Posted by mondotv on (March 5, 2014, 2:02 GMT)

From outside it certainly appears that ABD should be Captain - he's naturally aggressive, and the world's number 1 ranked batsman so he's an automatic selection. Like others I think that all 3 roles may be too much for any one person. Sure Dhoni does it - in the Indian setup it was more like who wants the job and he was the bloke who didn't step back fast enough. He's a solid Test captain but he was never going to bat any higher than 6 in the Indian lineup so he gets more rest and he doesn't spend as long in the middle with the bat as AB does. He also started off as a keeper whereas AB is a manufactured one. So what happens if AB does take up the captaincy and drops the gloves - well it's kind of a poisoned chalice isn't it - suddenly the SA team doesn't have the luxury of picking an extra batsman. They've already lost one option with Kallis retiring. The board has a difficult decision because AB deserves to be Captain.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 5, 2014, 1:09 GMT)

@ Yankydoodle believes "Thami Tsolikile should keep wicket."

Why? He can't bat anymore. At all. He is a terrible batsman. His 1st class ave of 29.87, is going down by the match. Putting him in as keeper takes a batsman out the team. Modern cricket demands a keeper/batsman.

Thami is good with the gloves, but SA CANNOT afford to waste a batsman as AB is a better keeper anyway. de Kock must be drafted in for the future. Thami is the past, at age 33.

Why put in an aging keeper who can't bat? That decision clearly would have NOTHING to do with cricket, as he would drag the team down. If Thami plays for the Proteas, it will have NOTHING to do with cricket, and EVERYTHING to do with SA's political landscape. I know it, you know it, everyone who follows SA cricket knows it. Your political agenda is clear.

If you think having Thami in the team would benefit the Proteas, you must know little about cricket, and have an agenda that has nothing to do with actually playing the game.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 5, 2014, 0:57 GMT)

@ Yankydoodle knows little about keepers, & keeping records. He writes ". AB is not even a great keeper. Just a fairly good one."

A keeper's "average" is his D/I - ave dismissals per innings. For keepers playing 5 plus matches (weeds out 1 & 2 test "wonders") AB is up with the best. Before this series he had the 5th best all time D/I. There are only great keepers up there - no "just fairly good."

He jointly holds the "most dismissals per match" & other records. You must know nothing about keepers - he has the highest batting average of all!

A lean run this series (declared/short inngs few catch/stumping chances - lbw, bowled, etc drop D/I) has dropped his D/I from 2.205 to 2.075.;filter=advanced;keeper=1;orderby=dismissals_per_inns;qualmin2=5;qualval2=matches;spanmax1=10+Jan+2014;spanval1=span;template=results;type=fielding

Navigate your way to the current records - the address is too long to fit in this post.

Posted by GrindAR on (March 5, 2014, 0:21 GMT)

Who will fit in the place of GC? It should be split. QDC should be included with the stronger grooming plans... (yes in tests too... I woud see him a David Warner of SA (only on field performances)). To me Amla will fit the bill to lead the team. He is an out of box thinker... The alternate option will be JPD, as he is unpredictable and astute.... Lets see what comes out fro mgmt....

Posted by Shongololo on (March 4, 2014, 23:44 GMT)

The best choice would be Hashim Amla, although my understanding is he doesn't want the gig and won't be easily swayed. He's a true gentleman and an intelligent man, who would be a shrewd and proactive captain (the flipside of Graeme Smith, in my view). Realistically, we can expect AB to take over, which won't be a bad thing. But he must shed the gloves and they must go to de Kock. Leave AB to captain and continue to be the best batsman in the world.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 23:02 GMT)

I think Faf would make a great test captain and then eventually give the gloves to someone else, and then AB could go down in history as one of the all time greats as he focuses one his batting getting a lot more really big scores and a lot more hundreds and a few double hundreds.

Posted by mmoosa on (March 4, 2014, 22:36 GMT)

A new leader is needed who can sort the following. 1.the opening batting and bowling,the 2 key areas Australia exposed the Proteas in.2.S.A have to drop Morkel on current form unfortunately..3.The tendency for the team to start slowly in a series and in other tests...4.A good spinner is needed. 5.Strong characters are needed,especially against Oz .

In some ways a series loss might be the thing the team needs to freshen up...the Proteas have gone 8 years without a series loss but on many occasions in the past 7 tests it seems like they playing "not to lose"rather than win.That feeling of "Steyn will do it or A.B,Amla or Vern" caused the team to lose a is up to a new captain in a new era to rebuild quickly...Faf is my man for the job.Amla and A.B are the stars but id rather have them concentrate on their unique genius.

Posted by DavidWarner on (March 4, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

Why's nobody pushing Dean Elgar's case? He showed his class and skill in the second test, first innings!! Without his contribution, SA would've surely not won that test match. As for de Kock, didn't he score like 5 successive centuries, that too against the might of the Indian pacers? What more does he have to do to show his captaincy skills?

Come on guys, follow the Aussie way of selecting the skipper - select the team first, and then most indispensable player in that group the captain. Captain has to inspire through personal example, not just by inspirational talk.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 20:21 GMT)

Alviro Petersen is a good leader. AB should not carry burden of leadership.

Faf should not be captain. Not sure how he was made captain with such limited experience.

Now that the so called clique is broken let us not form another one or try to continue with the old one.

Alviro for captain. A true leader.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (March 4, 2014, 20:04 GMT)

Why no one names Amla as a possible captain. He is a calm performer with a cleaver head.

Posted by Beertjie on (March 4, 2014, 19:54 GMT)

ABdV for Sri Lanka with the following team (XII): Petersen, Elgar, Amla, AB (c), du Plessis, Duminy, de Kock (wk), Philander, Parnell, Steyn, Tahir, Peterson. Good enough to win series there but not Down Under. The mace will change hands within two years for sure.

Posted by crikkfan on (March 4, 2014, 19:35 GMT)

if ABD is becoming the captain, SA needs to find a regular wktkeeper. It is not like ABD is doing a great job, this will only suffer more with captaincy as an added responsibility. Dhoni is a freak in that way to be doing all 3 roles for this long!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 4, 2014, 18:27 GMT)

I would rather have Faff than AB.

Posted by DavidWarner on (March 4, 2014, 18:06 GMT)

My vote is for Dean Elgar for Test captaincy, and Quentin De Kock for ODIs/T20s.

Posted by Yankydoodle on (March 4, 2014, 18:01 GMT)

Faf should be made captain at all costs. AB should just play as a batsman. AB is not even a great keeper. Just a fairly good one.

AB should concentrate on his batting. Giving the captaincy to Faf will add to his fighting spirit. That's what needed. A captain with fight.

Thami Tsolikile should keep wicket.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

Captaincy should go to Rory Kleinveldt

Posted by mannan_ma on (March 4, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

Smith will go down in the history of cricket as great leader of men. A very good batsman who knew how to handle bowlers from all over the world. A very good combo. CSA should also be congratulated for unearthing him at such a young age.

Posted by cheguramana on (March 4, 2014, 16:20 GMT)

If ABD is smart - and lucky, he wl not take up Test captaincy ! Hope he is not pressured into that role by CSA. But if that is his ambition, he shud drop hi WK role. He wl then have a real chance at being one of the greatest batsmen of his generation. Very few can do three things at the same time - like Dhoni- and he's now clearly looking the worse for wear. ABD shud avoid a similar path !

Posted by Dynamodev on (March 4, 2014, 16:20 GMT)

Completely agree with Binisa. For the next few years, either Faf or ABD should captain the team. However, a new, younger leader needs to be groomed. Markram showed that he has the traits in the just concluded under 19 WC.

Posted by Chn2 on (March 4, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

Greame will be remembered a one of the great leader in the history of cricket. He was away from controversy, not among the leaders who supported sledging and always in aggressive mode to succeed.

Posted by CricketMaan on (March 4, 2014, 14:58 GMT)

Well Done Grame! What a career and record. Of all the recent retirements we had a few that had to be told to leave by fans, media, former players et all..(read Ponting, SRT) and a few that decided to go even when fans, media and fomer palyers wanted them to carry on (read VVS, Huss) Grame choose the latter group. He could have gone on, although his recent returns were nothing to boast he still had the team in good shape and has age on his side. But when you have a young family and an option to carry on playing in county for another 5.-6 years why let it go! With half Irish family, i wonder if he would get involved with Cricket Ireland! Anyway loads of wishes from India.

Posted by Binisa Mohanty on (March 4, 2014, 14:16 GMT)

Following a similar process that happened over a decade ago, aiden markram should make his debut and then after some 9 odd tests he should be handovered the captaincy. In this way we can get a captain who can lead the side for a longer period of time.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

ABdV as captain, then bring a new keeper in. Or are CSA scared of having to pick between de Kock and Tsolekile as the new WK, as has previously been rumoured?

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