By Shashi Agarwal
Graeme Smith has finally taken the call of calling it a day.He has retired from all forms of International cricket with the current test match against Australia being his last one.But for South African cricket, this has definetely not come at the right time.
Smith was made the captain of South Africa at the age of 22 after the then captain Shaun Pollock resigned from the post after a failure in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.Smith got the knod against the others because he was the only member of the squad who had no links with Hansie Cronze, something that will keep the team away from the match fixing saga.The other thing was that he seemed to be a long term prospect at whom the selectors invested for the future.To Smith’s favour , he has taken the team to a new level.He led from the front , scoring 15 test centuries as captain.He also holds the record as most test wins as captain.
Smith as a batsman was an asset to the team.He at the top of the order brought the much needed experience.Just after the retirement of Kalis, South Africa has been playing a batsman short and this might well be a blow to them.Smith’s value can be well understood from the fact that none of his centuries has been in a losing cause in Test matches.Quinton de Kock might replace him and his struggle in the IPL on low and slow pitches in Hyderabad will definetely expose their top order in the sub continent.
With Smith no more in the team,DeVilliers is all set to be the captain of the SouthAfrican test team.A wicket keeper , who is the premier batsman of the team as their captain is not a great choice.It just puts an extra work load on him.With South African team in some sort of rebuilding phase, it will surely take some portion of his brain to pick the 11 and spend some time with the youngsters, something Smith was brilliant at.
Taking all this into considerations, Smith should have delayed his decision to retire for the cause of the team.