Written by Staff Writer
04 Mar, 2014 | 10:16 am
South Africa captain Graeme Smith has announced he will retire from international cricket after the third Test against Australia.
The current match at Newlands is the 33-year-old’s 347th for South Africa, including 117 Tests, while his 109 matches as a Test captain is a record.
“This has been the most difficult decision I’ve ever made.”
He further added,
“It’s a decision I’ve been considering since my ankle surgery in April. I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I bid my career a fond yet sad farewell.”
Entering the third and final match against Australia at his home ground, the left-hander had scored 9,257 Test runs at an average of 48.72, behind only the 13,289 of Jacques Kallis on the list of South Africa’s all-time leading runscorers.
On the world list, only India’s Sunil Gavaskar has scored more runs as an opener.
Smith was first appointed as captain in 2003 having previously only played eight Tests.
At the age of 22, he was given the task of leading a team that had just been knocked out of its home World Cup in the first round and only a year on from the death of disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje.
Captaining on his first tour to England in 2003, Smith scored a double hundred in the first Test at Edgbaston before repeating the feat in the next Test at Lord’s.
Overall, he has drawn one series and won two on his three Test tours of England, with each visit resulting in the resignation of an England captain – Nasser Hussain in 2003, Michael Vaughan in 2008 and Andrew Strauss in 2012.
The 2-0 series victory of 2012 lifted South Africa to the top of the world Test rankings, a place they will still occupy even if Australia dent the Proteas run of only one series defeat in their last 25.
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