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Johannesburg – Graeme Smith will become the most capped cricket Test captain in the history of the game when he leads the Proteas in the third Test at Lord's Cricket Ground on Thursday.
Smith will pass the record of 93 Test matches as captain set by Australia's Allan Border in 1994.
Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis said Smith has not had an easy journey.
“His birth into the captaincy role was a difficult one,” said Kallis in a statement. He has shared the change-room with Smith for 10 years.
“I think the way that he handled the pressure, both from the public and media, is a true reflection of his character.
“He is someone who never backs down when he sets his sights on a goal.”
Smith also has a favourable win-loss ratio in comparison to other world leaders, and is on the brink of leading his side to the number one Test ranking.
His strategic thinking, quiet confidence and the recent positive declaration at Headingley are traits of his captaincy that have been praised, giving him an edge over his counterparts.
“I have been impressed with his out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to his captaincy,” Proteas coach Gary Kirsten said.
According to Kallis: “He commands a lot of respect and admiration from everyone that enters the team environment, and that says a lot about the individual.
“He has been humble about his achievements, and personally I feel he has been one of the most significant and often under-rated players of South African cricket.” – Sapa