Eyebrows were raised in 2003 when the captaincy of the South African cricket team was handed to 22-year old Graeme Smith.
It was bold, it was risky, but yesterday at St George’s Park Smith added yet another chapter to a ever-burgeoning captaincy career that stands him among the very greats of the game.
Already he is the most capped Test captain of all time, the captain with the most Test victories, while the record books also show him to be the captain with the most Test runs. He is also on the verge of becoming the first man to reach 100 Tests as captain.
But for Smith the team comes first and yesterday he led his outfit to a comprehensive 2-0 series victory over an outclassed New Zealand.
The Kiwis are not on the level of England or Australia – two rivals the Proteas have also seen off under the leadership of Smith – but a win is a win and it strengthened South Africa’s hold at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings.
Smith will make history on 14 February when he will lead his team out at Newlands in the second Test against Pakistan for what should be his 100th cap as Proteas captain (he also has one Test as captain of an ICC World XI).
The Proteas have now gone undefeated in 12 Test series since 2008, when they lost 2-1 to Australia.
“The guys have shown they are hungry to do well. After coming off two big series away (England and Australia) it would have been very easy for us to idle along in these two matches but we haven’t done that,” Smith said.
Much of that drive comes from the captain himself. - Cape Argus