Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith has taken on his first coaching job since retiring in 2014. Photo: AP
Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith has taken on his first coaching job since retiring in 2014. Photo: AP
Highveld Lions head coach Geoff Toyana will assist Graeme Smith at the Benoni Zalmi. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix
Highveld Lions head coach Geoff Toyana will assist Graeme Smith at the Benoni Zalmi. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN - Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith will begin his first foray into cricket coaching when he takes charge of the Benoni Zalmi franchise in South Africa's new T20 Global League tournament.

Smith was unveiled as the Zalmi head coach in Benoni on Monday, with team owner Javed Akhtar of Pakistan making the announcement.

The 36-year-old Smith, who played in 117 Tests and 197 one-day internationals for South Africa, also has 33 T20 international caps to his name for the Proteas. 

While his batting style was more suited to the longer forms of the game, and with the T20 format not as big a market force when he was playing compared to the present day, Smith's larger-than-life presence will be a key factor in inspiring the Benoni Zalmi to become title contenders.

And "Biff" will have one of the best South African coaches going around as his assistant in the shape of Geoff Toyana.

The Highveld Lions boss was initially regarded as one of the favourites to take over from Russell Domingo as the Proteas head coach, but captain Faf du Plessis revealed at a recent press conference that West Indian Ottis Gibson - the current England bowling coach - had been recommended by Cricket South Africa's special panel to replace Domingo.

So Toyana would certainly want to prove a point to Cricket SA by being successful with Benoni Zalmi as well.

Apart from Smith, Benoni will also have a further Proteas influence as star wicket-keeper/batsman Quinton de Kock is the marquee SA national player for the franchise.

Smith's immediate task will be to plan for this weekend's player auction, which will take place in Cape Town on Sunday, where over 400 players will be available for the eight T20 Global League franchises.


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