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Graeme Smith : Leader of men

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Just 8 Test matches old, Graeme Smith was handed over the reins of the South African team. Shaun Pollock’s resignation paved the way for a 22 year old lad to etch his name in the history books. Amid heavy criticism, Graeme Smith became the youngest South African captain when he led the team against Bangladesh in Dhaka on 24th April, 2003. He scored a double century (277) in his first Test as captain and has been a successful opener for SA ever since.


  Span Mat Inn NO Run HS Avg BF SR 100 50
Overall 2002-12 101 177 12 8277 277 50.16 13798 59.98 25 34
As Capt. 2003-12 93 164 12 7673 277 50.48 12790 59.99 23 32
Table - Graeme Smith: Batting Statistics (as captain & overall)

In 2004 however, SA lost a few series against England, India and Sri Lanka and people blamed him for his inexperience. But in October 2005 the entire cricketing world accepted his captaincy when he was asked to captain the ICC World XI in the ICC Super Series Test Match against Australia. The World XI lost that match quite badly, but Smith captained a side that included Lara, Dravid and Inzamam.
 
His captaincy record is quite good too. In the 93 matches he has captained (not counting the 3rd Test against England) SA has won 43 and drawn 24 matches. Only Australia have managed to beat SA more times than SA have them under Smith’s captaincy. 
 
Type of Venue Span Mat Won Lost Tied Draw W/L
Overall 2003-12 93 43 25 0 24 1.72
Home 2003-12 43 23 13 0 7 1.76
Away 2003-12 48 20 12 0 15 1.66
Neutral 2010 2 0 0 0 2 0
Table - Graeme Smith: Captaicy Records (by Venue Type)
 

vs Teams Span Mat Won Lost Tied Draw W/L
vs Australia 2005-11 12 3 8 0 1 0.37
vs Bangladesh 2003-08 6 6 0 0 0 -
vs England 2003-12 21 7 6 0 7 1.16
vs India 2004-11 13 5 5 0 3 1
vs New Zealand 2004-12 11 6 1 0 4 6
vs Pakistan 2003-10 9 3 2 0 4 1.5
vs Sri Lanka 2004-12 5 2 2 0 1 1
vs West Indies 2003-10 14 9 1 0 4 9
vs Zimbabwe 2005 2 2 0 0 0 -
Table - Graeme Smith: Captaincy Records (vs Teams)


His performances as a batsman and the team at his disposal have of course played roles in his winning percentage as a captain. As he breaks Alan Border’s record for most number of Tests as captain in the third Test against England, he is on the verge of leading SA to being the number one team in Tests. It is testimony to the fact that he has been doing a good job.

In the 2003 tour to England, Smith’s performance prompted Alec Stewart to call him the most impressive 22 year old in cricket. After this match, will Atherton or whoever does the post match presentation call him the 31 year old who led South Africa to pole position? 

Stats by: Karna Yajnik




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