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Surrey have signed South Africa Test skipper Graeme Smith on a three-year deal as club captain.

bbc

The 31-year-old, who is currently with the Proteas in Australia, set a record for 94 Tests as captain in the final match against England in August.

He said: “I am excited to be joining such a professional and talented team, during what will hopefully prove to be a rewarding and successful period.

“I will balance my new role alongside my commitments to the Proteas.”

Smith became his country’s youngest Test captain when he led South Africa against Bangladesh at the age of 22 years and 82 days.

He guided them to the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings with the 2-0 victory in England this summer.

The opening batsman has scored 8,314 runs at an average of 49.78 in 102 Tests, including 25 centuries.

Smith, whose wife is from the Republic of Ireland, will join Surrey after South Africa’s home series against Pakistan, which will finish in late March.

“When you consider the ambition shown it was an easy decision for myself and my family,” he said.

“I am excited about what we can achieve at Surrey going forward and I look forward to continuing to represent my country for many years to come.”

Smith will be available for the majority of Surrey’s matches next season, with the club hopeful he will play in 10 County Championship matches as well as leading the side in Twenty20 and 40-over competitions.

The left-hander will be unavailable to play for Surrey while he is representing South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy, which is being held in England in June next year.

Surrey team director Chris Adams described the signing as a “massive coup”.

“By signing a three-year deal, Graeme has demonstrated his commitment to Surrey on a long-term basis,” the former Sussex captain told BBC London 94.9.

Smith, who spent a season at Somerset in 2005, replaces Gareth Batty as captain at The Oval.

Batty took over as skipper on a short-term basis after Rory Hamilton-Brown, who joined Sussex in September, stood down from the role in August. after

Hamilton-Brown found it difficult to concentrate on cricket following the death of friend and team-mate Tom Maynard in June.

“We’ve had a very, very difficult summer,” Adams admitted on BBC Radio 5 live. “One of our players got killed in tragic circumstances, he happened to be the best mate of the captain of the club and Rory, understandably, found it difficult to see a future at Surrey.

“We were faced with replacing Rory, we drew a list up and right at the top was Graeme Smith, some would argue one of the great captains of all time. Add to that his ability with the bat as an opening batsman and he was the number one target.

“Graeme has reached a point in his career where he has done just about everything that he could wish to have done for South Africa, he will continue in that, the schedules are very favourable, it looks very clear he will be able to play the first half of the Championship season.

By joining Surrey, Smith will play alongside England batsman Kevin Pietersen, with whom he is thought to have had a fractious relationship since Pietersen left South Africa in 2000.

“I understand there is great mutual respect,” Adams insisted. “I think they’ve had their moments through their careers but I think it’s more than healthy at the moment.

“I’ve spoken to both about each other and they’re both looking forward to the prospect of lining up with each other.”

Graeme Smith’s Test record

  • Tests: 102
  • Runs: 8,314
  • Average: 49.78
  • Highest score: 277
  • Centuries: 25
  • Tests as captain: 94

South Africa’s schedule

Nov-Dec 2012: Tour to Australia

Dec 2012-Jan 2013: Home to N Zealand

Feb-Mar 2013: Home to Pakistan

June 2013: Champions Trophy

Oct-Nov 2013: Tour to Pakistan

Nov 2013-Jan 2014: Home to India

Feb-Mar 2014: Home to Australia

17 Responses to Cricket: Surrey sign South African skipper Smith

  • 1

    Thought it was about time we had some cricket news so it was good to find something Cricketey newsworthy tonight.

  • 2

    Graeme Smith is still young in cricket terms, watch a few more records fall. Tendulkar is stretching his career a bit far now, i see they doubt his reflexes and eyesight.

  • 3

    Though modesty caused Dale Steyn to shy away from the assertion that he is the best bowler in the world, it cannot be disputed that over the past eight years he has been the best managed. Despite a method that relies on delivering the ball at high speed with near to maximum effort most of the time, Steyn has missed remarkably few Test matches for South Africa.

    Since he became an established part of the team, only two Tests in England in 2008 stand out as major matches Steyn has been unable to take part in, and those were not for any bowling injury but a broken thumb. As Australia’s hierarchy wrestle with the matter of how best to develop the talent of their young fast bowlers, notably the increasingly injury-afflicted Pat Cummins, Steyn’s example stands out for its good sense and its simplicity.

    Put simply, Steyn’s schedule is prioritised around Test series and major ODI and Twenty20 tournaments. The glut of bilateral series that exist around them are scarcely his concern, something borne out by the fact he has played just 66 ODIs and 28 T20Is. By picking Steyn’s battles carefully, South Africa’s coaching and selection staff have ensured that at 29 he is still around to help them win the war – driving the national team to the top of the ICC’s Test rankings.

    “I think I’ve been managed well. We’ve got a good trainer – Rob Walter – and I think our coaches that we’ve had over the last couple of years … the messages that have been sent back to the coaches from the trainers have been the right ones,” Steyn said. “I’ve only played a handful of one-day internationals – I’ve only played like 80 one-day games. For someone that’s been playing as long as I have in my Test career I probably should have played double that at least. So they’ve managed me bloody well. I’m pretty stoked about that.”

  • 4

    “Now it is about managing myself and knowing my best deliveries I’ve got to bowl in the game and save all my strength for the game. So just managing myself – you don’t see Usain Bolt breaking the 100m world record during training sessions all the time, and it’s the same thing for me, there’s no point breaking the speed barrier all the time.”

    With durability has come maturity, and Steyn is happy to admit he has mellowed somewhat from his earlier days. That includes his humble view that other bowlers around the world can deliver better balls than he does, but may not be able to do so for as many Test matches in a row.

    “In all honesty I think there is probably better bowlers than what I am,” he said. “I think I’m one of the guys that have consistently played for South Africa and performed well. When Graeme needs a wicket or something like that he kind of hands me the ball and I’ve been fortunate enough to take the wickets for him.

    “If I’m playing every Test match and taking wickets those points rankings mean I’m always going to be up there. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m the best and most skilled bowler in the world. I think there is probably better bowlers out there.”

  • 5

    A battle of allrounders, captains, coaches and quick men

    The Australia-South Africa series is one to make cricket lovers everywhere sit up. One man in particular

    For the first time in more than 30 years, the Australian summer of cricket will begin without Tony Greig at the microphone. His illness is well enough documented, though no less shocking for it. He hopes to work again during the summer but right now the big fella has his nose to the grindstone that is the dreaded C word.

    It is especially poignant that the South Africans are in Australia. Greig will have the television on when the first ball is delivered at the Gabba, and his heart will be with the land of his birth. You can take the man out of Africa but there is no taking Africa out of the man. Immigrant Southern Africans have strongholds in Perth, Sydney, and much of Queensland, where a community of Zimbabweans has settled of late. Support from them and others has given him strength. Calls and mail from myriad Australians – Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson among them – have lifted his spirit. Battles of bat and ball leave respect as their legacy. From this can come surprising friendship.

    Australians do not give easy ground. Greig has played devil’s advocate in the Channel 9 commentary box for as long as anyone cares to remember, taunting his great friend Bill Lawry, in particular, to a catalogue of memorable exchanges that have built the folklore of Channel 9′s coverage of the game. It is a part he relishes. But Australia is home. He neither forgets this nor is anything but grateful for it. Indeed, he would not swap the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for the world. There may be an element of love/hate to his on-screen relationship with Australian audiences but, in truth, the suggestion of hate is more vaudeville than fact. Greigy is a much-loved part of the landscape.

  • 6

    Australia A 213/6 (63.0 ov)

    South Africans

    Australia A won the toss and elected to bat

    Day 1

  • 7

    Australia A 288/6 (77.0 ov)

    South Africans

    Australia A won the toss and elected to bat

    Day 1
    Current partnership 103 runs, 22.5 overs, RR: 4.51

  • 8

    7 @ superBul:
    Good morning superBul thanks for the scores

  • 9

    Close of play Aus A 325/7 – Quiney 85, Smith 67, Maxwell 64, Doolan 76 not out. Steyn 3/48 in 18 overs, Tahir 2/114 in 28 overs, Kleinveldt 2/45 in 19.

  • 10

    Good for me to see Smith going to UK. Will be taking out membership at Durham CC as soon as I get over (closest ground to me), so I hope I will see a bit of him there.

  • 11

    Good morning, end of 2nd day in Sydney – Aus A 480/7 declared, SA 128/1 – Smith 60 retired hurt; Peterson 38; Amla 27 and Duminy 2 will start again tomorrow

  • 12

    10 @ Just For Kicks:
    Hi JFK lucky for you to be able to go watch at Durham then will be good fun, it is one thing I do miss being up here is not being able to watch high level cricket close by. Went to Hove many years ago, when I was visiting in Brighton, and watched Sussex play.

  • 13

    Are you emigrating, JFK?

  • 14

    @ fender:Open ended, but yes, moving over there for a while to start a new venture

  • 15

    3 day game in Sydney between Aus A and South Africa ends in a draw, in reply to Aus 1st innings score of 480/7 decl – 3 wickets for Dale Steyn and 2 each for Kleinveldt and Tahir, SA got 277/6 decl – only 2 scores over 50 : Smith 60 retired hurt, Amla 53 retired not out, then Aus A 2nd innings closed on 13/1 decl with Dale Steyn taking the wicket.

  • 16

    1st test starts in 5 days time, a bit of a concern that they have only played this one 3 day game as preparation in Australia for it, but so often it seems the way the SA cricket do their tours – not playing much warm up cricket in host countries before their internationals

  • 17

    Amla and Smith retired out. It was just to give everyone a taste of the conditions.


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