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Graeme SmithIt’s shaping up to be a big week for Graeme Smith. On Monday, he announced his wife is expecting the couple’s second child later this year. On Friday, he will turn 32 and also become the first person to captain a team in 100 Tests, when he leads South Africa against Pakistan in Johannesburg.

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Cricket South Africa (CSA) are pulling out all the stops to celebrate his achievement. The first day of the Test has been declared ‘Biff day’, after Smith’s nickname. Those in attendance at the match will sing Happy Birthday to him during one of the intervals and there is talk that a cake will be brought onto the field with candles for him to blow out.

Smith has been given a hospitality suite for his family and friends’ use on the day. Among the other important guests expected to be in attendance is the country’s sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, who will take time out of his football duties at the African Nations’ Cup to be at the cricket.

 CSA have also displayed a giant shirt, with the details of all of Smith’s centuries printed on it, on the wall of a popular sports clothing store in a mall in Johannesburg. Supporters have been invited to write a personal message on the whites and some of them will appear on the scoreboard during the match.

For a man who struggled for affection from fans for a long time, the current outpouring is quite moving. At a signing session at the mall, Smith lapped it all up. He appeared completely relaxed as he signed autographs and posed for photographs.

His team-mates were full of praise as well. For most of them, he is the only Test captain they have known and he has overseen their development and integration into the side. “Graeme has been an outstanding leader. He deserves all the credit that comes his way,” Vernon Philander said.

“A hundred Tests as captain – just to play 100 Tests is a momentous feat. When you’re growing up, you don’t imagine that you are going to play so much,” Hashim Amla said. “He’s taken on so much responsibility and the fact that he’s still here and putting in big performances for the team is a tribute to the person he is and the commitment he has given to the team.”

Amla also added a little bait for the occasion. “He got a hundred in his 100th Test, and it would be nice if he made a contribution like that and helped us win the game.” Smith played his 100th Test at The Oval in July last year and scored a century to contribute to South Africa’s series lead.

Jacques Kallis is the only member of the current squad to have played under different leaders, which means he is also the only one to have been alongside Smith for his entire career. Kallis has been witness to Smith’s uncomfortable start and subsequent maturing and believes the changes have been pronounced.

“To achieve what he has achieved, I don’t think will be achieved very soon again, if ever,” Kallis said. “He’s proved a lot of people wrong. He’s stood up and faced the criticism and produced the results.

“He leads from the front and that’s what you want in a leader. If he says something he’ll be the first guy to go forward and do it. He’s opening the batting, so he’s getting out there first and setting the tone and the example. He’s an in-your-face kind of guy who will take on challenges and never back down. He doesn’t ask any player to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. There are times to be brash and there are times to absorb the pressure and that’s what he’s developed over the years. He’s learnt when to be which character which has probably been his biggest improvement as a captain.”

As testament to his ability to lead by example, Smith holds an unusual record. On each of the 26 times he has scored a Test hundred, South Africa have either drawn or won the match. It is a statistic he was only made aware of during his century in Adelaide and said it was something that he was “very proud of.”

Although Smith lives and plays his cricket in Cape Town, he is originally from Johannesburg and so this will effectively be a “home” celebration. Smith completed his schooling at the King Edward VII High School and played a handful of matches for Gauteng before he was snapped up by Western Province. He was made captain at the age of 22 and is currently in his tenth year in the job, having captained South Africa in 98 Tests and the World XI in one.

29 Responses to Cricket: Get ready for ‘Biff Day’

  • 1

    Congratulations, what a big milestone for Graeme Smith, love him or loathe him you have to admire his overall contribution to SA cricket.

  • 2

    Agree 100% with your reply Bullscot

  • 3

    I see the clan is gathering again here on Rugby-Talk… in anticipation of the new Rugby Season. Since Monday there has been a steady stream of return of bloggers who has taken it easy in the off-season.

    Nice bunch online right now.

    Let the Rugger begin!

    Oh, and about Biff…. yeah he’s good, but he has his faults…

  • 4

    @ grootblousmile:
    Ja GBS – I only just recovered from the hangover I’ve had continously since about 15 December!

  • 5

    3 @ grootblousmile:
    Don’t we all GBS? Agree with you its good to see so many folk online now, there were a few names on last night I didn’t recognize but don’t see any posts made.

  • 6

    5 @ Bullscot:
    We’ve also had a steady stream of new registrations here on Rugby-Talk in the last 2 weeks.

    Must say things look rosy for our website for 2013.

  • 7

    Ja ja I know, haven’t been on for ages, but they are so sh!tfaced here at work now, it is ridiculous!!!!
    Anyway missed you guys but will try to visit more often this season!!!

    And I see the Bulls ranks need to be strengthened her hehehehe

  • 8

    6 @ grootblousmile:
    Ag thats really good stuff man, the more the merrier. I may be behind the times but I’ve not long noticed that the like button and function for editing our posts is not showing up, is it just my machine or are they gone.

  • 9

    her=here Cry

  • 10

    8 @ Bullscot:
    Took them off, stats showed that they were hardly used.

    7 @ Tripples:
    Verskonings, verskonings…. eishhh

    Ek dink my matriek maiki raak oud…. hehehehe

  • 11

    Bwaahahahaha verseker!!!!! My oudste is ook nou swanger so yeah!!!!!! Augustus gaan ek 3 kleinkinders he !!!!

  • 12

  • 13

    Ja hahaha hulle noem my nou Ouma Laine haha, tot die flippen kollegas by die werk

  • 14

    het nounet gehoor, blykbaar gaan ek Augustus 4 kleinkinders he!!!!! dis to twins!!!!! hahaha, my dogter is besig om haar hare uit haar kop te trek maar ek is moer bly hehehe

  • 15

    13 @ Tripples:
    BonzaiGBS beter my nie oupa maak voor EK reg daarvoor is nie! Ek is heeltemal te jonk om ‘n oupa te wees!

    Hehehehe

    Ook darem nognie met ‘n ouma getroud nie, maar al haar broers en susters is al geseend met kleinkinders… Sy speel maar ouma vir daai lot… en stuur hulle dan huistoe, hahahaha

  • 16

    14 @ Tripples:
    Eish!

    Draai briek aan, sit ‘n Disprintjie tussen die dogters se knieë om vas te knyp!

  • 17

    10 @ grootblousmile:
    Ok GBS used them very occasionally just because they were there, but am not really one for too many tierlantyntjies and if it helps make the site even quicker then thats good especially with so many people potentially being on line during match days.

  • 18

    14 @ Tripples:
    Congratulations Tripples you sure sound thrilled Approve

  • 19

    17 @ Bullscot:
    Yip, did it mostly for load speed and to reduce long-running scripts.

    Our web hosts were getting the shits because of our usage and CPU minutes on the Shared Hosting side.

    SQL Database getting big and queeries have to run through a whole 6200 Articles, 167 Web pages and almost 244 000 comments.

  • 20

    18 @ Bullscot:
    I think we must call her Ouma Tripswitch from now on…. hehehe

    Or in stead of Tripples, maybe we should call her Twins… of Quadruples…. hahaha

  • 21

    Thanks BULLSCOT!!! I am, dont care if it makes me look old (Which we are GBS!!!!) theres nothing like grandkids!!!

    Anyway guys, gotta run, chat later

  • 22

    Ouma Tripswitch bwaaaaahahahahaha

  • 23

    19 @ grootblousmile:
    You know far more about the technical stuff than I but just thought these things contribute in their own even small way in slowing things down, the smiley etc icons etc are nice to have but maybe on busy match days would that help keep things going quick and the space usage down if they are switched off. Must get some sleep cheers vir eers

  • 24

    20 @ grootblousmile:
    baie skerp Happy-Grin nou moet ek waai

  • 25

    23 @ Bullscot:
    Thinking of upgrading to an even bigger web hosting package, rather than switch anything off during game times. In fact there’s a bit more on the cards as far as expanding our Advertising and Commercial side is concerned.

    Anyway, you know me, I’ll handle everything as it comes and expands…

  • 26

    21 @ Tripples:
    Hey, ek issie oud nie, begin nou eers “Distinguished Looking” word… hehehe

    Of course, what do you say to a Stormer or Sharks supporter, when they get older, in stead of becoming “Distinguished Looking”, they just become “Disgusting Looking”

    Hehehe

  • 27

    Apart from the world cup glitch, Smith has been a true and inspirational leader, proven even more so in his handling of the aftermath. He fully deserves all accolades he receives, and I hope that he hangs around for a while yet, as we are really struggling to replace him at the moment, as shown in the last One Day debacle.

  • 28

    A few Cricket notes, from Q&A

    If south africa draw or lose the test series which is highly likely, will they stay nr.1 or will england overtake them when they win the test series in nz 3-0 ?
    Jason answered:
    Hi Clinton. Even if SA loses the series 1-0 they will still be at the top of the rankings. If they lose the series 3-0 they would drop below England into second place.

    Hi Jason, I am a very proud protea fan, not only for their success, but for the way they conduct themselves on and off the field. My question is how much of an impact do you think Ajmal will have in this series? In the past we”ve been known to struggle against spin and he is probably the best in the world at the moment. GO PROTEAS!!!
    Jason answered:
    Ajmal is certainly one of Pakistan’s danger men, and is the top-ranked test spinner in test cricket. He has only played one test against SA, back in 2010 in Dubai. He will not get as much turn on South African wickets as he is used to but he will get bounce which can be an effective weapon for spinners.
    I believe SA have the tools to deal with him though but he will have to be respected especially on days four and five of the tests.

  • 29

    Really looking forward to this test series!


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