Cape Town - Tributes have poured in from far and wide - despite
the Oscar Pistorius-related current clutter - on Twitter following Graeme
Smith’s sudden decision to retire from international cricket.
Team-mates, Test adversaries, commentators, administrators,
scribes and enthusiasts alike have offered their overwhelmingly admiring
sixpence on the issue.
The 33-year-old’s former Proteas opening partner and
charismatic stroke-player Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) said: “Biff, a career
to be proud of and a leader who led from the front! Our 3 triple century
partnerships my highlight! Congrats.”
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan)
offered: “Huge respect ... fantastic captain, leader, batsmen (sic), bloke and
all-round good egg. #legend.”
Another now sidelined England player, controversial South
African-born Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) said: “Hearing huge news out of SA.
(Smith) is retiring. For what he has done for SA cricket - the man is a legend!
Congrats my Surrey BFF!”
Globally respected coach and commentator and former
Australia all-rounder Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket), in this country for the
current Test series, wrote: “Congratulations on a remarkable career full of
courage, character & unwavering leadership.”
SuperSport commentator and former Zimbabwe paceman Mpumelelo
Mbanga (@Mmbangwa) was no less reverent: “An immense contribution to SA cricket
and the game at large. Wonderful career.”
Leading SA personalities from other sports added their bit.
Former Springbok flyhalf Joel Stransky (@stranners), who
kicked the winning dropped goal in the 1995 World Cup final, said: “Sad for
cricket. Incredibly tough and courageous decision. Well done on an unbelievable
career and g’luck.”
Ex-Bok and Stormers captain and gritty open-side flanker
Corné Krige (@CorneKrige6) pretty much concurred: “Sad (he) has announced his
retirement. Takes a lot of courage to quit professional sport. Good luck for
the next chapter.”
ICC match referee and former SA Cricket Board player Dev
Govindjee (@DevMatchRef) said: “Tough but brave decision from our great
captain. Superb career so going out on his own terms is fantastic. Well done
Biff. Proud of you.”
Some journalists remain baffled by the large anti-Smith
lobby that has stalked him for much of his captaincy career.
SABC radio commentator Natalie Germanos (@NatalieGermanos)
wrote: “Sad that Graeme Smith will never do enough to win over his critics. Not
sure what else he had to do?”
Writer Darrel Bristow-Bovey (@dbbovey) joined that
particular school of thought: “Graeme Smith is going, and we’ll be left alone
out here with the small, worthless individuals who are happy about it.”
Australian cricket writer Peter Lalor (@plalor) dug into his
memory bank for his own tribute: “Graeme Smith organising the guard of honour
for (Ricky) Ponting in Perth showed integrity. Playing SCG with broken hand
*This was this writer’s own initial reaction on Twitter
(@RobHouwing) to Smith’s announcement: “We’ll remember Biff’s grim technique.
But defying conventional wisdom as both batsman and captain was key to his
competitive make-up. One of the good guys, often horribly misunderstood.”
*Follow our chief
writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing