Pakistan in SA

Smith seeks 50th win as capt

2013-02-18 10:18
Graeme Smith (Gallo)
Cape Town – There is an additional incentive for the Proteas to target a clean sweep when they play the now dead-rubber third Test against Pakistan at Centurion from Friday.

Should they win and ensure a 3-0 series outcome, their “Captain Incredible” Graeme Smith will become the first international leader ever to secure 50 wins for his country.

As it is, Sunday’s hard-earned but still admirable four-wicket victory at Newlands propelled him to a new record 49 triumphs in charge – eclipsing the prior mark of 48 achieved by Australia’s recently retired Ricky Ponting.

Full scorecard

VIDEO: SA v Pakistan second Test day 4, highlights

Personal and team milestones have come thick and fast for the big left-hander over the last few weeks, making it pretty difficult – by his own admission – to sometimes find the right words to describe the feeling.

He will instead talk, understandably, of “just enjoying the moment” and the like.

Smith has currently experienced 49 wins, 26 losses and 26 draws in charge, a 101-match leadership tally that includes the reverse suffered by his Rest of the World XI when they played then-mightiest Australia in the ICC SuperTest at Sydney in 2005/06.

His win/loss ratio (1.88) is not nearly as impressive as those of either Ponting (3.00) or his Aussie captaincy predecessor Steve Waugh (4.55) but they mostly commanded the Baggy Greens’ troops in a genuine heyday for that team, and the very fact that Smith will be first to 50 victories (perhaps as early as the looming weekend) is an outstanding feat whichever way you look at it.

“Biff” has had a 10-year reign at the helm, during which his side has been through various periods of transition and upheaval, but now he is set to only keep improving his win/loss ratio as the present Proteas squad embarks on an era of likely, consistent conquest.

Ponting (2004-2010) led the Aussies in 77 Tests, with 48 wins, 16 defeats and 13 draws, whilst third-ranked Waugh engineered 41 wins from only 57 games in charge (1999-2004), with nine losses and seven stalemates.

A South African predecessor to Smith, the late Hansie Cronje, lies seventh on the world list for most wins as skipper – 27 from 53 games at the helm (win/loss ratio 2.45).

*The portents for the home side to win the Centurion Test are good: the Proteas have only lost once in 17 Tests at SuperSport Park, and that was the highly controversial, artificially-induced result involving agreement between Cronje and England captain Nasser Hussain in January 2000, when innings forfeitures took place after significant rain delays during the match.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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