Johannesburg - Graeme Smith announced on Wednesday his intention to stand down as national captain of the Twenty20 squad with immediate effect and as captain of the ODI squad at the conclusion of the 2011 Cricket World Cup next year.He will remain captain of the Test squad and will be available for selection for the Proteas in all three formats of the game.“The off season has provided a great opportunity for me to reflect on our teams’ successful journey and set some challenging personal goals for the future,” commented Smith.“After a lot of thought and consideration I have decided to step down from the captaincy of the ODI squad at the conclusion of the 2011 ICC World Cup campaign. I will also stand down as captain of the Twenty20 International squad with immediate effect.”Smith outlined the reasons behind his decision. “There are several reasons why I have made this important career decision. I am going into my ninth season of international cricket - eight of which have been as captain. It is my intention to play for another five or six years and I know in my heart that I can only do that if I give up some of my current responsibilities.“It has always been my philosophy not only to make the Proteas the best team we can possibly be but also to enable the players to grow both as cricketers and as people. I believe we have now reached the stage where there are several players emerging within the squad to take on leadership roles.“My decision automatically poses the questions of why I am announcing it now and why I am not waiting until after the World Cup. It is absolutely vital that we maintain continuity in a World Cup season and this major competition also concludes the current cycle of limited overs cricket. I also feel that making the announcement now will provide the time and development necessary to ensure a smooth transition.“I remain passionate about the captaincy of the Proteas and after the World Cup I will continue to lead the Test team with pride and will continue to be available for selection in all formats of the game.”Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola commented: “I have seen Graeme develop as a cricketer over the past decade or so, and I am proud of how far he has come. He took over the Proteas’ captaincy at a young age, and has faced incredible challenges, which he has overcome.“I support whatever decision he makes, because I know that he is doing what is best for him as a cricketer, and what is best for South African cricket. Graeme still has a lot to achieve in his cricket career and CSA backs him 100 percent.“His decision to step down from International Pro20 captaincy with immediate effect, and the ODI captaincy at the end of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, opens the door for other young stars to make a name for themselves as leaders.”Turning his attention to the season ahead Smith commented: “In the shorter term and shorter format, all of our efforts are now focused on winning the elusive ICC World Cup in February 2011, an achievement which everyone involved with the Proteas has firmly in their sights. “I would like to thank Cricket South Africa and particularly the CEO, Gerald Majola, for their understanding and support of my decision. “I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that I will soon be launching my own leadership foundation, an initiative which I feel very passionate about. The purpose of the Graeme Smith Foundation is to share the skills which I have acquired through my cricket career to develop leadership programmes for young South Africans in order for them to have a wider impact in their communities.“I remain highly motivated to play at the highest level and from a personal perspective I feel excited about the challenges which lie ahead and focused on the ambitious goals which I have set myself. “In terms of the Proteas I know that the players are all working incredibly hard and we look forward to delivering our best cricket in the months ahead,” he concluded.