Smith receives 'priceless' gift
The 'priceless' gift. (Gallo images)
Johannesburg – Priceless. That was the verdict from Proteas captain Graeme Smith on the South African Test cricket shirt signed by international captains for him in recognition of his contribution to cricket in the country.
The players that signed also captained their countries in more than 50 Tests.
The unique gift was the idea of Rob Fleming, who is linked to main sponsor Castle Lager. Fleming said it was a task that took him more than a year to complete.
“I thought long about what we could get Graeme as a gift. He has just about everything you can think of,” said Fleming.
“I had to courier this shirt all over the world. Every time it came back with another signature, there was a sigh of relief.
The most difficult one to get was Viv Richards in Antigua. But we finally got it and could hand over the shirt to Graeme.”
Smith, who has captained South Africa in 72 of the Tests he has played, said on Thursday that it was a remarkable gift.
“I will always treasure this gift and it is humbling to be in the company of such great names in world cricket,” he said.
“It’s priceless and you cannot measure it in rand terms.”
The only other South African captain to have skippered the country in more than 50 tests is the late Hansie Cronjé, whose total stands at 53.
International captains that signed the shirt are Australians Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor, Windies Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards, as well as Englishman Michael Atherton, New Zealander Stephen Fleming and Sri Lankan Arjuna Ranatunga.