Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Rumours have apparently started
swirling among television commentators at the second Test between South Africa
and Sri Lanka in Durban on Thursday that Graeme Smith is about to step down as
national Test captain.
SABC television commentator and journalist
Neil Manthorp, who is also pretty close to several Proteas players and has
collaborated on books with a few of them – Smith is among his “clients” – put
out a tweet suggesting as much.
“Wow – strong rumours in commentary boxes
that G Smith is set to resign Test captaincy ... lots of smoke – not sure if
there is a fire.”
Not too long afterwards, commentator for
rival broadcaster SuperSport HD Ackerman, a former Test player himself,
countered with: “I think they were winding you up Manners.”
Nevertheless, Manthorp tends not to be a
journalist with a tendency for blind speculation, so his Twitter followers are
likely to have at least been curious about his missive, even if he was only
Smith has led South Africa at Test level
since 2003, when he was still only 22, often with some stirring success and
epic personal achievement with the blade.
Now 30, however, he has begun to find it
harder to really dominate personally in all forms of the game at the crease,
and recently surrendered one-day responsibilities to AB de Villiers.
The Proteas are also struggling horribly to
come out on top in significant home Test series, a trend going back two or
three years, and seem resigned to almost certain defeat to minnows Sri Lanka at
Kingsmead, which would leave matters level at 1-1 going into the final Test at
Newlands over New Year.
“Biff” scored a modest 15 and 26 in the
match at a hoodoo venue for the Proteas.