Sri Lanka in SA

‘Smith to quit’ rumour

2011-12-29 16:27
Graeme Smith (Gallo)
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 disclosing hearsay.

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.


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