Twitter world rises to Biff

2014-03-04 11:37

Cape Town - Tributes have poured in from far and wide - despite the Oscar Pistorius-related current clutter - on Twitter following Graeme Smith’s sudden decision to retire from international cricket.

Team-mates, Test adversaries, commentators, administrators, scribes and enthusiasts alike have offered their overwhelmingly admiring sixpence on the issue.

The 33-year-old’s former Proteas opening partner and charismatic stroke-player Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) said: “Biff, a career to be proud of and a leader who led from the front! Our 3 triple century partnerships my highlight! Congrats.”

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) offered: “Huge respect ... fantastic captain, leader, batsmen (sic), bloke and all-round good egg. #legend.”

Another now sidelined England player, controversial South African-born Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) said: “Hearing huge news out of SA. (Smith) is retiring. For what he has done for SA cricket - the man is a legend! Congrats my Surrey BFF!”

Globally respected coach and commentator and former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket), in this country for the current Test series, wrote: “Congratulations on a remarkable career full of courage, character & unwavering leadership.”

SuperSport commentator and former Zimbabwe paceman Mpumelelo Mbanga (@Mmbangwa) was no less reverent: “An immense contribution to SA cricket and the game at large. Wonderful career.”

Leading SA personalities from other sports added their bit.

Former Springbok flyhalf Joel Stransky (@stranners), who kicked the winning dropped goal in the 1995 World Cup final, said: “Sad for cricket. Incredibly tough and courageous decision. Well done on an unbelievable career and g’luck.”

Ex-Bok and Stormers captain and gritty open-side flanker Corné Krige (@CorneKrige6) pretty much concurred: “Sad (he) has announced his retirement. Takes a lot of courage to quit professional sport. Good luck for the next chapter.”

ICC match referee and former SA Cricket Board player Dev Govindjee (@DevMatchRef) said: “Tough but brave decision from our great captain. Superb career so going out on his own terms is fantastic. Well done Biff. Proud of you.”

Some journalists remain baffled by the large anti-Smith lobby that has stalked him for much of his captaincy career.

SABC radio commentator Natalie Germanos (@NatalieGermanos) wrote: “Sad that Graeme Smith will never do enough to win over his critics. Not sure what else he had to do?”

Writer Darrel Bristow-Bovey (@dbbovey) joined that particular school of thought: “Graeme Smith is going, and we’ll be left alone out here with the small, worthless individuals who are happy about it.”

Australian cricket writer Peter Lalor (@plalor) dug into his memory bank for his own tribute: “Graeme Smith organising the guard of honour for (Ricky) Ponting in Perth showed integrity. Playing SCG with broken hand showed courage.”

*This was this writer’s own initial reaction on Twitter (@RobHouwing) to Smith’s announcement: “We’ll remember Biff’s grim technique. But defying conventional wisdom as both batsman and captain was key to his competitive make-up. One of the good guys, often horribly misunderstood.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Dhirshan Gobind - 2014-03-04 11:39

    Legend no matter what anybody says! Your legacy and amazing stats are there for the world and future generations to see. One of the greats!!!

      Paul Mark Maarman - 2014-03-04 11:50 of the Greats...

      Sabiha Lockhat - 2014-03-04 13:42

      yes well said Dhirshan

  • Randall Kenned - 2014-03-04 12:17

    Oh thank goodness. Eventually some good news coming out of the proteas camp. His best decision so far this series compared to the reviews

      David Peterson - 2014-03-04 12:47

      Congrats on being a massive clot Randall! Your opinion means so much in light of the mans stellar record. Here it is: Smith holds the world record of captaining in most test matches. Smith holds the world record of highest number of wins in test matches as a captain with 50 wins. Smith holds the most number of centuries (15) by a captain in test match wins. He also holds the world record of a non-wicketkeeper taking most catches (82) in test match wins. Smith has lead and maintained the Proteas as the world number one test playing nation for the last several years while averaging 48.5 as a batsman. Now, who exactly is Randall Kenned? I'll tell you, he's absolutely nobody.

      Chez Kri - 2014-03-04 13:37

      Well said David

  • Tung InCheek - 2014-03-04 12:30

    Haters will always hate! Well Done on a brilliant career under trying circumstances. Enjoy the next chapter with your family and kids. They'll appreciate you more.

  • ryk.vanrenen.9 - 2014-03-04 12:40

    A Legend, but this was long overdue. Graham enjoy your family.

      David Peterson - 2014-03-04 12:52

      How exactly is this overdue Ryk? Smith averages 48.5. SA is ranked number one in the world in test match cricket and they have extended that lead over the last few series.

  • Jayden - 2014-03-04 13:05

    Good decision by a great leader , one of the best to lead SA ,

  • Sabiha Lockhat - 2014-03-04 13:41

    thank god there are still humans out their who recognised a true loyal sportsman & glad finally someone thinks the same like me that what no matter what Smith did will never be enough to win over his critics. I was beginning to think I am the only one who doesn't hate him

  • Frank Grootboom - 2014-03-04 15:08

    We salute you our great record-breaking cricket captain!

  • Juan Pierre De Wet - 2014-03-04 15:27

    The focus should be on defeating the annoying Aussies in the final test! Biff suudenly anounces his retirement, before there is an outcome, and turns the focus to him. That says alot about his character! A selfish, arrogant and self centered Choker!

  • Hugo Pelzer - 2014-03-04 22:14

    It seems Biff is more respected internationally than by his own countrymen. Why do (some) South Africans feel such a need to run their own sportsmen into the ground for no apparent reason? I've lived in NZ for a while now, and haven't seen the same behaviour here. Is it an inferiority complex in some individuals? I wish I knew...

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