News24

Graeme Smith to join Surrey

2012-11-01 13:05

London - South Africa cricket captain Graeme Smith has joined Surrey as their new skipper, the English county announced on Thursday, in a move that will prompt fresh speculation about his international future.

Smith, currently leading the Proteas on their tour of Australia, will join Oval-based Surrey after the conclusion of South Africa's home series against Pakistan in March, in time for the start of the 2013 English domestic season.

The 31-year-old opener stood down as South Africa's one-day captain after last year's World Cup and no longer plays Twenty20 internationals.

But he insisted that he still wanted to continue representing his country, despite signing a three-year deal with Surrey.

"I am excited about what we can achieve at Surrey going forward and would like to state very clearly that I will balance my new role alongside my continuing commitments to the Proteas and I look forward to continuing to represent my country for many years to come," he said in a statement issued by the First Division county.

Smith has been South Africa captain since 2003, having first led his country aged just 22, and this year guided the Proteas to the top of the world Test rankings after a series win in England.

It was at The Oval in June where Smith, who has been captain in an extraordinary 94 of his 102 Tests, became only the seventh player in history to score a hundred in his 100th Test, when he made 131.

He replaces Rory Hamilton-Brown who stood down as Surrey captain, and who has since joined Sussex, following the death of his friend and team-mate Tom Maynard in June.

Smith, who had initially played down reports of a move to the county, said: "I am excited to be joining such a professional and talented team, during what will hopefully prove to be a rewarding and successful period for Surrey CCC.

"When you consider the ambition shown it was an easy decision for myself and my family and I would like to thank Surrey County Cricket Club and Cricket South Africa for giving me the opportunity to lead the side and make it possible."

The timing of the announcement could prove a distraction to the Proteas ahead of the start of a three-Test series against Australia in Brisbane a week on Friday.

In addition to his leadership qualities, left-hander Smith is widely regarded as one of the world's leading batsmen with a Test record of 8 314 runs at an average of just under 50, including 25 hundreds.

"Signing Graeme Smith on a three-year deal is a massive coup for Surrey CCC," said team director and former England batsman Chris Adams.

"As well as being one of the best captains in the modern game, he is a phenomenal opening batsman and will lead by example from the top of the innings.

"By signing a three-year deal, Graeme has demonstrated his commitment to Surrey on a long-term basis and I look forward to working alongside him and the rest of our hugely talented squad to bring more silverware to this club in the near future."


AFP

Comments
  • jasper.benadie - 2012-11-01 13:15

    Go Biff!!! You can play where ever you like, as long as you do well for your Country!!!

      dhirshan.gobind - 2012-11-01 13:48

      sa cricketers and rugby players are sought after the world over by huge teams like brazilians in soccer and are willing to pay top dollar for our boys. proud indeed! smith basically just secured his retirement too. even if he leaves, he has already achieved everything in tests!

      marcus.vermaak - 2012-11-01 13:56

      Years of doing what is expected of him, happy you are doing something for yourself! Good luck cap!

      TravieGrif - 2012-11-01 15:01

      Yeah. Good for him. I think that having an Irish wife will help with the whole work visa story too. Looking forward to seeing making buckets of runs in the tests against the Aussies. This is the real deal, not the wham bam of 50 and 20 over cricket!

  • PrettyUsefulArt - 2012-11-01 13:16

    Pardon the ignorance, but does this essentially mean that his days as our Captain are numbered? Is this the first step towards pre-retirement? Not entirely sure why a captain of an international side would play for the opposition whilst still captaining. Explanations welcome.

      kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-01 13:32

      Not at all, our off season and on call if selected for internationals.

      jasper.benadie - 2012-11-01 13:39

      Do you follow the game of cricket???

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-11-01 14:16

      Not much local cricket between March and September as it is not a winter sport. Remember this is not just a sport for them but theire job too.

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-11-01 15:12

      BrainCandyCPT, Biff originally turned down the deal because he didn't want a clash between English county and SA international duties. I suspect the CSA decision to postpone the SL Tests in 2013 helped the deal. In essence, the Proteas won't play any Tests during next year's English season, will only play Zim during that period in 2014 and Bangladesh in 2015. Each of the latter two Test series are only two Tests. So I'm guessing Surrey will be happy to let Biff go for that short period. I wouldn't read anything into it regarding his captaincy. Yes, he's no spring chicken anymore and his time is limited. But I don't think this contract changes anything. I'd expect him to captain until he's around 35 and then stand down.

      freddie.jones.58367 - 2012-11-01 17:20

      The opposition?? How often does SA play against Surrey?

      PrettyUsefulArt - 2012-11-01 22:46

      Thanks everyone for your comments and explanations. As to the sarcastic ones, thanks too. Showed your true colours. Can a girl not want to learn more? Yes, I love watching the game but do I understand everything about it? No, I don't. Do I want to? Yes I do. Where's the shame in that?

  • ebrahim.floris.7 - 2012-11-01 13:25

    I can remember not so longer they were demanding his permanent participation as captain,which would of meant him stepping down as SA skipper,hope that isn't the case now.

  • wesley.green.3597 - 2012-11-01 13:28

    big signing that! guessing its gonna cost them a few pounds!

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-11-01 14:17

      He might also get rid of a few pounds in our "off season".

  • Spha - 2012-11-01 13:29

    Uve served sa with distinction,u won a series down under,dismantled the pomps from the no 1 rankings and now u cn hv whats good 4as an individual.good luck graeme n 1 day ull b d coach of this great cricket team.

  • tumisang.kolobe - 2012-11-01 13:33

    Don't know if am happy or sad

      marcus.vermaak - 2012-11-01 13:55

      Be happy bud, he wants to do this for himself. Good luck cap!

      kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-01 14:22

      Good news, he keeps fit and keeps his eye in. He practices and gets paid big bucks.

  • wesley.rousseau.58 - 2012-11-01 14:08

    Well Done Smith, you deserve it

  • munro.pretorius - 2012-11-01 14:08

    Go Biff. #We are not going to miss you.

      jaco.groenewald.731 - 2012-11-01 14:32

      He is not going anywhere, gjees the man is a Legend, what is wrong with you!!!!!!

      jasper.benadie - 2012-11-01 14:58

      munro.pretorius - Let me guess, R50 gooier WP fan?????

      Jacques - 2012-11-01 17:49

      That hilarious moment when you get a hashtag wrong so you look like even more of a noob...

  • ashraf.g.arendse - 2012-11-01 14:46

    Its all about the money money money! Guys should play for the badge on there shirts and not the name at the back!

      jasper.benadie - 2012-11-01 14:57

      He is not going anywhere jirri are you people dof, start following Cricket numbnuts, you might learn something!!!!

      kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-01 15:57

      Do you use your skills for the love of you country of do you get paid. WHY CANT HE.

  • richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-11-01 15:04

    Biff joining the same county team that KP plays for. Should be interesting.

      wesley.rousseau.58 - 2012-11-01 15:51

      ya Smith's basically his boss now hahaha

  • johan.arendse.90 - 2012-11-01 16:12

    JASPER is n Klip gooier

      jasper.benadie - 2012-11-01 16:40

      Wrong place bru, familiarise yourself with the reply comment button if you want to talk here!

      kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-02 07:44

      Jasper, keep the klippe coming.

  • dan8472 - 2012-11-01 21:46

    Good stuff! Well done mate, you'll do well there.

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