Regarding his retirement, Smith told media, “This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life. It’s a decision that I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April last year. I have a young family to consider, and I felt that retiring at Newlands would be the best way to end it, because I have called this place home since I was 18.”
Despite showing a poor performance in his final match after going out for only three runs, there is no doubt that Smith is one of the greatest batsmen South Africa has ever had.
With records such as fastest to get to 1 000 runs, most centuries by a captain in test matches, highest number of victories as test captain, and highest scoring test partnership with Neil McKenzie, there is no questioning this.
Smith began his international career in 2002 and quickly made his presence in the South African squad known after scoring 200 runs in his second test match. This was the first of a string of outstanding performances by the batsman, which included two consecutive double centuries in a test series against England.
This performance meant he was appointed the youngest ever captain of South Africa after Shaun Pollock resigned in 2003. Although never being able to lead South Africa to the much sought after Cricket World Cup title, Smith did lead the country to become both the number ranked One Day International (ODI) team in 2009 and the number one ranked test cricket team in 2012.
In 2009, Smith gave one of his most inspiring performances in a test series against Australia when he came out to bat with a broken hand, displaying his dedication to the team. Despite his actions, Australia still won the match by 103 runs.
After South Africa’s poor performance in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Smith resigned as ODI captain but continued to play for the national team, having played a great role in many of South Africa’s successes.
It is clear that Graeme Smith has contributed greatly to South African cricket and his presence in the squad will be missed.