Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“Hopefully we’ll celebrate his retirement and give him the due respect and recognition that he deserves”
Legendary South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis has announced that people need to give captain Graeme Smith the “respect and recognition” he truly deserves.
Smith rocked the cricketing world to its core when he announced his retirement from Test cricket following the conclusion of the ongoing third and final Test against Australia in Cape Town.
“A lot of our sportsmen are like that,” Kallis, who retired from Test cricket in December, said. “Maybe it’s a South African thing that we like to keep our guys down on the ground.
“Hopefully we’ll celebrate his retirement and give him the due respect and recognition that he deserves.”
Former pace bowler Shaun Pollock praised Smith’s captaincy and still recalls how he led the Proteas to the top of the Test team rankings.
“The last five or six years is where he’s really come to the fore,” Pollock said. “He’s had a good team that’s been very settled and he’s known how to get the best out of them.
“He’s been very clear about the tactics he wants to employ and that’s why he’s had a lot of success.”
Ex-wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, whose career was brought to a premature end following a freak eye injury, still remembers how Smith batted with a broken hand against Australia in Sydney in 2009.
“A lot of guys in the dressing room actually got emotional because they realised what had happened on that tour – the Australian crowd had come to fall in love with a captain who they probably hated so much,” Boucher said. “I’ve never seen the SCG crowd, having played there for quite a few years and gone through some abuse, actually stand up for an opposition captain. That was big.”
Former batsman Herschelle Gibbs also paid tribute to Smith, stating that he impressed with how the 33-year-old responded when being bestowed with the honour of captaining his country at the age of 22.
“He’s always led the team from the front, right from when he took over the team at the tender age of 22,” Gibbs said. “He always wanted the job and he was very comfortable with having that responsibility.”