Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“We should take pride in the way he has built this team and the legacy he leaves behind”
Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat has announced that the board is in no hurry to name captain Graeme Smith’s successor.
Lorgat’s comments come after Smith stunned the cricketing world by announcing his retirement following the conclusion of the ongoing third and final Test against Australia in Cape Town.
“We’re fortunate there’s a T20 series to follow this and we’ve already got an established captain,” Lorgat said. “The next Test series is in Sri Lanka in July. So there’s a bit of time and something the selectors will have to deal with. I don’t want to pre-empt anything at this stage.”
Lorgat noted that he wanted the same selection process to be used when Smith was chosen to lead South Africa over a decade ago.
“My recollection of the process is that the board confirms the appointment of the captain,” Lorgat said. “I would support that approach. It’s a big appointment, it’s the leader. I’m sure the selectors will look across the entire team and choose, or recommend, whom they believe to be the best leader.”
Lorgat also admitted that Cricket South Africa took a huge gamble by bestowing Smith with the honour of leading his country at age of 22 in April 2003.
“It was a decision that was a gamble,” Lorgat said. “We knew that Graeme had the kind of attitude that leaders are made of. He didn’t have the benefit of age or experience on his side. But when you looked him in the eye, when you spoke with him it was apparent this was a chap who could make it. Thankfully, all these years later we see a formidable record, personal and team wise. He’s certainly proven us right.”
While most people were surprised by Smith’s decision to bring his Test career to an end, Lorgat conceded that he was expecting it to occur at some point in the near future.
“We thought it would be sooner rather than later he would call time,” he said. “I’ve got no qualms with that, it’s the right thing to do.
“When you wake up one morning and realise it’s the end of the road for you, you share that with the people around you. That’s his team. Once it’s shared with the team you might as well tell the public. We want to be open and transparent rather than it filtering through some unfortunate source.”
Lorgat also revealed that Smith’s chances of representing South Africa in the 2015 World Cup are growing slimmer day by day.
“If you think back to the rise of Quinton de Kock, and with Hashim Amla opening, Graeme must be realistic,” Lorgat said. “I’ve heard him and [Jacques] Kallis a couple of nights ago openly stating that if they don’t deserve on performance to be in the team they wouldn’t want to be in the team.
“These are professional players, these are fantastic players. Graeme must have evaluated his own chances and to call time now rather than wait for the World Cup.”
Lorgat finished off by saying that Smith’s “record speaks for itself”.
“Leaders are different,” he added. “Some are upfront, some are quiet. Graeme is Graeme and his record speaks for itself.
“We should take pride in the way he has built this team and the legacy he leaves behind. A lot of the younger players that have come through have certainly drawn comfort from his presence. Sometimes lady luck smiles on people’s careers. Saying goodbye at Newlands was an apt end to his formidable career.”