Still a top runs scorer

LAST TEST: Graeme Smith is joined by his wife, Morgan, and children Cadance and Carter at the close of his international career at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town.  Picture: GALLO IMAGES
LAST TEST: Graeme Smith is joined by his wife, Morgan, and children Cadance and Carter at the close of his international career at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

YEAH, I suppose Graeme Smith waited too long to retire. He was after all now only the second ranked opener in the world and his batting average for the last 12 months was just more than 40, roughly the same as Gary Kirsten’s career average in fact.

Maybe he should, like Jacques Kallis, have retired in December, at the end of a year in which he had averaged 50, scored yet another double century, at a stage when he was the top rated opening batsman in the world.

Maybe the fact that only one opening batsman in the history of test cricket has scored more runs counts for little, maybe 27 centuries mark him as a mediocre player. Strange that critics seem to notice all his failures, like this series, and none of his successes.

Smith was equalled, but not surpassed in the very difficult business of scoring big in the fourth innings. Last year he scored faster than any regular South African batsman – yes that includes AB de Villiers.

He could take a game away from the opposition, like he and Hashim Amla did in Perth a few years ago. Although overshadowed by Herschelle Gibbs, his innings in the 438 ODI was crucial.

We are still No1 in the rankings, one series defeat has not changed that.

Go well Graeme Smith. I will miss you.

Barry de Klerk, Port Elizabeth
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