CricketTuesday, March 4, 2014
Smith retires from internationals
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Graeme Smith announced his sudden retirement from international cricket yesterday, ending the career of the most experienced test captain and South African cricket’s saviour.
Smith resurrected the team from the match-fixing scandal involving former skipper Hansie Cronje and a disastrous World Cup on home soil in 2003.
Smith, given control of the underperforming and fiercely criticized national team at 22, went on to play over 100 tests, was captain for more than a decade and established South Africa as the No. 1 test team in the world, although he couldn’t end the country’s long wait for a World Cup title.
“This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life,” Smith said in a statement through Cricket South Africa.
He told teammates after the third day of the ongoing third test against Australia at his home ground Newlands in Cape Town that he was retiring after the match.
Ahead of the series-deciding third test, which Australia leads by 234 runs with two days to play, Smith talked of a “challenging two weeks” in relation to his personal life and with specific reference to his young daughter. He didn’t elaborate.
Elsewhere, Ajantha Mendis and Thisara Perera snared six wickets and Kumar Sangakkara hit a half century as Sri Lanka reached the Asia Cup final with a 129-run win over Afghanistan in Bangladesh.