The South African national cricket team Proteas has been an active member of the ICC in all three formats – Test, ODI, and T20I for a long time. They have had notable success in many tournaments worldwide, and while cricket fans are waiting for live cricket to be back and scroll on multiple cricket scores, the CSA is looking to make a change in leadership.
They have appointed Graeme Smith as South Africa’s director of cricket for a two-year period ending on March 31, 2022. This decision has been made by CSA to shake things up in the leadership roles to regain South Africa’s old winning days and whip the team into shape.
Who is Graeme Smith?
Graeme Smith was placed in the position of acting director from December 2019, before officially becoming a permanent director in April 2020. This is not Smith’s first leading role, as he was previously the caption of the South African national team.
Smith played for South Africa’s national cricket team for 12 years before retiring in 2014. Graeme Smith is considered the most successful test captain with 53 victories in Test history. He tops the list of captains with the most innings victories in Test cricket. Also, the South African opening batsmen is the only captain that has recorded over 50 wins with his team. Besides that, he is the only player turned captain that has led his team to play in over 100 Test matches.
His 2008 performance as captain led to a significant historical achievement when South Africa beat Australia on their soil in a Test match. That was Australia’s first defeat on home turf in 16 years. Because of that, and other amazing matches during the tournaments, Smith was named the captain of the World Test XI by ICC.
It’s safe to say Smith has experience as a team leader, which made CSA’s decision much easier.
What will Smith bring to the team?
Smith is very optimistic about his future as the director of the national team. Cricket South Africa prepared a two-year contract for Smith, hoping that history will repeat itself, and Smith will bring cricket to its best.
CSA Acting Chief Executive Jacques Faul praised Smith’s passion and expertise but noted that there is still work to be done before the South African team regains its glory. Faul added that Smith has proved to be a hard worker during his time as an interim director.
Smith pointed out that his long-term contract will help with building a more reliable team. South Africa’s next challenges include a Test and T20 tour of the West Indies to start in the second half of the year.
Smith added that he would need about six weeks of practice with the team before they embark on any new competitive matches and tournaments. The new director will keep Quinton de Kock as the current national team captain but will look for a new Test captain in a desire not to overwhelm de Kock.
CSA’s decision to appoint Smith
After a debacle in the 2019 World Cup, South Africa’s then-director got replaced with Graeme Smith. The entire coaching staff was overhauled by CSA as well.
While acting as a temporary director, South Africa lost three and won one match against England on home turf. The matches were part of the Test series and were played in December and January.
It’s interesting that the position “Director of Cricket” did not exist before 2015. England and Wales Cricket Board, ECB, appointed Andrew Strauss as the director in 2015 after experiencing their own World Cup debacle.
New team members
Graeme Smith has already made some temporary changes in his team by selecting a new national selector and a coaching consultant. The current national selector will be Linda Zondi, a former wicketkeeper, with Ashwell Prince and Malibongwe Maketa joining as well. Prince, a former batsman, will take control of the South Africa A team, and Maketa will consult the under-19 squad.
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