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Leading from the front

Graeme Smith is undoubtedly one of the most successful cricketing captains of all time. After making his test and one day international debuts against Australia in 2002 he has amassed 8,624 runs in 187 test matches, nearly 7,000 in one day internationals and almost 1,000 runs in a mere 33 games in the Twenty20 form of the game. At his current age of 31, there remains the potential for further success for arguably South Africa’s greatest ever captain and opening batsman. His achievements with the bat are combined with the leadership qualities that emerged after he became his nation’s youngest ever captain at the tender age of 22 in 2003. Guiding a huge cricketing nation to various triumphs whilst consistently maintaining a high level of performance with the bat, in the field and (occasionally) with the ball have allowed him to emerge as one of the finest cricketers to have ever graced the game.

Various teams have experienced his talents and leadership qualities during a domestic career with the likes of Hampshire, Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals, Somerset, Western Province and Surrey. Smith is a tactically astute captain with great judgement, knowing when to use a certain bowler and supports them with intelligent field placings. His relationship with his players and the loyalty he gives to them only enhances his leadership. He remains calm and focused under pressure, allowing his vast experience to rub off onto his players.

His achievements as captain are evident – he scored back-to-back centuries on the 2003 tour of England including a national record 277 and scored three consecutive centuries in the West Indies, becoming the first captain since 1977 to finish a Caribbean tour undefeated. He additionally captained South Africa to their first Test series win in England since readmission and then led this impressive group of players to a famous 2-1 win in Australia - the Aussies first home series defeat since 1992/3. He has since established South Africa as the world’s number one ranked test match side. The Wisden Cricketer of the year in 2004’s batting averages speak for themselves - 49.29 for test matches including 26 centuries and 36 half-centuries and 38.53 for ODI’s including 46 half-centuries and 9 centuries.

Captaining a national cricketing side against the world’s best in the most intense environments is hard enough; doing it whilst upholding such a high level of performance is something else. Smith therefore stands alongside crickets very best.

The life of Graeme Smith

VITAL STATISTICS

Born: February 1, 1981
Place of birth: Johannesburg, South Africa
School: King Edward VII School, Johannesburg
Height: 1.91m
Nickname: Biff
Marital status: Married
Current residence: Cape Town, South Africa
Playing role: Opening batsman, left-hand bat. Bowling, right-arm off-break. Specialist slip fielder
Test debut: v Australia at Cape Town, March 2002
ODI debut: v Australia at Bloemfontein, March 2002

INTERESTING FACTS
Favourite place to visit: Austria
Car: BMW X6
Hobbies: Family time, going out with friends, movies, reading and playing golf
Favourite gadget: Blackberry