South Africa captain Graeme Smith joins Surrey - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

South Africa captain Graeme Smith joins Surrey

 

Surrey have pulled off one of the most eye-catching deals in recent county cricket history by clinching the signing of South Africa captain Graeme Smith on a three-year contract.

Smith, who has spent the last nine years as his country’s Test skipper, will move to The Kia Oval at the start of next summer and joins Surrey as club captain, replacing Rory Hamilton-Brown, who has rejoined Sussex.

Smith is well-known to English cricket fans for bringing an end to the eras of three Test captains on his last three tours. Both Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan relinquished the captaincy during the 2003 and 2008 series’ respectively, while Andrew Strauss resigned from all cricket in August shortly after Smith’s side took the three-match contest and replaced England at the top of the ICC Test standings.

Kevin Pietersen, a verbal and sporting sparring partner for Smith for many years, is also a Surrey player. Pietersen's England duties mean he is unlikely to play county cricket regularly but it will be fascinating to see how Smith approaches the challenge of captaining a man who once described him publicly as "a muppet".

Smith will not play in the Indian Premier League during the first year of his contract, and at this stage, it is thought he is unlikely to do so in either of the next two years. He is scheduled to start life at Surrey in March and as he is likely to be selected for the Champions Trophy, he would play in county matches in April and May  before linking up with the South Africa squad for the tournament in England in June.

If the Proteas reach the final, Smith would be away from Surrey until June 23. He then intends to return to county action until the end of the summer. The postponement of South Africa’s three-Test series against Sri Lanka, originally scheduled for next July, until June 2015 means Smith will have more time to devote to his new job. Surrey sources insist that there is no sponsorship tie-in to enhance Smith’s financial package and that the opening batsman’s salary will fit into the current wage structure.

Smith was quick to emphasise that his decision to join Surrey would not affect his international commitments. He said: “Although I am excited about what we can achieve at Surrey, I would like to state very clearly that my new role will not affect my commitments to the Proteas in any way. I look forward to continuing to represent my country for many years to come.

“I am excited to be joining such a professional and talented team, during what will hopefully prove to be a rewarding and successful period for Surrey. When you consider the ambition shown, it was an easy decision for my family and me.

“I would like to thank Surrey and Cricket South Africa for giving me the opportunity to lead the side and for making it possible.”

Both Surrey and Smith hope that the presence of such a successful international skipper will inspire immediate respect within a young, talented but sometimes erratic squad. Although there is plenty of ability within the Surrey ranks, the application of some players has been questioned, and the idea is that Smith should be able to improve any bad habits.

The location is also handy for Smith. The 31-year-old’s wife, Morgan, is Irish, and the move to London allows the couple and their three-month-old daughter to be closer to Morgan’s family.

Smith will chose his vice-captain after assessing his new team-mates. His record should certainly inspire immediate respect: in

104 Tests he has scored 8,314 runs at an average of 49.78 including 25 centuries, placing him 14th on the all-time list of Test century makers.Surrey’s team director Chris Adams added: “ Signing Graeme Smith on a three year deal is a massive coup for Surrey. As well as being one of the best captains in the modern game, he is a phenomenal opening batsman and will lead by example from the top of the innings.

“By signing a three year deal, Graeme has demonstrated his commitment to Surrey on a long term basis and I look forward to working alongside him and the rest of our hugely talented squad to bring more silverware to this club in the near future."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week