Young captain Smith praised as role model

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The Independent Online

The South Africa vice-captain, Mark Boucher, feels that his captain Graeme Smith has helped to bring a greater professionalism to the tourists.

Smith has led by example with his feats as opening batsman, scoring 621 runs in his first three innings of the five-match Test series. But Boucher is full of praise for the impact that Smith has made on his team-mates with his attitude and insatiable hunger to succeed ahead of Thursday's third Test at Trent Bridge.

"We've had a good spirit in the past but I just think we've got a very young side now who just understand their roles and their responsibilities - not only on the cricket field but off it as well," the wicketkeeper said. "A lot of the senior guys in the party have had their eyes opened by Graeme as well. In a way it has been a bit of a leveller for us and we are really working hard as a team now and are focused on being really professional.

"Graeme has opened our eyes with regards to that professionalism and understanding your job and what your role is as a professional sportsman. We all understand our responsibilities and we've got to try and win the Test series.

"We can all see that Graeme is a very dedicated young guy and he leads from the front. He is so hungry and never satisfied with what he has got."

Boucher added that South Africa were determined not to allow England to recover from their innings defeat at Lord's. "On the last tour we went to Holland after winning at Lord's and we celebrated for a while.

"The trip to Holland did get a bit out of hand - and it had got out of hand the last two times we have been. But we haven't gone this time and we are looking to stay focused. If you have a team on the ropes, then you have got to leave them there, otherwise you slip into bad habits.

"We are playing well at the moment and if we can keep our standards high, and not lower them at all, then it will be great for us."