Smith to complete century as Test skipper
29 January, 2013
JOHANNESBURG: South African skipper Graeme Smith is all set to become the first cricket player to captain a team in 100 Tests when he will lead the side out against Pakistan on Friday at the Wanderers stadium.
It will be a double celebration for Smith as it will also be his 32nd birthday. Smith has led the Proteas in 98 Tests to date and has also captained the World XI against Australia.
To celebrate the occasion, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and its sponsors have lined up a host of activities. CSA has also urged fans to be part of the celebrations by signing a huge Proteas replica jersey which will be handed over to Smith during the match. On match day, a roving camera will capture messages from fans which will be played on the stadium's big screen as well as on CSA's social media platforms.
"This is a truly remarkable achievement," said CSA Acting CEO, Jacques Faul. "Graeme is a true South African hero and we must celebrate this achievement in style. He took over as captain at a difficult time just after the 2003 ICC World Cup and has been in this most demanding of jobs for almost a decade now. His leadership has been unwavering and inspirational not just to his players but to the nation and he has been one of the few captains whose career statistics in the demanding job of opening batsman have been unaffected by his leadership responsibilities."
Fans can participate in the mass birthday song planned for the skipper during one of the breaks in the game. Smith has captained in all but eight of his 107 Test appearances and took over a decade ago when South African cricket had slumped to one of its lowest points after the Proteas were eliminated early at their home World Cup in 2003.
South Africa is now the top-ranked team in Tests and Smith will likely reach 100 matches in charge of his country in the second Test in Cape Town and at his home ground, Newlands. Allan Border is second on the list of captains having led Australia in 93 Tests. Stephen Fleming captained New Zealand in 80 matches.
After 10 years in charge of South Africa, Smith has a 47 percent win rate. Steve Waugh was the most successful among the long serving captains having led Australia to a 71 percent win rate in his 57 tests as captain between 1999 and 2004.