Home > Features >

Graeme Smith’s retirement ushers in new era for Test cricket

Graeme Smith's career is the epitome of hope and belief in the young and future of Test cricket © Getty Images
Graeme Smith’s career is the epitome of hope and belief in the young and future of Test cricket © Getty Images

Graeme Smith shocked the world by announcing his retirement from international cricket. His last day as an international cricketer is on March 5, 2014. After that Test cricket will lose another of its modern greats and all very soon. Shrikant Shankar writes about the retirements in Test cricket and what who will be the future torchbearers for the game’s longest version.

It is widely believed that Test cricket is on the decline. Reducing spectators at stadiums and the rise of Twenty20 cricket is having an adverse effect on the game’s longest version. If we leave T20 cricket alone and focus on the spectators, then we can say this — in any sport the fans will come if the big players are playing. If world renowned players are taking the field then that attracts the fans and they become supporters. If those big players are not playing then the numbers are bound to reduce. So, when Graeme Smith announced his retirement from international cricket, one could envisage a slight issue for the longest form of the game.

Smith has been one of the best batsmen and captain the modern-day game has seen. He may not be the most stylish players, but at the end of the day as a batsman one has to score runs. Smith scored 9,265 runs in 117 Tests at an average of 48.25. He scored 27 centuries and 38 half-centuries with a highest of 277. Now these are staggering numbers for an opening batsman. Smith may not be considered as an all-time greats, but in the modern-day game he is one.

Catch all the stories related to Graeme Smith’s retirement here

And his retirement brings Test cricket in a tight situation. Only a few months back another South African and world legend Jacques Kallis retired from Test cricket. Now Kallis scored 13,289 runs in 166 Tests at a phenomenal average of 55.37. He is second in the all-time list of the most centuries scored with 45. He is only behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 51. And Tendulkar retired just in November 2013. He was the last of the famed India middle-order. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman played their last Test in January 2012.

Kevin Pietersen’s Test career has also ended albeit in different circumstances. But there can be no denying the fact that Test cricket has lost many stalwarts in recent years. Suddenly the players who made Test cricket exciting have all retired, some expectedly and some unexpectedly. The length of the Test series between teams are reducing and many players are focusing their careers in T20 cricket.

But change is inevitable in any walk of life. Players come and go all the time and the game moves on. Test cricket may not be what it was some 15-20 years ago; and it certainly is not what it was 30-40 years back. But the game has seen many greats come by even in the modern age. There are players in the current day who are the torchbearers for the future. South Africa are entering an uncertain time, but they have players like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla who are already giants of Test cricket. There isn’t a series in the last few years where South Africa have played and either of the two or both have not scored bulks of runs.

India most certainly have lost all their great players in the last few years. The only remnants of the side that was No 1 in the world in 2010 and some part of 2011 still playing for the national team are MS Dhoni and Zaheer Khan. While Dhoni’s position in Test cricket has been questioned many times, Zaheer is well past his peak. But India have an exciting future ahead. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have shown that they have what it takes to score the runs at home and away.

The likes Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane have also impressed in the recent tour of New Zealand. Mohammed Shami is also an exciting prospect for the future. The England national team may be in disarray, but Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, James Anderson and Stuart Broad are still playing. Their numbers are up there with some of the best. Australia have found new vigour under Michael Clarke and they have an abundance of talent coming through. David Warner, Steven Smith, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc are just some of the players who have shown they have what it takes to excel in Test cricket.

Not all of the above mentioned names will become legends or greats. But there is enough to believe that Test cricket can progress with these players at the forefront. A new era has been ushered in Test cricket as the news of Smith’s retirement just begins to sink in. The spectators and fans will now get to see new legends and greats.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton


South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run


Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai


Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Pakistan eye victory as Australia reel at 59/4 at stumps on Day 4

Suresh Raina gifts Aditya Garhwal an autographed bat

Dwayne Bravo says West Indies pull-out had everybody’s consent

Bangladesh gain upper-hand over Zimbabwe at stumps on Day 1 of 1st Test

David Warner and others with records related to hundreds in consecutive Test innings

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan considered skipping Tests

Michael Clarke: Younis Khan is one of the gentlemen of our game

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone to meet South Zone in final

Pakistan eye victory as Australia reel at 59/4 at stumps on Day 4

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner admits that Australia is not scared of big targets

TE Srinivasan: Graceful at the crease and in death

Duleep Trophy 2014-15: Six things we learnt from the quarter-finals and semi-finals

Fazal Mahmood engineers Pakistan’s first ever Test match victory

Saeed Ajmal or not, Pakistan’s spin attack marches on

Younis Khan — Pakistan’s greatest batsman?

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Apple to merge Beats Music with iTunes next year as music sales fall 14 percent in 2014: WSJ

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan considered skipping Tests

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

WTA Finals 2014: Sania Mirza and Cara Black shock Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik to secure final berth

New Zealand vs South Africa 2014: Indifferent start to New Zealand’s World Cup preparations

Dear IAF, every smartphone not just Xiaomi could be a security threat

NGOs pursue education for all

ISL 2014, 12th Match: Delhi Dynamos FC 4-1 Chennaiyin FC in Pics

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here