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 in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014 (16:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 12, 2014  at Sharjah

New Zealand won by 4 wkts

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Steven Smith appointed Australia captain

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 2: India strike back with quick wickets

Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal: How can cricket eliminate the howler?

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane: Maiden wickets, an elusive ton, and other highlights from Day 1

Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane guide India to 311/4 against Australia on Day 1 of 1st Test at Brisbane

Australia India Interviews Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin South Africa

Sri Lanka depart for New Zealand tour

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Proceeds of 4th ODI to be donated to Peshawar attack victims’ families

Chris Rogers falls at stroke of tea as Australia slump to 121/3 against India on Day 2 at Brisbane

Jacques Kallis named in Caribbean Premier League 2015 draft

Chris Rogers completes 6th half-century in 2nd India-Australia Test at Brisbane

Murali Vijay continues to make impressive progress against Australia

Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal: How can cricket eliminate the howler?

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane: Maiden wickets, an elusive ton, and other highlights from Day 1

Chamundeswaranath caught Balasubramaniam bowled Ananthapadmanabhan

Sri Lanka vs England, 7th ODI at Colombo: Tillakaratne Dilshan’s all-round performance and other highlights

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here