Graeme Smith rarely creates controversy, but he is in the centre of it recently. South Africa’s exit in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, once again meant that there would no silverware for the team in the next four years, despite being one of the top ODI teams in world cricket. So fingers were pointed at Smith’s leadership, which could not instill belief in the team to get rid of their mindset of being ‘chokers’.
Instead of attending to an answer-hungry media at home, Smith decided to holiday in Ireland with his Irish girlfriend, and subsequently get married to her. He did so, followed by which he arrived in India to join his Pune Warriors team-mates to play the IPL. South Africa is usually not a cricket-crazy nation, but its talent is such that a defeat of such magnitude cannot be taken lightly. So even Smith tried to be clever by resigning as captain of the national team immediately, he remains answerable to the entire country but he chose not so.
All this is clearly running in his mind as well as the fact that his form with the bat is a huge worry as well. Smith’s highest score in the World Cup was 45 against England in a losing cause. Even though that is a different scenario altogether, yet the fact that he is out-of-form was proven in the first match against Kings XI Punjab. He drove a full-length ball uppishly straight to cover, which was the first ball of the Pune innings.
Smith is usually a good T-20 player in particular, so that should sooth the Warriors as his runs will be key for their success in the competition. However, what is the biggest disadvantage is that Smith is a confidence player, so when he is not at his best, he struggles big time to deliver. And that has been going on for a long period of time now.
It is time that Smith pulls up his socks now that his personal life is more or less sorted out and the World Cup is a forgotten story. But looking at Smith’s mentality, this also seems unlikely as he needs some time to regain his lost confidence and pride.