Graeme Smith © Getty Images
Graeme Smith captained South Africa for 11 years © Getty Images

 

Apr 5, 2014

 

Graeme Smith is confident that South Africa will still be a top side even after his departure as he believes that there is enough experience and talent in the squad. Along with Smith, veteran Jacques Kallis also retired.

 

He captained the side for 11 years and took South Africa to the number one test spot in the world and there are going high expectations from the next captain to maintain the same level.

 

Smith was the most successful captain in test cricket as he won 59 out of the 109 matches he led his side in. But he believes it isn’t going to be tough to fill his shoes, as there are players in the team now that have experience and can succeed on the big stage.

 

“There have been a lot of positive changes in South African cricket in the past 11 to 12 years,” said Smith, reported Reuters.

 

“Structure and systems are now there to help the next generation to be better. It’s now more professional than ever before.”

 

Smith was only 22 when he had taken over as captain after Shaun Pollock resigned.

 

He admits that it took him a while to adjust to the new role as a captain because, a number of experienced players quit when he took over. He now knows that there are enough experienced players to help his successor with the role.

 

“I think back to when I got the captaincy and we had Gary Kirsten, Allan Donald and Jonty Rhodes walk away,” Smith said. “Now you have got guys that are there that have played 60 or 70 Test matches, and 100 to 150 ODIs (one-day internationals).

 

“You’ve got six or seven guys that are groomed to move into that senior player role.”

 

Smith thinks it is now the responsibility of the coaching staff  to take South Africa to the next level.

 

“The coaching structure is important and how Russell Domingo creates the environment for success,” Smith said. “He has the players and the talent is there.”

 

AB de Villiers, the test vice-captain and the ODI captain is the favorite to take over the captaincy role.

 

“I don’t know where they’re going to go with the captaincy,” he said. “I think a lot of pressure is going to fall on the coaches.”