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Graeme Smith was probably England’s greatest ever ‘foe’

Graeme Smith stunned every one when he announced his decision to retire from Test cricket © Getty Images

London: Mar 6, 2014

Retired South African Test captain Graeme Smith is one of the biggest foes of England as he went on to claim a ”hat-trick” of England captains with Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss quitting following series defeats in which Smith was influential, a British report has said.

The left-handed batsman, who retired from international cricket on the last day of the final Test against Australia at Newlands, saved some of his very best performances for tours of England while wearing down his opposite numbers in the process.

According to the BBC, although then-England captain Hussain was unfamiliar with his young South Africa counterpart Smith before the first Test at Edgbaston in 2003, he was however, so scarred by Smith’s form in the game that he promptly walked out of the job.

The report further said that Smith’s innings of 277 and 85 in Birmingham set a pattern for his career, adding that he followed up his Edgbaston marathon with another double hundred at Lord’s and went on to claim a hat-trick of England captains as both Michael Vaughan in 2008 and Andrew Strauss in 2012 quit following series defeats in which Smith was influential.

Smith’s longevity has seen him captain in a world-record 109 Test matches – 108 for South Africa and one for a World XI and the report said that of the eight men to have led South Africa since their readmission, he has skippered more Tests than the other seven put together.

With a closed-faced, around-the-front-pad style that was as unattractive as the baggy jumper he often wore, Smith’s sheer force of will somehow forced opposing attacks to bowl to his strengths, an approach that baffled England more than most, the report added.

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