Graeme Smith on international retirement call: I probably had a couple years left in me
No looking back: Graeme Smith steps out for his final Test in March 2014. © Getty

Graeme Smith, the former South Africa captain, has admitted that he probably could have played international cricket for a “a good couple of years” but that the decision to retire at the age of 33 in 2014 was the correct one.

Smith, South Africa’s third-highest run-getter in Tests with 9,253 from 117 matches, reiterated that the call was taken due to personal reasons.

“I retired young, at 33 – and probably had a good couple of years left in me. I had a very full career, having captained my country since the age of 22,” he told Rayder Media. “But 11 years in that job does certainly take its toll. Life situations weren’t simple at that stage – getting divorced and my daughter got burnt with hot water.

“I think the whole situation I was facing was sort of mounting on me with the emotional and mental stress I was under. We had built that environment into a very successful one through time with Mickey Arthur and Gary Kirsten – and we were a very high-performing team.”

Smith said that after Russell Domingo was appointed South Africa’s coach, he experienced emotions that influenced his decision to retire.

‘When Russell Domingo [came in], I just honestly didn’t have the energy to go back 10 steps and start all over again,” said the 38-year-old. “He was a very inexperienced coach. There were a lot of things happening that you just moved away from. It all culminated in a situation where the timing was right and I decided to walk away from the game.

“I have no regrets. I look back – it was an incredible time when things were created and I was able to achieve things. I’m pretty proud and I don’t find myself pondering on a daily basis about the “what ifs”. I just keep remembering the magnificent times I was fortunate to have in South African cricket.”