Benoni Zalmi team owner Javed Afridi announced on Monday that Graeme Smith (above) has been appointed as head coach of the franchise    Getty Images
Benoni Zalmi team owner Javed Afridi announced on Monday that Graeme Smith (above) has been appointed as head coach of the franchise Getty Images

Johannesburg: Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith will begin his first stint as professional coach with T20 Global League franchise Benoni Zalmi. Zalmi team owner Javed Afridi announced on Monday that Smith has been appointed as head coach of the franchise. Smith last played a competitive game in May 2014, a T20 for Somerset two months after his final Test against Australia. Highveld Lions’ Geoffrey Toyana, who was recently among the frontrunners to replace Russell Domingo as South Africa’s coach, will be his assistant, reports ESPNcricinfo. Their first assignment together would be to pick players from a pool of over 400 in the player draft. The competition is slated to start in early November in 2017 and will end on December 16. Graeme Smith, Michael Vaughan slam Kagiso Rabada s suspension from Trent Bridge Test

Meanwhile, Smith has advised a struggling AB De Villiers to focus on limited overs cricket and give up the One-day International (ODI) captaincy to fully concentrate on his batting. Smith, in an article for a British daily, revealed that de Villiers was looking to walk away from Test cricket last year itself but was persuaded by Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials to stay on while offering a break of one year, as reported by IANS. It s my belief that AB was looking to walk away from Tests last year at some point, but has been encouraged to carry on by CSA, Smith wrote in a column for Britain s Independent newspaper. AB de Villiers should step away from ODI captaincy, feels Graeme Smith

His personal prerogative is ensuring he does all he can to add as much longevity to his international career as possible, as well as taking into account the harsh realities of touring such as the amount of travel involved, and the toll that takes on your body. AB is due to assess his future with CSA later this summer, and my advice to him would be to step away from the captaincy, and concentrate his energy in to maintaining his levels in white-ball cricket for the next two years, Smith added.