Needed break from emotional stress, says Smith

Graeme Smith admits that he should have explained his reasons of not returning home earlier Getty Images

Johannesburg: Jun 6, 2011

While apologising to the fans for not being with the South African team upon its return from the World Cup, skipper Graeme Smith defended his decision of not returning home saying he needed to break away “from being stupid and saying stupid things”.

If their quarterfinal exit in the quadrennial event was not enough, Smith infuriated the fans further by travelling to Ireland to propose to girlfriend, Irish pop singer Morgan Deane, instead of returning home.

“In the state of mind that I was in at the end of that tournament, it’s hard for me to look back and say that I made a mistake,” the 30-year-old told reporters in a press conference at Sandton hotel on Sunday.

Smith apologised to his fans and said his “decision not to return home should have been explained sooner”.

“I apologise and make no excuse for it, but I ask South African fans to understand that I was feeling incredibly emotional at the time. The emotional strain and stress that I was feeling after the World Cup, was something I hadn’t been through in my career,” he said.

“I think it’s easy to be very emotional at the time and to take things very personally … there have been many emotions that I’ve been through,” said Smith.

Battling a knee injury since the IPL 4, Smith admitted that his form had not “been what I hoped it would be of late”.

“I admit that my own form has not been what I had hoped it would be of late. Nothing that I say in the next few weeks is going to be worthwhile unless I can back it up with performance,” he said.

Smith, who gave up ODI captaincy after the World Cup, remains the country’s Test skipper despite speculation that he would step down during Sunday’s press conference.

National team manager Mohammed Moosajee, meanwhile, said Cricket South Africa would on Monday announce the appointment of the new coaching staff.

At a press conference later in the day, CSA is expected to announce the appointment of World Cup-winning Gary Kirsten as the new coach of the national team, with Allan Donald as bowling coach and Russell Domingo as his overall deputy.