Johannesburg, Feb 19: Former South Africa cricket chief Ali Bacher has lauded the selection committee which made Graeme Smith the captain of the side after the southpaw had played just eight Tests.
Smith, who was asked to lead the side in 2003, has now become the most successful Test captain with 49 victories in 101 matches surpassing Ricky Ponting (48 wins out of 77 games). He also holds the record of captaining in most Tests.
“Smith was 22 years old, had played only eight Tests, 22 ODIs and had hardly any captaincy experience,” Bacher was quoted as saying by The Star.
“We need also to doff our caps to the 2003 National Selection Committee, chaired by Omar Henry, for their vision and I would say their courage in appointing Graeme as captain.”
Bacher, a former captain who appeared in 12 Tests, recalled the time when Smith was appointed skipper.
“After his appointment as captain, coach Bob Woolmer said, and with good intent, that he thought Graeme should relinquish the captaincy, for the time being anyhow, fearing that the pressures of captaincy would be too much for him so early in his international career.
“Like one of our all-time greats, Jacques Kallis, Graeme is only now being acknowledged for his immense contribution to the success of our cricket team over the past 10 years. He will go down in the history of the game as our most successful Test captain ever,” said Bacher.