Johannesburg: Graeme Smith has stood down as South Africa’s T20 captain and would relinquish ODI captaincy after the 2011 World Cup. Though, he will lead the country in Tests and will be available for selection in all three formats. Smith announced this decision at a press conference here on Wednesday.
"There are several reasons why I have made this important career decision," Smith said.
"I am going into my ninth season of international cricket - eight of which have been as captain. It is my intention to play for another five or six years and I know in my heart that I can only do that if I give up some of my current responsibilities." a leading cricket website quoted him as saying.
"It has always been my philosophy not only to make the Proteas (South Africa) the best team we can possibly be but also to enable the players to grow both as cricketers and as people. I believe we have now reached the stage where there are several players emerging within the squad to take on leadership roles.”
"My decision automatically poses the questions of why I am announcing it now and why I am not waiting until after the World Cup. It is absolutely vital that we maintain continuity in a World Cup season and this major competition also concludes the current cycle of limited overs cricket. I also feel that making the announcement now will provide the time and development necessary to ensure a smooth transition."
Smith was appointed as the captain of South African cricket team in 2003 when he was just 22 years old. Ever since, he has been leading the team in all three formats.
Under Smith South Africa first won a Test series on Australian soil. Despite having a great run as a captain during which he took his country to the Numero Uno spot in ICC cricket rankings, Smith’s ambition of winning the ODI World Cup remains elusive.
Two front-runners have emerged as the possible replacement of Smith as T20 captain. Off-sppiner Johan Botha is the leading the fray while batsman AB devilliers is another option South African selectors can bank upon.