Graeme Smith, the former South Africa captain who retired in March 2014, is considering a comeback to international cricket. He is getting ready for the Masters Champions League and reports suggest he might end up training with his old team-mates again, as they prepare for full series against England in December.
“For me, I’m at the cusp of whether I should play international cricket again or not,” he told the National. “I’m 34 now, retired at 33, there’s always that question mark of whether I can play for another three-four years. I know I can. But, it’s just about … I’m at the cusp. I’m looking forward to the MCL and take it from there.”
Smith had quit cricket at Newlands, his home ground, following a gruelling three-Test series against Australia last summer. He had mentioned several factors ranging from the exits of Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten to his responsibility to a young family.
Since then, Smith has moved on to a job as a cricket expert. He had even ventured into the corporate sector with Momentum, a financial company, and also dabbled in the administrative side of things when he served as tournament director for the Ram Slam T20 in South Africa.
In July 2014, he said he missed playing for South Africa. “I think ideally, I would have loved to have gone to another World Cup and played against England here, end of next year.”
Those sentiments appear to have precipitated after watching South Africa’s 0-3 loss to India. But nothing is certain as yet. For now his focus appears to be on the Masters Champions League, where he features as a marquee player for Virgo Super Kings.
“Who knows the MCL could be a platform back into the international game?” he told ARY TV. “I get asked this question a lot. It does spend time in your head, especially when you see the boys struggling in India you think you can contribute, but we’ll see. I’ll go back train, prepare and get ready for the MCL.”
Nevertheless, Smith threw his weight behind the current South African Test team, who are struggling with transition. The loss in India marked the end of a nine-year streak of being undefeated away from home. But the England series begins in familiar surrounds, in Durban for the Boxing Day Test, which gives enough time for the players to recuperate.
“It’s put us under a little bit of pressure for the end of the year. England’s a big tour back in South Africa, four Tests, so the guys need to go back home. They’ve been in India for a very long time, they need to have a bit of fun for a week, see their families, relax, catch their breath, because four Tests against England will be very exciting now.”
Smith was also looking forward to seeing how Hashim Amla shapes up after the India setback. “He needs time, it’s his first challenge as a captain now and how he bounces back from this will speak volumes for him and the team. I think we need to always give him that opportunity now to bounce back and how he brings the guys through. This England tour now becomes an important challenge for him as a leader.”