Graeme Smith said on Wednesday he was keen to continue to play a role in South African cricket following his retirement from the international game as a player. “I’d love to play a role with Cricket South Africa and who knows where that’s going to be,” he said in his final press conference as captain after his side’s 245-run defeat in the third Test against Australia.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience over the years, worked with a lot of people and feel I still have a lot to offer South African cricket.”
Smith said he believed it was important to create the right environment for the national team to go forward into the future. “I think there are some important things that need to be tightened,” said the 33-year-old.
“The leadership group is going to be a crucial factor — how they galvanise these players and get them working and going in the right direction. There are a lot of wonderful players who can take it forward (but) there are certainly challenges on the exterior that need to be met.”
Australian captain Michael Clarke said South African cricket had suffered a big loss with Smith’s retirement. “Whatever praise he gets he deserves a lot more,” said Clarke. “He’s a fantastic leader and one of the greats of the game. Cricket will be a sadder place without him. I’ve learnt a lot from him.”
Smith said he started to think of retirement when Gary Kirsten stepped down as coach last year. “When he left as coach that’s when the thoughts entered my mind. It has taken a period of time to process that.”