Published: Friday, March 21, 2003, 21:38 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Tough cookie Graeme Smith has come full circle
Johannesburg: New South African captain Graeme Smith has pledged to put passion and fire back into the national team after its dismal World Cup failure. "I have to get everyone in the team working in one direction," said the 22-year-old who became the youngest captain in his country's history when he replaced Shaun Pollock. Pollock was sacked after the Proteas failed to get beyond the World Cup first round. "Maybe we need a bit of discipline in our cricket and maybe we need a bit of fun. But I am determined to bring back the passion and spark," Smith said. Pollock was slammed for his tactics and alleged indecisiveness despite delivering the Test world championship during his time. "One of my hardest jobs will be to get the guys to step up a gear. As a captain I have to have the ability to tap into any player," Smith added. "With Jacques Kallis you have to make him bowl at 140kph because you know he can if he wants to." Smith's first assignment as captain will be the three-nation Sharjah Cup from April 1-10 against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, provided South Africa makes the trip due to the war in Iraq. South Africa is also scheduled to play a tri-series in Bangladesh from April 13, which also features India, before two Test matches against the hosts. Smith's men will also tour England later in the summer.