Kirsten's role vital in Smith retaining captaincy

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Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012, 12:25 [IST]
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Gary was a big instigator in me:  Smith

Johannesburg, Jun 30: South Africa's Graeme Smith had thought about quitting Test and ODI captaincy after the conclusion of the World Cup last year, but did not take that step since Coach Gary Kirsten asked him to reconsider the decision, according to a report.

The South African batsman after leading the team for eight long years in all the three formats of the game, decided to step down from T20 and ODI captaincy in August 2010 and April 2011 respectively.

The left-handed batsman also said that he wanted to quit Test captaincy as well but Gary Kirsten convinced him to continue Test cricket.

"After the World Cup, when things were tough, it certainly was something that was on my mind. Gary played a role in me keeping the captaincy. He talked me into doing it for longer and he was the reason I decided to carry on," Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Having lost the semifinal against New Zealand in last year's World Cup, the least Smith had expected was a massive setback as he was almost in tears while he explained how he wanted to lift the prestigious WC and then step down as ODI captain while addressing the media.

Describing the period after World Cup as the most difficult phase of his career, he wanted to shed all responsibilities and concentrate on his form as he was struggling to score runs.

Since there was no potential candidate to take over him as Test captain, Smith continued to be the Test captain.

"Gary was a big instigator in me carrying on captaining the Test side. I've certainly enjoyed working with him and the management team, which has also helped. As long as I can keep enjoying it and keep adding value then I will captain," said Smith before his side's departure to England.

"I don't know if I will captain the Test side for as long as I play. I've only just turned 31 and I feel I still have a lot to offer from a batting perspective but I certainly don't see myself captaining until the time I retire," he added.

Smith however said he has no plans to retire in the near future as he is still hungry for runs.

"In long run, I'm going to concentrate on performance. I'm still hungry, I've got a lot of things that I want to achieve," said Smith who has scored 8042 runs from 99 Tests at an average of 49.64.


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