The South African cricket grew significantly under the captaincy of Graeme Smith, who was appointed in a leadership role at a particularly young age (22). Smith had played in only eight Tests and 22 ODIs for South Africa when he was given the captaincy, and was the youngest-ever captain of the Proteas at the time of his appointment. However, his time as the skipper of the side saw South Africa‘s rise as one of the most dangerous sides in the world, and additionally, Smith’s stature as a batter also grew mutilfolds.
The left-handed batter, who played as an opening batter for the South African side, boasted of an average of 48.25 in the longest format of the game, scoring 9,265 runs in 117 Tests. In 197 ODIs, Smith scored 6,989 runs. However, there was one bowler who continued to trouble the South African great throughout his playing career – India’s Zaheer Khan.
Zaheer dismissed the former South Africa skipper on 14 occasions in 27 encounters in international cricket, and Smith opened up on the Indian pacer during a conversation for cricket.com.
“Zaheer was one of the skillful bowlers I’ve faced, especially to left-handers. He got the ball to swing away and had a great change of pace. He bowled well with the reverse-swinging ball. He was someone against whom you would always want to be on your guard,” Smith said.
“He certainly got the better of me on a couple of occasions! But yes, he was certainly one of the most skillful bowlers in my entire career, of all who I have faced,” the former South African skipper added.
“There are a number of players coming up in the Indian cricket circuit who are prepared to lead.
Smith announced his retirement from international cricket in 2014 at the age of 33. He is presently the director of cricket for the South Africa men’s national team.