Graeme Smith has said he did not develop the necessary confidence that he would be given the level of freedom and support to initiate the required changes. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
South Africa have undergone a horrendous period in 2019. They lost a Test series at home against Sri Lanka for the first time and they were eliminated in the league stages of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Things got even worse for South Africa as they were whitewashed 3-0 for the first time on their recent tour of India. The deteriorating situation has called for major reforms in Cricket South Africa regarding coaching structure and administration with the Director of Cricket one of the major requirements. Initially, it was speculated that Graeme Smith, one of the best captains and the most successful for South Africa, would be appointed as the Director of Cricket but now, the former left-handed opening batsman has withdrawn from the race to become CSA Director of Cricket. Smith gave the reason on his Twitter account as to why he withdrew from the race.
"I would love to have taken on the role. However, despite my obvious desire to make a difference, during the long and, at times, frustrating process over the last 10 or so weeks of discussions, I have not developed the necessary confidence that I would be given the level of freedom and support to initiate the required changes. I give my heartfelt best wishes to whomever does take the role on. I will continue to support the teams and give my advice and guidance whenever I can," Smith wrote.
South African cricket has been mired in turmoil also because of a controversial quota system in selection, which mandates that some slots be set aside specifically for players of colour. One of South Africa's most successful captains and batsman, Smith scored 9,265 runs in 117 Tests, including 27 hundreds and said he appeared for interviews for the position of Director of Cricket but has decided to withdraw now. There has been an attempt in overhauling the administrative set-up following the World Cup ouster and the team is currently being coached by interim appointment Enoch Nokwe after the sacking of Ottis Gibson.
Smith is the only skipper in Test history to have captained the side in over 100 Tests and he has the most wins with 53. Recently, Smith was bestowed with another honour as he was elected as a honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The official handle of the MCC tweeted, "MCC has today announced the election of @OfficialCSA legend @GraemeSmith49 as an Honorary Life Member of the Club." To this, Smith responded, "Thank you @HomeOfCricket and the MCC for this incredible honour. I have so many amazing memories there and I'm excited to share more with you in the future."
Former Australian off-spinner Tim May was also awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition of his outstanding achievements in cricket. The pair follow Paul Collingwood, AB de Villiers, Mitchell Johnson and Adrian Morgan in being awarded Honorary Life Membership of MCC this year.