Graeme Smith is hailed as one of the best captain to lead the South Africa cricket team. Smith was appointed as the captain of the team at a tender age of just 22 after playing just 8 test and 22 ODI. However the recent allegations by former South African cricketer – Thami Tsolekile left Graeme Smith disappointed and hurt.
Former South African wicketkeeper – Tsolekile criticised Graeme Smith for not backing him enough during their playing days. Cricket South Africa’s Director of Cricket – Graeme Smith denied all allegations during his time as captain over team selection.
Tsolekile, who was banned for 12 years for involvement in match fixing in 2015, criticised Smith for not providing enough opportunities to him. Tsolekile also alleged that CSA was trying to protect other wrongdoers.
Grame Smith responded to all the allegations in along tweet stating:
“Thami Tsolekile was my captain at South Africa schools junior level. I have never had an issue with him as a person and he has never borne out the frustrations of his international career on a personal level.”
Along with Tsolekile playing career, South Africa had the luxury of having Current Head Coach – Mark Boucher as the wicketkeeper. Tsolekile who was fighting for the wicketkeeper-batsman spot in the team couldn’t get enough opportunities because of the excellencey of Mark Boucher. Adding to his response, Graeme Smith mentioned:
“The allegations and insinuations that have been made are extremely hurtful and I deny them in the strongest possible sense.”
“I can understand how frustrating that must have been, and there have been several other excellent wicket-keepers that South African cricket never saw on an international stage, because keepers tend to stay in a team for long periods of time.”
Klusener, Pollock and Ntini were also ushered out to take the team in new direction – Smith
Adding further, South Africa’s most successful captain ever – Smith added that since Tsolekile was fighting only for one specialist spot which is difficult to replace easily. Smith cited examples of former South African greats – Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Makhaya Ntini, who were also ushered out of the test team.
Graeme Smith added that when it was decided to take the team in a new direction, there were emotional discussions with great players before ushering them out. Smith said:
“Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock can attest to this, and there were very emotional discussions because they are both legends of our cricket history. Shaun was ushered out of the Test team in a similar manner to Makhaya Ntini, when he felt he could have still done a job.”
“It is easier to shift bowlers and batters around to suit the needs of a team, but some positions are specialist. Unfortunately, Thami was a wicket-keeper, which meant he was always only fighting for one position.”
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