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Cronje era is history: Smith

South Africa's new skipper Graeme Smith says they have to look ahead and forget the time when Hansie Cronje was captain.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2003 16:57 IST

South Africa's new skipper Graeme Smith on Wednesday said they had to look ahead and forget the time when Hansie Cronje was captain of their national team.

"I never played with Cronje and so have no memories of him. That age is over," said Smith, having a jab at players who had spoken highly of the late disgraced Cronje during this year's World Cup.

Star batsman Herschelle Gibbs had praised Cronje's captaincy at the beginning of the tournament, while Jonty Rhodes had decided to dedicate their World Cup campaign to the former captain, banned for life for his part in a bribery scandal before his death in a plane crash last year.

South Africa, who were then led by all-rounder Shaun Pollock, were knocked out in the first round.

Rhodes himself could play no part in trying to raise the team's fortunes as he was ruled out because of an injury and subsequently announced retirement.

"We are looking forward to a new era," said Smith, who replaced Pollock as captain despite the experience of just eight Test matches and 22 one-day internationals.

"My first event as captain was to be the Sharjah Cup but as we withdrew from there, my stint begins now," said 22-year-old Smith, who only made it to the World Cup squad as a replacement for Rhodes.

Pollock had last month blamed the legacy of disgraced former skipper Cronje for his sacking.

"Ever since the Hansie issue there's been an effort to make sure the captain wasn't given too much power and shared responsibilty was the approach they wanted," Pollock had said.

Cronje, who was killed in a plane crash last year, received a life ban from cricket in 2000 after being found guilty of corruption charges.

First Published: Apr 09, 2003 19:15 IST