Smith will boost SA cricket: Selector

Graeme Smith will take the game forward and learn from his mistakes despite being reprimanded for his recent conduct, chief selector Omar Henry said.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2003 18:12 IST

South Africa's youngest ever captain Graeme Smith will take the game forward and learn from his mistakes despite being reprimanded for his recent conduct, chief selector Omar Henry said Sunday.

"After the World Cup it was a very difficult decision to appoint a young captain like Smith but the characteristics of the young man, fortunately spotted and backed up by everyone, led to the decision," Henry told AFP.

"He (Smith) knows as well as we know that he will make mistakes but learn and he is the man to take South African cricket forward," said Henry, who played three Tests and as many one-day matches in early 1990s.

The South African captain was Saturday banned for one one-day match and fined 50 per cent of his match fee for breaching the International Cricket Council code of conduct after he was found using abusive language during an incident in the second match in the eastern city of Lahore last week.

"It is about learning and no one walks into international cricket and... becomes an icon straightway. Smith made a mistake and he would learn from it," said Henry, who feels South Africa has put its World Cup misfortunes behind it.

South African cricket suffered a big jolt after their first round exit from this year's World Cup after entering the event as one of the top favourites.

Shaun Pollock was relieved of the captaincy and a 22-year-old Smith was given the reins to initiate a rebuilding phase.

"Not progressing beyond the first round was a bitter pill to swallow but in the end we had to look into the future and that's (what) we did and are moving forward," said the selector.

Since April the Proteas have won both the Tests in Bangladesh, finished runners-up in one-day tournaments in Bangladesh and England and squared a five-match Test series 2-2 against England.

"It was never easy to tell a player of Pollock's calibre, possibly one of the best all-rounders these days, that he is replaced but he is moving forward and playing a vital role," said Henry, who also faced criticism for ignoring all-rounder Lance Klusener.

Klusener has filed a case against the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) with a labour committee for unfair dismissal after his exclusion from the team following the World Cup. The case will be heard next month.

The former all-rounder is also threatening to sue Smith for calling him a "disruptive element." Smith made the remarks before leaving for a tour of England in June.

"Klusener knows where he stands for us, it's entirely up to him and unfortunately I can't comment on the matter more since it's a case now," Henry said.

First Published: Oct 12, 2003 18:12 IST