Proteas legends hail 'unrivalled' Test captain Smith following retirement announcement

Graeme SmithJohannesburg, Mar 5  : Former South African stars have reportedly hailed current Test captain Graeme Smith, who recently announced his intention to retire from international cricket after the Newlands Test against Australia.

Smith's late Monday announcement caught South African cricket off guard after saying only three days before that he still had international cricket goals to achieve.

According to Sport24, former captains Kepler Wessels and Shaun Pollock have hailed Smith, saying that even though the captain is not the most technically gifted batsman, his leadership and fighting qualities were unrivalled.

Wessels also said that Smith believes he has done what he can for the team, adding that he was a master at getting the best out of his team, and at batting for long periods under relentless pressure.

Pollock, who is commentating on the Australia Test with Wessels and retired wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, said Smith stood out from since he came into the team aged 22, adding that he backed up his positive attitude and big physique with good performances and led from the front like all great sporting captains.

Boucher, forced to quit two years ago because of an eye injury, said Smith is a fighter and possessed rare enthusiasm and a will-to-win passion second to none, adding that he achieved his goal to make South Africa the No. 1 Test nation and keep it at the top.

Herschelle Gibbs, who shared in three of South Africa's four opening partnerships of more than 300 runs with Smith, also paid tribute, saying that although Smith's retirement is premature, he was a natural captain as he always played the game with a lot of heart and grit. (ANI)