Smith yet to confirm consulting role with South Africa team

Published 01/02/2016, 1:24 PM EST
South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith runs after a ball after he failed to make a catch during the third day of their test cricket match against Australia in Centurion February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files


By Mark Gleeson

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith said on Saturday an announcement on his rejoining the team in a consulting role to help boost confidence and impart ideas was premature and he was still considering the offer.

Smith worked with some of the under-pressure team’s batsmen on the eve of the second test against England at Newlands after their 241-run defeat in the first test in Durban, where he had been critical of their form in his radio and television analysis. “They are low on confidence,” he said of South Africa’s current batsmen, “and I was asked after Durban to come down and work with them.

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“I’ve since been offered an extended role but it is something I need to consider as I already have commitments. The way it was announced was not right,” he told BBC’s Test Match Special, where the 34-year-old former test opener is serving as a pundit. South Africa’s test side are ranked top in the world but have not won in their last seven tests, hammered in India in November and comprehensively beaten by England in Durban on Wednesday.

“I was trying to find a feel good factor as they are low on confidence,” said Smith of his work on Friday. “If you are out of form you can spend too much time over-analysing and working yourself over mentally.” Smith said it was key South Africa’s top six batsmen share the pressure.

“You’ve got to almost bat for the guy on the other end,” he advised. South Africa captain Hashim Amla on Friday said Smith would be with the team for the rest of the four-test series, which his former skipper has since denied.

“He was a wonderful captain for and he knows more than most guys how to play test cricket and how to deal with tough times,” explained Amla at a media conference at Newlands on Friday. “He had a few crushing defeats early in his career so he is well aware how important it is as a team to reassess and get back to form. That type of experience is invaluable and that’s why we’ve tried to draw on it.”

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com; +27828257807; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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