AB must take reins, says Arthur

2014-03-05 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — AB de Villiers is definitely the man who will now also in Test cricket take over the reins from Gra­eme Smith, said former Proteas coach Mickey Arthur.

In his term as Proteas coach, Arthur and Smith beat the world. Arthur said he had noticed in the third day of the Test against Australia at Newlands that all was not well from Smith’s body language.

He was still thinking about Smith later that night, but he only heard the news about the national cricket captain’s retirement when he got up the next morning. He then sent Smith a text message.

Emotions ran high when Smith on Monday announced in the change room that he would stop playing all formats of cricket.

Arthur agreed that Smith’s personal life and other priorities had played a role in his decision. “He also now has children, which makes [touring] a big sacrifice.”

In his statement, 33-year-old Smith also mentioned that he had started thinking about retiring when he suffered an ankle injury last year.

Arthur said that although it is a good time to retire from Smith’s position, it was a pity that this followed so soon after Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from Test cricket. Kallis announced his retirement during the previous series against India.

“It leaves a huge void. Not just regarding talent, but they had a lot of experience. And experience is not something that you can replace easily.”

Arthur said he saw this when the former Australian captain Ricky Ponting had retired.

“But all good things come to an end, it is only a pity it is so soon after Kallis.”

Arthur said players like De Villiers and Hashim Amla will step into the breach.

• Arthur is currently involved as development official with the Western Force rugby team in Perth, but may be scouting at the Craven Week rugby tournament in Middelburg later this year.

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