Fans hail captain courageous

Graeme Smith (AFP)
Graeme Smith (AFP)
Cape Town - Plaudits have flooded in from Sport24 readers for Graeme Smith after the Proteas captain announced his plans to retire from cricket.

Smith will end his 347-match international career after the third Test against Australia at Newlands.

Smith broke the news to his team-mates after close of play on Monday.

Smith said it was "the most difficult decision" he had ever made in his life but he felt it was the right one for his young family and for the Proteas moving forward.

Smith made his first-class debut for South Africa at the age of 21, and ends his illustrious career with 17 231 international runs and as the most capped Test captain in the history of the game.

This is what Sport24 readers had to say about Smith:

"To Be Honest I've never been a huge Fan of Smith but let us not forget that he is/was our Best Captain in the New Era of Cricket. Wish you all the best for the Future and thanks for your service to C.S.A. Now just end it with a TON tomorrow pls..." - Ken Alles

"He did the honourable thing!" - Sean Wolf

"The Only people I know that dislike Smith are those with personal issues of their own. He has a strong personality and therefore is a leader….sorry if you feel threatened by that buddy! His stat’s and achievements talk for themselves." - Diggers DS

"Show me a captain that has achieved more?" - Dingbat

"He deserves our respect and gratitude for the time he has spent and what he's achieved." - DDS

"He has given everything for SA cricket including taking us to #1 in the world. He is rated as the best captain in world cricket, with an incredible record. I for one will miss you Graeme, and wish you all the best in your future wherever that takes you. Respect." - Travie Grif

"He played his part, good timing, and let's not lie, he has been an exceptional player for most part of his career." - Paul Vuma

"What a surprise! With this step, I think he has closed one of the greatest careers with one of his best leadership decisions. He is stepping down at just the right time - bearing both the team's and his own well-being in mind. Much will be said about his amazing career - and some will still be small-minded enough to throw some mud that won't stick for long. Suffice to say that he has provided a fantastic legacy of leadership, tenacity, growth and just enough humility to make any nation respectful and appreciative and any team proud! Whatever comments can be made while analysing his record and his actions, he always did his best to do the best with who he is, who he was and what he had been given. Go well, Mr Smith!" - Alister Duminy

"Beautiful comment Alister, he was a great captain and a wonderful player to watch. His leadership is shown once more by this decision. What a great man. South Africa has indeed been fortunate to have had such a sportsman. Go we'll Graham, and thanks for all the wonderful cricket." - Craig King

"Graeme, initially I didn't like you, but you were exactly the kind of captain SA needed. A tough, uncompromising, in your face captain who led from the front. You did a lot for SA cricket, and I am truly grateful. I will miss your back-to-the-wall centuries, but I respect your decision. Go well!!" - Staalburger

"I didn't like him at first and probably still wouldn't want to be friends with him, but he won my respect and even more so now when he recognised the right time to retire. Go well, captain my captain." - Skrap Nel

"Major loss for SA cricket. Smith had his problems. ..but often when the chips were down and he was at the crease you always knew we had a chance. He is too young to retire from Test cricket. Too bad too many people slagged off him and Kallis. Now SA will truly feel their Loss!" - Moses Govender

"Devastating to read these sad news. Smith has been a true fighter and gave his all for his country. He is the reason i fell in love with Cricket. A true leader and great inspiration to all. The best SA captain ever! SA has lost a legend today. All the best in the future Biff. You'll always be a Legend." - Ayanda Shaka Sokhela

"Thank you Graeme Smith, for your wonderful years in service of our country. For your great leadership, your courage, your double hundreds, your thousands of runs." - Alfred Joseph

"Sad to hear. Been a hero of mine for ten years. First Kallis, Now You. I can Understand Kallis but you have a good 3 years in you. It's lack of support where it counts in most circles, The SA public have no Idea what they are losing. Sure, You have had a run shortage recently, But I personally think you will go down as the most underrated Captain in History ( By your own fans ).Cheers Mr Smith and thank you for your contribution to the spirit of the game and mostly, Thanks for the entertainment you gave us." - Darren Peach

"Why do SA sports "fans" never appreciate our greats eapecially in cricket? Head over to cricinfo to see how many international and true cricket fans admire Graeme Smith for all his achievements as a Captain since the age of 22. Most runs as an opener after Sunil Gavaskar. Most wins as a test captain. 2nd most runs for SA after Kallis (who also received unfair critisism). Smith will always be our Captain Courageous, np matter what the fake minoroty here are saying." - Shaheen Johnson

"Smith led South Africa through their most successful period in Test history. They have been on an unbeaten run away from home for almost eight years and have not lost at home in five years. He has been in charge of the top batsman, top bowler and leading all-rounder, all at the same time. He has taken them to No.1 in the world and kept there for 19 months. He has been their talisman and their frontman, a frontman in every way including the literal, opening the batting in difficult conditions and averaging almost 50 as he approaches the end. Anyone who has a problem with Smith knows nothing about cricket." - Avon Asac

"True legend. Haters gona hate, but 1 thing remains. He is legend." - Nkanyisu

"Best South African captain of all time.... Respect." - Dudley Schalkwijk

"We will miss this guy! Yes he didn't live up to expectations in this series,and I can't understand the sudden decision to retire,but for all he have done for SA cricket,taking us to the summit of test cricket; I SALUTE YOU BIFF!" - Edward Pretorius

"If he played for any other nation there would be an outpouring of grief today." - Derrick Pentz

"Biff you retire as a legend of the game and we salute you and thank you for all you have done for our team. Captain my captain, you saw off a host of international captains, had them crying into their floppy hats and running off to therapists. A hard man, uncompromising and demanding in your quest to make sa number 1 which you did, averaging just below 50 as an opener! What a player, i am seriously saddened we are losing you after this test but will always be grateful we were lucky enough to have you for as long as we did and thanks for not being a lying thieving corrupt heartbreaking scum like Hansie Cronje." - Andrew McDonald

Graeme Smith's departure marks the end of an era for the Proteas. (Gallo Images)
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