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Last Updated:  Saturday, 15 March, 2003, 17:35 GMT
Is Smith the right choice?
Graeme Smith has been awarded the South African captaincy following the sacking of Shaun Pollock.

Has the correct decision been made?

South Africa exited the World Cup after Pollock miscalculated the number of runs his side needed to win in the rain-affected match against Sri Lanka.

The gaffe was to spell curtains for Pollock's captaincy - and the United Cricket Board of South Africa swiftly handed the armband to Graeme Smith.

At just 22 years and 43 days old, Smith becomes the youngest-ever captain of South Africa.

He will lead a new-look team on their forthcoming tours to Sharjah and Bangladesh, with six players from the World Cup squad being left out.

Is Smith the right man for the job? And are you optimistic for the future of South African cricket?

Have Your Say using the form on the right-hand side of the page.


It is a good move by the South African cricket board. It is time to groom someone young to lead them to the 2007 WC. I am afraid to say it, but the captaincy of Shaun Pollock was insipid and uninspiring. Way to go!
Viv, UK

I think it is ridiculous to sack Pollock just because the entire team was in bad form. The amount of dropped catches could have changed the outcome, and the poor bowling by the backup bowlers; but I think Pollock did a good job.

He bowled and batted well. He just never had a lot of support from other players like he has been used to in the past. But let's give Graeme a chance and see if we can now pull a victory.
Grant Bez, South Africa

Shaun Pollock is a brilliant player, but such players often make mediocre captains. It simply isn't good enough to trot out the line that "if Mark Boucher had scored one more run...". It was primarily Pollock's responsibility to ensure that his players knew the right target.

This is the biggest gamble that world cricket has seen in recent times
Bobby Abraham, Switzerland

SA have declined as a force in world cricket since Cronje's departure - the team is ageing, and the dispute about player quotas has been disruptive. Everyone knows that SA's position as number one Test nation is a result of series wins v Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and that the Aussies are vastly superior.

The Board have obviously seen something in Graeme Smith they like, but he does seem very inexperienced, and has apparently never played international cricket overseas.

I'm not sure why Mark Boucher wasn't given the captaincy at this stage, with Smith being borne in mind for later if he becomes a regular in the team.
Roy Pinney, UK

This is the biggest gamble that world cricket has seen in recent times. Graeme Smith has not played outside South Africa and never captained a side until now. Is this start of the end of South African cricket? Graeme Smith is not a good choice at all at this very young age, South Africa should have continued with Shaun Pollock.
Bobby Abraham, Switzerland

At the moment, nobody knows how Smith is going to perform. He is young, energetic and a capable batsman. I feel he is not a bad choice, and will wait and see how he is going to stand his team at Sharja.
Kulan, Canada

Polly was a great captain. His miscalculation possibly caused the downfall of SA in the match against SL. He might have been cut for that reason, as well as the fact that there had to be a scapegoat for SA's dismal performance.

There has to be more than a change of captaincy
Philip P, The Netherlands

Boucher is the best batting wicket-keeper in SA, he's saved SA from defeat on many an occasion and he was the vice-captain. Boucher was the obvious pick. Despite his blunders he had the experience, and leadership qualities fit for a captain.

The Smith era will either be very long or very short. It is a serious gamble that can cause the loss of a talented batsmen, not to mention a young prodigy.
Brook, WI

Pollock was definitely not the villain of the piece. That role has to be played by the inept selectors and an inneffective UCB.
Patrick Harker, South Africa

There has to be more than a change of captaincy: there needs to be a change of attitude in the SA team. Smith will be a great leader and (hopefully) in combination with the likes of MacKenzie and Boucher there are some real fighters in the side.

This is what is needed in modern cricket. Look at England without Darren Gough. Smithy needs the right support now. He will not be captaining this side alone and will need the expertise of Pollock, Kallis, Gibbs and Ntini as the senior players.

But let's give them time. It is said so often in South African sport that "we are in a rebuilding phase". Get the young blood in. Smith as captain in a top order with Jacques Rudolph, Kallis and Gibbs.

Get Mfuneko Ngam and Monde Zondeki fit. These youngsters are the future of SA cricket. Cronje was guilty of activities that did a lot of damage to the international game, but he was a very good captain.

Smith will become one of our greatest ever
Gavin Arends, South Africa

How old was he when he started captaining Free State? Maybe Smithy could have done with more time captaining the A side, but he is simply too valuable to be left out of the Test side. Good luck to him and his charges.
Philip P, The Netherlands

To understand the boundaries of a team's capabilities, you need to explore them. As a captain, Pollock never did this. Very predictable, conservative, and scared to really romp to a victory, or be blown out in defeat.
Neil, RSA

Graeme Smith is without a doubt the right man for the job. In fact, I, and many others in our country called it long before the start of the World Cup.

Pollock, great a player as he is, is just not the right man as captain. I am of the opinion that if there is one South African who would fit into the current Aussie line-up, both mentally and as a player, it would be Smitty. Smith will become one of our greatest ever.
Gavin Arends, South Africa

Who is he?
Rabia, Canada

I think sacking Pollock is a rash decision. Pollock is a class player and to treat him this way is pathetic. Smith may have what it takes but he does not have the experience to lead the team.
Ehsan, USA

Appointing a new captain is a good idea. I think Pollock was struggling with the captaincy. However, I would much rather have preferred the sacking of Sonn and all his mates in the UCBSA.

It needs someone who can bring some spring in their feet
Ashok Ramakrishnan, India

Moreover, if I could really have everything I wanted then it would be excellent to see Balfour (the Sports Minister) also being sacked. He created the ridiculous politically charged mediocrity that allows bungling administrators to prosper.
Matthew Tattersall, South African living in London

Smith is a natural leader. Before the World Cup, he led the western province side that beat the Proteas in a WC warm-up game - that says a lot about his ability to captain. He's the best man for the job.
Nic, South Africa

South Africa looks a very dull team. It needs someone who can bring some spring in their feet; Smith looks the right person for the job.
Ashok Ramakrishnan, India

He should have resigned and salvaged some pride. His poor captaincy showed. The captain is responsible for the team's over rate. This cost SA the match against the West Indies.

Also, too many wides and no-balls were bowled throughout the CWC. Pollock should have spoken to his troops. This increased the opponents' scores in virtually all the matches.

Donald and Kallis were out of form, but should have been instructed not to bowl out the opposition, but to keep the runs down by disciplines line and length bowling. Should one really comment on the D/L misunderstanding? This was utterly ridiculous.
Let's just see how he performs before criticising the decision
Boris Forey, Australia

Having said this, Pollock assumed captaincy in difficult circumstances and was prepared to accept the job before he was ready for it. Another reason for SA's failure in the CWC is the political issues regarding the selection. Yes, Donald was out of sorts, but there was no proven backup in the fast bowling department due to politics. SA should have had an Elworthy there to replace Donald.
Bennie, UK

South Africa has talented sportsman but what we don't seem to have is intelligent officials in the administration of the sport. To appoint a player (who is very good batsman no doubt) but who wasn't even initially considered for the World Cup side seems like a bit of a desperate action to me (also considering he hasn't captained even a provincial side).

The question that they should have asked themselves before the decision was made was; is there a player who is obviously more capable than Shaun Pollock, rather than burning the bridges and then wondering how to cross the river. Pollock was a good captain.
Jacques, South Africa

South African cricket is undoubtedly due for some change, and why not do that with a new captain and a new-look team. I think Smith will surprise his critics, let's just see how he performs before criticising the decision to make him captain.
Boris Forey, Australia

Was it correct to replace Pollock? Probably, yes! The World Cup campaign was a disaster, Donald failing, poor bowling and fielding!

Pollock's fault? Definitely not; he was appointed after Cronje by Ali Bacher, a toady to the political powers-that-be. Pollock never had the means to mould the side in his image as Cronje and the great Clive Rice did.

He got political appointees, and did the best he could, and a very good best it was. But if that is how SA cricket is to be run, then he is not the man for the job. The sad part is, I don't think that man has or will ever exist.

Kallis would have been the right choice
Zahid, Pakistan

Politics in sport didn't work in the apartheid era, and it doesn't work now. Are we so shallow that all we concentrate on is the colour of a man's skin, and playing power games.

Thank the Lord I live in Uganda where we truly have a "transparent" population, there isn't any colour. Bad luck Pollock, but you can equate your job with mud wrestling with pigs; you can't win, and the pig enjoys it!
Colin Barnard, Uganda

I think this is the worst decision made by SA. Smith is not at all the right person to lead SA. To me, Kallis would have been the right choice, and a deserving one as well.
Zahid, Pakistan

I think that if Smith is not hampered too much by the governing bodies above him, and if he is supported by his team mates, he will make an excellent skipper. He is a real talent, and by the next World Cup he will be 27, at his peak. I like the way Smith has obvious grit and determination.

Pollock had a rough time, great player, and he gave his all to the captaincy. I don't think he had ideal leadership qualities, and he will contribute more as a senior team member. I think he will be better for having everyone off his back and letting people concentrate on his remarkable skills as a bowler, and as yet unfulfilled potential as a batsman. Thanks for your efforts Pollock! We will cheer even louder for your next wicket!! You deserve some good times now.
Dave, South Africa

This isn't about Pollock; it's about the South African cricket team. It has been sputtering for a while now and needs new leadership. It especially needs leadership that will be around for a while. I think it's a great decision.

It is foolhardy to drop Pollock from the captaincy now
Tom Burridge, UK

Pollock was/is a great player, but I don't believe he was that great a captain. He can't blame others because he found himself in Hansie's shadow. A leader distinguishes himself from his predecessor, he doesn't whine about how his team-mates can't seem to forget a better captain!
Bois, Canada

Shaun Pollock was never going to be Hansie Cronje, and the selectors must have known that when he was appointed as the captain of the side. Cronje, for all his misgivings, was a master tactician, and Pollock never really got to that level.

He did bring a special quality to the captaincy though. He is a great motivator, and a very active member of the team, both in the field and behind the scenes. This meant that the players could get behind him and he could lead by example.

It is this quality that the Proteas need now, after an embarrassing World Cup, so it is foolhardy to drop Pollock from the captaincy now. He does, however bring such quality to the side, and I expect his career to flourish further now.

However, Graeme Smith? He hasn't been in the frame for a long time and has been given the captaincy. I think this is the worst part of the decision to drop Pollock, but we shall see.
Tom Burridge, UK

It has become an awful tradition in cricket of pecking on and sorting out players after big tournaments such as the World Cup.

It's certainly a big mistake to remove Shaun Pollock from the rank of leading South Africa. From whatever experience I have with this game, I think that the SA board will regret this decision.
Tariq Shamsi, Pakistan




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