Graeme Smith's blog

Posted on/at 7:44 AM by The Cricket Corollary

SA's final ICC Match

Graeme Smith

It’s not pleasant having to explain and deal with another early exit from an ICC event just three months after the T20 disappointment in England but we have to deal with whatever life throws at us and move forward in a positive frame of mind.

There are reasons for our failure to reach the semi finals of the Champions Trophy but there are no excuses. We weren’t good enough over three games and we accept that. It hurts – it hurts a lot – but it’s happened and we have to do everything in our power to improve and make sure we are contenders in the next T20 World Championship in the West Indies next year and also at the 2011 World Cup on the subcontinent.

We always knew that our schedule might be a problem coming into this tournament because we had not played any hard, international cricket for over two months but we did everything we could to prepare and overcome that. We had two hard training camps and played warm-up matches but there simply is no substitute for the real thing.

Bowlers take longer than batsmen to shake off the rust and get back into the rhythm and we conceded over 300 in two of the games as a result. I’m proud of the way we chased a huge score against England but would have been a lot prouder if we had managed to get over the line.

I was a bit surprised and disappointed that Andrew Strauss refused to let me have a runner for the final five overs when I was suffering from cramp but that is something he will live with. The world is round which means things come back to you.

The inconsistency of the runner situation is a problem. Sometimes the runner is allowed and sometimes not. Most captains agree to a runner in that situation but Andrew decided to stick to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Once again, it is not an excuse and I am not saying it would have made the difference.

As much as we have ourselves to blame and can look at the things we did wrong, or poorly, we have to pay due credit to Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood for the way they laid the platform for Eion Morgan who played some audacious shots which probably took the game away from us. England played superbly and deserve credit far more than we deserve criticism.

Sri Lanka are also one of the best one-day sides in the world and they, too, have been eliminated before the semi finals. Anything can happen in a sprint format like this involving the best teams in the world. India are also under pressure to qualify which means that the three ‘favourite’ teams could all miss the semis.

We have a lot of domestic cricket to play before England come back in November and I expect us all to be battle-hardened and ready to do justice to our status in both forms of the game. We had high expectations for the Champions Trophy but we have not lived up to them. The challenge now is to use the pain of defeat and disappointment as a tool to inspire an even more determined drive to win and consolidate our position at the top of world cricket.

I am deeply sorry for all those supporters who hoped and believed we would do it this time, but please don’t think for a moment that we won’t get the job done. We still strongly believe in our ability as individuals and our ability to win as a team. We will get the job done.


Anonymous said...

More hollow words Smith. Don't say, just do! It's time for you to perform, not just talk about it.

Cricket lover said...

Platitudes of nonsense Smiff. You can't perform so you make excuses.

Anonymous said...

Graeme Smith is a LEGEND!!

Anonymous said...

and a brilliant captain!

Anonymous said...

I just hope no one panics... this is the team that got us the number one ranking... it didn't happen by accident. Keep the team & management as it is.

annoymous said...

Anon, If Smith is such a brillant captain, than how come he has captained in six ICC tournaments and failed to win one trophy. He will never be a great captain, he is not creative enough on the field, and he has really showed his arrogant streak by constanly going on about the Strauss issue, he is to childish and arrogant to ever make a good captain. It is a shame because I do think this is SA golden generation with talent like Roelf, steyn, parney and Ab, unfortuantly Smith is to self obsessed and arrogant to make use of them. we will never win with him as captain.

annoymous said...

Why does Smith always have to sound so arrogant.

Pommy said...

I think Smith is the most arrogant I have ever come across in world cricket. He is self-absorbed and not team-oriented. He does not have an ounce of humility. And he lacks courage under fire, unlike Strauss.