'Most successful captain in Test history is the perfect man to take Proteas forward,' says Cricket South Africa's chief executive
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith is the ideal candidate for the role of director of cricket for the home series against England that starts later this month, according to acting Cricket South Africa (CAS) chief executive Jacques Faul.
CSA announced the interim appointment of Smith on Wednesday and he will stay in the role for a three-month period up until the Indian Premier League.
Faul has told Reuters in an exclusive interview that he believes the most successful captain in Test history is the perfect man to move them forward on the pitch after a turbulent few months.
Smith, who publicly expressed reservations about taking the position amid governance concerns at CSA, will not commit on paper beyond the IPL, but Faul, who has been tasked with steadying the organisation, is confident he will stay on once the recent chaos that has engulfed CSA dissipates.
“You can’t blame him for feeling this way,” Faul said.
“There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment, but the intention is definitely to go beyond the next few months. I think he wants to see the stability return (to CSA) first.
“He is someone who has a lot of credibility and an excellent reputation ... but if he is happy then I think he will definitely be willing to give it a go longer-term.”
CSA has been beset with accusations of poor governance that led to the suspension of chief executive Thabang Moroe, the resignation of four independent board members and criticism from sponsors.
Faul said Smith, who captained South Africa in 108 Tests, will drive the team’s on-field performance and ticks every box.
“What we need with Graeme is a hardened international cricketer to guide us. He is also a natural leader, people look up to him, he is decisive in decision-making, a credible person and is assertive.
“If you were to profile the ideal candidate to get the team back on the right road, it would be Graeme.”
Smith will seek in the new role to turn around the fortunes of an ailing side, who have lost their last five Tests in a row to Sri Lanka and India, two of which were by an innings.
He will announce his coaching structure and support staff for the England tour on Saturday, ahead of the first of Four Tests that starts on Dec. 26.