Graeme Smith became the youngest ever South African cricket captain at the tender age of 22, taking over the captaincy reigns from Shaun Pollock. Today, he has matured into one of the best captains in the world of cricket.
Born and raised in Johannesburg to parents Graham and Janet, Graeme was educated at King Edward VII School. He played three Under-19s tests and seven one-day internationals for South Africa Under-19s, of which five were during the Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
His illustrious cricket career includes playing for South Africa (captain since 2003), Nashua Cape Cobras, Somerset and the Rajasthan Royals. He made his test and ODI debuts in 2002 against Australia and has since played 77 tests and 141 ODIs for South Africa. Graeme led the team to their most successful year post-isolation in 2008, with away test series victories against England and Australia.
In 2009, he led South Africa to a historic test series win in Australia, resulting in him now being referred to as Captain Courageous. He led South Africa to victory in eight out of 12 Test matches – two were drawn and two were lost – against Pakistan, New Zealand, the West Indies, Bangladesh and India, won 16 out of 19 ODIs against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, New Zealand, the West Indies and Bangladesh and won six out of eight T20/Pro20s.
In the process South Africa regained the No 1 Reliance Mobile ICC ODI ranking from Australia while Graeme was personally ranked as the No 1 ODI batsman in the world.
Apart from the No 1 ODI ranking he achieved a whole succession of individual landmarks. These included 5 000 runs in both Test match and ODI cricket and, as he had done when he reached 4 000 Test runs, he was the second youngest to this milestone after Sachin Tendulkar.
Graeme also put an end to a spell without a Test century that had stretched from the West Indies series in April, 2005, by scoring Test centuries against Pakistan, the West Indies and Bangladesh. It took his total of Test centuries to 15 – the one against Pakistan at Lahore was his first on the sub-continent.
He was awarded Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2004 and is the current SA Cricketer of the Year in 2009. Graeme has just released his first book, The Captain’s Diary.
• Has captained South Africa since he was appointed at the age of 22 in April 2003.
• His score of 259 (in a Test match v England in 2003) is the highest by a foreign player at Lord’s.
• Scored 443 runs at an average of 49.22 and a strike-rate of 104.48 at the ICC CWC 2007, scoring five half centuries.
• Is a champion for the ICC’s Think Wise partnership.