Former Test captain Graeme Smith on Wednesday agreed to become Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket – but only in an acting dimension.
In a brief statement, CSA said it had reached a contract with Smith for a three-month nomination until the start of the next season of the Indian Premier League, which is anticipated to start in March.
The declaration came 15 days before the first of four Test matches against England, starting in Centurion on December 26.
Smith’s appointment came against a circumstantial of crisis in South African cricket. Chief executive Thabang Moroe was put off on charges of misconduct last week but the board, led by president Chris Nenzani, refused to heed widespread calls to resign.
The South African Cricketers’ Association, which embodies the country’s professional players, on Monday repeated its call for the board to resign. SACA said it was ready to deal with acting chief executive Jacques Faul – but not with any members of the board.
Though Smith’s exact role was not made clear in the statement, he will have to move quickly to appoint a selection panel and coaching staff ahead of the England series.
Smith, 38, captained South Africa in 108 Tests – a world record – between 2003 and his leaving in 2014. He also captained a World XI in a one-off Test against Australia in 2005/06. South Africa won 53 of the matches when he was the captain.
The CSA statement mentioned Faul as being “delighted” that Smith had agreed to terms.
“Obviously Graeme has had his worries during the course of the last few months but I am contented to say we have overcome those worries and I look forward to working with him to immediately address pressing cricket matters.”
Smith told that he had openly told multiple times that he would love to support CSA in this hard time, especially in developing this new role of director of cricket.
He also said that “I’m still obsessive about CSA as I ever was and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the role. There is a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks and my goal will always be to make a positive impact during my tenure.”
Faul added: “Graeme smith is statistically the most successful Test captain in the history of the game. He is a great leader and his knowledge of the game is second to none. To have him on board to work with the proficient cricket arm of CSA, as well as the cricketing pipeline, which is so vivacious for our game, is an enormous shot in the arm for CSA during this period.”