Graeme Smith to Surrey?

Here’s another cricket related post which unfortunately didn’t get published. I sent it off to Wicket Maiden which in hindsight was a bit of an error as it wasn’t really suited towards their style. They look to entertain the reader in a quite light-hearted manner, yet my article was fairly formal. Through this setback, I have learnt the value of knowing your market as such. You must be prepared to extensively research the website you are trying to write for and gain a knowledge of what they are trying to do. Some websites focus on educating the reader whilst other try and educate and entertain at the same time. This piece (written on 28/09/12) was written after rumors surfaced that Graeme Smith was potentially going to join Surrey. Over a month later, it materialized that he had in fact signed up for three years. I feel this piece is far from my best work.

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With the sun only just set upon another season in the English county cricket, there has been a buzz of excitement as the ‘transfer window’ has opened. By ‘buzz of excitement’, I in fact mean that by now attention in England has turned to the Premier League, the Ryder Cup and the T20 World Cup, and fans have all but forgotten about county cricket. Yet the county scene has woken up in recent days by the rumours surrounding a potential move for South African Test Captain, Graeme Smith, to perhaps the richest club in the country.

2012 has been a tumultuous season for Surrey. After the tragic death of young Welsh star, Tom Maynard, the retirement of veteran batsmen Mark Ramprakash, and the release of former captain, Rory Hamilton-Brown, the club have found themselves having to virtually reconstruct their squad during the off-season.

Reports have emerged that Surrey manager, Chris Adams, has made the South African skipper a lucrative offer to become the leader of a fresh looking side. Chief executive of the club, Richard Gould announced recently that there is money to spend, and surely this proposed coup would take a huge chunk out of their budget.

The benefits for both parties are obvious. In terms of money alone, Smith would almost certainly become the highest paid player on the county circuit. Surrey would be benefitting from arguably the leading captain in the world at present moment, a veteran of 100 test matches with a first-class average of over 50. Already surplus to requirements on the international T20 stage, this move could potentially prematurely end his international career. Surely this won’t be a decision that ‘Biff’ will be taking lightly.

South Africa tour Australia (3 tests only!!!) in November, before returning home in December to play host to New Zealand (2 tests) and Pakistan (3 tests), finishing the South African summer program in March, in time for Smith to make himself available for the beginning of the county cricket program in April.

As recent Test form suggests with two fifties and a hundred (scored at the Oval, perhaps his new home) in his last three tests, Smith is far from a dying force on the international stage. However, with a young family, the commitment to arduous international touring schedules is perhaps too much for the Proteas stalwart. It is rumoured that Surrey have offered the South African colossus three years. Perhaps the guarantee of a long contract with Surrey, at the Oval, with the opportunity to have a period of stability in his home life will be an offer that Graeme Smith will be unable to refuse.

In what state would this leave South African cricket. AB De Villiers would appear a natural replacement to Smith in terms of captaincy, yet is the limited overs skipper ready to fill the boots of such a successful skipper. Smith’s retirement would also leave a huge gap at the top of the Proteas’ batting order which would have to be filled. The effect that the muscly South African opener has had upon the country’s cricket is phenomenal, considering his appointment at such a young age. He has seen a national team develop, culminating in their capture of the World Number 1 prize in August. Should Smith go out of the game on a massive high or will the desire to build a South African legacy, similar to that of the Australians of the 90’s and the West Indies of the 80’s, mean he will resist this enticing offer?

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