South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who last week announced his retirement from international cricket, was influenced by his family in taking the decision, media reported on Sunday. Smith, 33, told the Sunday Times newspaper that he knew he had made the right decision while at the hospital bedside of his 18-month-old daughter, who had suffered burns from hot water.
He says the toddler reached out to him and touched his Proteas badge.
“That’s all she’s known of me really. She sees me on the TV and that was a moment where I realised I’m pretty happy with the decision I’ve made,” he said.
Smith’s daughter, Cadence Christine Smith, who was born in July 2012, was burnt in an accident during the second Test match against Australia in Port Elizabeth last month.
Smith had been with his wife Morgan at his daughter’s bedside at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont shortly before the start of the fourth day’s play of the third and final Test — his last international game.
Cadence went into surgery shortly before 8am and Smith was back at Newlands when Australia resumed their second innings at 10am.
The Proteas captain stunned the cricketing world last Monday when he announced he would quit international cricket at the end of the Test series against Australia. “I’ll have more time to see my children grow and I’ll be mentally more there.”
Smith is the most capped Test captain in the history of the game with 9,262 Test runs at an average of 48.49 with 27 hundreds and 38 half-centuries. He has captained the Proteas for 12 years since the age of 22. “As a captain, even when you are at home your brain is still elsewhere a lot of the time,” he said.
The batsman, who married Irish pop singer Morgan Deane in 2011 also has an Irish citizenship, but says he has no plans of playing for his second country.
“I won’t be picking up a bat for that country. I won’t be playing for Ireland. If am going to play for anyone, it would be the Proteas,” he said.
He said breaking the news of his decision to his team was difficult, and he struggled to get his words out. “After I’d said my piece, I had to get out and get some fresh air because I was a bit of a wreck.”
The skipper said his wife has carrying the load of raising their two young children while he played cricket. “I think of her with the two kids travelling to wherever I am in the world, and making it work. She is a strong woman.”