Former South African captain Graeme Smith has reiterated that his retirement from international cricket, personally rather than professionally, came at the right time.
Smith played 117 Tests between 2002 and 2014 – and was recently surpassed by the veteran Hashim Amla as South Africa’s second-highest run-scorer in the longest format.
‘I retired young, at 33 – and probably had a good couple of years left in me. I had a very full career, having captained my country since the age of 22. But 11 years in that job does certainly take its toll. Life situations weren’t simple at that stage – getting divorced and my daughter got burnt with hot water,’ Smith told Rayder Media.
‘I think the whole situation I was facing was sort of mounting on me with the emotional and mental stress I was under. We had built that environment into a very successful one through time with [former coaches] Mickey Arthur and Gary Kirsten – and we were a very high-performing team.
‘When [former coach] Russell Domingo [came in], I just honestly didn’t have the energy to go back 10 steps and start all over again. He was a very inexperienced coach. There were a lot of things happening that you just moved away from. It all culminated in a situation where the timing was right and I decided to walk away from the game.
‘I have no regrets. I look back – it was an incredible time when things were created and I was able to achieve things. I’m pretty proud and I don’t find myself pondering on a daily basis about the “what ifs”. I just keep remembering the magnificent times I was fortunate to have in South African cricket.
The 38-year-old Smith has since forged a career as a television commentator – and is currently in the United Arab Emirates for the Pakistan Super League.