On 7 January 2009, Graeme Smith gripped the heart of a nation even though he could barely grip his bat.
His glove was remodelled to accommodate a badly swollen hand, his Test whites borrowed from team-mates, his kit strapped and slipped into place by Morné Morkel. No painkillers. No protective padding to reinforce the finger against the threat of another blow. Just a man who would rely on his technique and instinct to survive the final 8.2 overs of a series his side had already won.
In the new issue of SA Cricket magazine, on sale Wednesday, Smith talks about that memorable episode, the Australian tour in general, and his remarkable turnaround from unloved captain to national hero.
Also in the new issue:
– When Mickey Arthur was appointed as Proteas coach in 2005, he inherited a Test team that was ranked sixth in the world. ‘The man with a plan’ explains how he turned things around and why the best is still to come.
– Jacques Kallis is statistically the greatest all-rounder in the history of the game. In an SA Cricket magazine exclusive, Shaun Pollock pays a moving tribute to his former team-mate by charting his rise from a talented Western Province kid to the international superstar of today. Kallis also chats to us about his international career and reveals his top-five Test knocks, while three experts – Daryll Cullinan, Allan Donald and Ray Jennings – explain exactly what makes him such a special player.
– Paul Harris played a vital role in South Africa’s Test series win Down Under. The spinner explains how he feels about being underrated by the opposition and the media, what the Proteas did on the night of their Test series win in Australia, why Mark Boucher is so vital to the team, and the threat posed by Pakistani-born spinner Imran Tahir
– Having had a taste of international cricket in Australia, Lonwabo Tsotsobe is hungry for more.
– The Proteas made history this summer when they won a Test series in Australia, but how close have South African teams come in the past? SA Cricket magazine goes in search of those who just missed out.
– Kevin Pietersen has made a habit of responding strongly to setbacks. Expect him to do the same following the recent controversy which saw him stripped of the England captaincy.
– There has been plenty of speculation over Rahul Dravid’s future in India’s Test line-up, with many believing he should follow the example of Sourav Ganguly and retire. However, the journey, according to the man himself, isn’t quite finished.
– Mitchell Johnson staked his claim as Australia’s pace spearhead this summer, and he has no intention of relinquishing that role.
– Michael Clarke’s contribution with the bat was one of the few positives Australia took out of their home Test series defeat to the Proteas. The vice-captain tells australia’s inside cricket magazine why his individual success means nothing when the team is losing, and what the Aussies must do in order to turn things around in South Africa.
– Roelof van der Merwe’s brilliant performances with the ball in local domestic cricket earned him a place on the shortlist for the IPL auction and put him in contention for the Proteas’ limited-overs squad.
– In a rare interview, former Proteas all-rounder Lance Klusener chats about beach cricket, his international career, the future of T20, hitting batsmen on the head and why sledging is an important part of the game.