Graeme Smith still leaves door ajar for Proteas return

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Graeme Smith still leaves door ajar for Proteas return
Graeme Smith signing autographs after the Press conference.

Dubai - Smith, who walked away two years ago following South Africa's 2-1 series loss to Australia in Cape Town, had admitted then that he had probably called it a day, a tad early and had said that he was itching to get back.

By James Jose

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Published: Tue 26 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 27 Jan 2016, 10:01 AM

 For 89 of these men, the first ever Masters Champions League (MCL) is a great opportunity to get back to the game they love, rediscover that competitive edge and have a bit of fun along the way, after having hung up their boots.
But for one man among these array of stars and legends, the MCL could possibly be a pathway back to international cricket.
South Africa's Graeme Smith, the most successful captain in Test cricket, had hinted during the MCL auction in December last year that he was pondering a return to international cricket, after seeing the Proteas being bested by India in the Test series.
Smith, who walked away two years ago following South Africa's 2-1 series loss to Australia in Cape Town, had admitted then that he had probably called it a day, a tad early and had said that he was itching to get back.
The 34-year-old had also added that he would have liked to have featured in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as well as the home series against England in the summer.
And even though South Africa found an able opening batsman in Stephen Cook, who scored a century on Test debut at the age of 33 against England, Smith, an opener himself, left the door ajar for a possible comeback.
"I was waiting for that question but I didn't really prepare an answer to that question," Smith said on Tuesday.
"I guess my answer hasn't changed. I'm obviously happy with where I am in life but if the tournament does go well and if I do enjoy it again and if I feel like I can play then I will consider it. But, I think, right now, that it will be a brave answer for me to say yes," he added.
Smith, who racked up 53 Test wins as skipper during his 11-year stint, will captain the Virgo Super Kings in the MCL, which rolls from Thursday.
Smith will see how things pan out during the MCL before taking a call on returning to the international fold. South Africa suffered a series loss to England, a result which also saw them being dethroned from the No.1 spot in the Test rankings.
Hashim Amla quit the captaincy mid-way through the series to concentrate on his batting while incumbent AB de Villiers is pondering walking away from Tests after being dismissed by England pacer James Anderson for a third successive duck.
A return would be ideal for South Africa but for now, Smith's focus and thoughts are on the MCL.
"I'm excited about the challenge and obviously looking forward to playing again, I think all of us are. I think we got a nice composition and certainly on the bowling side, we have enough spin options, we got some good pace bowling options, couple of all-rounders or so. I think probably the challenge is going to be to post good totals and hopefully our batters will find some form early on in the tournament," said Smith.
The Virgo Super Kings squad consists of compatriot and one of the best fielders of all-time Jonty Rhodes as well as Aussie pace ace Brett Lee, England's Owais Shah, New Zealand's Jacob Oram and India's Murali Kartik.
And Smith said that with the squad that he has, he was targeting a semifinal berth. "Obviously, I'm going to back my guys. It is always difficult to know how you are going to go but we obviously want to do well. I guess the objective is to get into the semifinal. That's the main objective and then see it on from there," he said.
james@khaleejtimes.com 

SP260116-SK-MCLGraeme Smith signing autograph on cap after the press conference in Masters Champions League 2016 at Dubai on Tuesday. 26 January,2016. Photo by Shihab
SP260116-SK-MCLGraeme Smith signing autograph on cap after the press conference in Masters Champions League 2016 at Dubai on Tuesday. 26 January,2016. Photo by Shihab

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