Surrey’s Graeme Smith looking forward to new challenge
Surrey captain Graeme Smith says he is looking for a new challenge in England after turning down lucrative offers from the IPL
Graeme Smith has revealed that the opportunity to sign a three-year-contract with Surrey and prolong his career outweighed the financial lure of the Indian Premier League.
The South African, who has scored 26 Test centuries, will make his debut for the club on Wednesday, and the left-hander admitted the opportunity to sign for the Lions was an opportunity too good to turn down.
“It is a three-year deal and I think that shows how important it is to me and my career and how much I want to make a success of it,” he said.
The left-hander has represented the Rajasthan Royal and Pune Warriors in the lucrative IPL tournament in recent years but explained he needed a new challenge.
“I feel that I have had a few years of the IPL and, for me personally, I was looking forward to a new challenge,” he added.
“At this stage of my career I didn’t want to have a fast-fix situation, a short-term option. I want the opportunity to come in and establish myself.”
The 32-year-old will make his debut for Surrey next week when one of his former clubs, Somerset, visit the Kia Oval in the second round of County Championship matches, and Smith revealed the pride that he will feel when he leads the players onto the field.
“It is a proud day for me to represent such an important club, a club with such stature. But mostly to represent the players, they are a hugely talented bunch of cricketers and I’m very, very excited,” he said.
“The option came up through [former England captain] Alec Stewart to join Surrey. I gave it some thought and after the tour [South Africa’s tour of England last summer] I felt it was a challenge I was looking forward to – to hopefully create something with the group of players that we can all be proud of.”
Surrey team director Chris Adams believes the club have secured the services of a true great and admits everyone involved with the county is looking forward to teaming up with Smith.
“I think it is fair to say that Graeme Smith is the leading captain of his generation and era and possibly one of the greatest the world has ever seen,” he said.
“We very much look forward to seeing him out there next week doing what he does best – scoring runs and leading the team to what we hope will be success.”