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Captain Dud

Captain Dud

by Ryan Govender / 17.08.2010

The moment approximately 49 million people, us, mentally stormed the opening game at Soccer City willing the ball into the net for a second goal against Mexico – Dale Steyn was standing in the Jamaican sun. Playing Test cricket.

Why do we put on a multi coloured wig and raise happy homemade banners as soon as we see a member of Bafana Bafana or a Springbok rugby player – but yawn when we bump into Morne Morkel and the entire Protea bowling attack at the supermarket? Cricketers are only noticed when Kallis starts dating another ex-Miss South Africa. (Is he working through them alphabetically?).

Sure the odd Pro20 game provides a nice break from Isidingo – but few of us even consider tuning into Tests anymore. The game itself turns most of us sleepy. Add the Proteas, and it’s like slipping a roofie to the masses.

I honestly think it’s because Graeme Smith is a total dud. His autobiography proves the absence of any appealing characteristics. He’s good at heart but he just doesn’t impress me. He would be far happier being a presenter on Top Billing. He lacks genuine charisma.

Now take Hansie Cronje. He ended up fielding on the midwicket boundary in a game I remember from the Nineties. Some naughty schoolboys were smoking on the grass mound nearby. Hansie, then captain of South Africa, turns and says, “Hey! Stop smoking!” He shoots the blue steel look he’d give Richard Snell after a dropped catch. Those smokes were downed faster than one of Mike Tyson’s opponents. Would the MXit abusing, Ritalin eating kids today respond the same way to Graeme Smith? Hell no. They’d laugh and heckle him. And Smith wouldn’t tune them either. He lacks real oomph.

The difference gets at what is lacking in the current generation of Protea cricketers. The difference between Smith and every captain before him. Maybe it’s about family values? Cronje, Pollock, Wessels, Rice and Cook were all married. They had day jobs. These guys were men. Men like Pat Symcox who didn’t even give up smoking. And he played the guitar. Only two current players are married. Most of them have never held down a real job in their lives. They all seem to have been spurted out of some cricketer manufacturing facility. Charisma-wise. Personality-speaking.

They are still the best 11 in the world though. By far. On paper. Our team is full of players in the top 5 rankings. Steyn is the best bowler, Kallis the best all-rounder, and Amla, soon, will be the best batsman. Idol status surely awaits. The only thing standing in the way is a major ICC trophy. And Smith.

He’s a colossal twit. But then so were Steve Waugh, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussein. Good to greatish captains in their way. Ul Haq was fat. Shane Warne was an adulterer. But each had elements, as does Smith, of the greatest captains of all time. Maybe hauteur and oafishness enable success on the field. If so, Smith is supplying both in match winning quantities!

The team itself shatters records almost every time they don the whites. This despite failure at Championship and World Cup level. Which must play heavily on their sheltered minds. But failure on the field is the only way to teach well-paid players what true character is all about. It’s going to take time, it will be frustrating and we will curse loudly but they will get there. Give them time. As far as world titles go, the more they lose now the more they will win in the future. After Smith.

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  1. Afrimoon says:

    Grudgingly I rate this as Kif. Captain Courageous has a good heart, and some balls, (walking to the crease with a broken arm in Oz) – but the Proteas seem uninspired – especially in the ICC tournaments.

    Churchill inspired (what would one say of Hitler?), Mandela inspired, Hansie “Blue Steel” inspired… Smithers?

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  2. yawn says:


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  3. Jason says:

    There are okes who play action cricket down the road here who are far more capable of inspiring some woema into this side. I think he was too young when he got the gig, before proper conditioning – gotta earn those stripes.

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  4. Andy says:

    “woema” is that pronounced vuma?

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  5. Afrimoon says:


    Get some woema in jou poema

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  6. Jason says:

    Woe(ma) is you.

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  7. bass says:


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  8. bass says:

    really bru??????

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  9. Anonymous says:

    cricket is a fuck boring sport, hence the fuck boring captain

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  10. Jason says:

    Well said Anonymous. Although it would be more accurate to say:

    “I don’t understand a fucking thing about cricket, but I’ll make pissy remarks regardless.”

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Jason, I don’t indeed understand the appeal of cricket, but it aint for the lack of trying and watching games and so on…to each his own

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Now, now boys (I assume).
    Is it duller to play the sport or to comment on its dullness?

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  13. Jason says:

    You need to hang out with us at Wanderers – or Newlands in Nov actually. Bring a hat and your drinking pants!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Jason, you got a deal. I’ll be wearing my rape-face and a green bandana. you will know me by the smell.

    but what’s so great about cricket?

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  15. Brian Green says:

    A nice break from Isindingo? Come on, that show’s the shit!

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  16. Girl-supporter says:

    I really do love watching a match, I think its such a fun outing!

    And I do understand your view on smith, but I think there’s always been controversy surrounding him, and that won’t change.
    I mean he played with a broken finger, everyone suddenly loved him that day, the media portrayed him like he was worthy, but the next day it was back to the same neg view.
    Regarding spectator support
    In england they pay about up to 80 pounds for a ticket in a 5 day match and here in s.a for exactly the same game you sometimes get in for free!?
    Its laughable!
    But I did read somewhere that they’re going to change rules on rolling the pitch, to make the game more interesting, maybe thatll work!

    Ha. Why do I know this? I blame my dad.

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  17. Andy says:

    you’ll wear your rape-face?! WTF.

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  18. Moose says:

    Cricket is the game of the gods. fuck you infidels that cannot appreciate this obvious truth.
    As for Bif, well he has balls and plays bloody well when under the gun. As a captain… meh.

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  19. Jason says:

    By the looks of it, Smiff’s already wearing his rape-face.

    I think it comes down to playing (and enjoying) sport at school level – nothing like the crack of leather on willow to make the loins quiver.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    ‘few of us even consider tuning into Tests anymore’ well I guess that makes me one of the few. Test cricket is one of the most absorbing, fascinating and beautiful activities humans have ever invented and remains one of the high-water marks of civilization.

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  21. Biff is a Chop says:

    I used to love the Proteas…until Biff became captain. Now I support Sri Lanka – because I can. I’d sooner be turked by a syphilitic bear than watch a game where this asshat is involved.

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  22. Random says:

    Really, that photo says it all.

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  23. Moose says:

    Indeed sir! Test cricket is the high water mark of stamina, strength, concentration, group and individual prowess.
    All the other forms are merely entertaining.

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  24. Andy says:

    how crazy are those eyes!

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  25. Andy says:

    But Moose would he still play in the team if he wasn’t the big dog?

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  26. Moose says:

    Of course he would. Say what you like about his captaincy, i dont think hes a great captain, but his batting is top notch. Sure a bit of bad form, but surely you can’t forget the many epic innings he’s played- often saving the game in the process. He’d make any team.

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  27. Moose says:

    His stats speak for themselves. This year averaging over 60 in tests. Overall caterer average is only bettered by Kallis, Graham Pollock in the 70s and Nourse in the 40s! He’s played more test matches with a higher average than Viv Richards. Nuff said.

    (he’s still an uninspiring captain though)

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  28. Andy says:

    what i mean is would his ego stand the knock of losing the captaincy? I think he’d go play IPL and county for a while

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  29. Moose says:

    Ah. Probably not. Long standing captains retire. Exception is England who burned through captains for ten years! Some stuck around like Peterson and Strauss, most retired or retired from tests.
    I don’t think he’ll lose captaincy. Who you gonna give it to? Kallis is old. Botha isn’t a great test player. Who?

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  30. mavis says:


    what a race we are…..

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  31. Anonymous says:

    i think Amla could be the answer

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  32. Moose says:

    Amla I a class act. But why pressure him with the captaincy when he is flowering as a batsman? Smith for all his faults, doesn’t have problem handling both.
    Let’s nit forget he’s the only SA captain to have ever won in Oz and Cronje and Pollock didn’t exactly have records that towered over his.
    There is no reason to replace him. He’s the best we’ve got.

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  33. Andy says:

    And yet our team stutters and under-performs routinely. Ask yourself this. If Australia were blessed with as much talent as we have in our cricket team, would they be anything other than the number 1 team, across all forms of the game? They would totally dominate world cricket. Which is what we should be doing.

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  34. Nigel Tharg says:

    I just think he should wash and shave more. He’s a KES boy but he looks more like he could have crawled out of Jeppe or (yikes) Parktown!

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  35. Frederick says:

    I agree he is a good batsman! He is not a good captain and has no personality when he speaks to the press! I have stopped watching cricket like I use to before he became captain! Still watch a little of one day and 20/20 but as soon as they show him chewing the gum I turn of the TV

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  36. Nigel Tharg says:

    I, too, am deeply moved by his perennially masticating jaws. Perhaps he does it to ensure that his frontal lobes bump into each other from time to time.

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  37. Andrew Jamieson says:

    Is this journalism, or even meant to be interesting? jesus…

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  38. David Hunter says:

    Hey man the Proteas are KAK! Take 11 boemelaars off the street, put them in a cricket kit, tell the proteas its the semi final of the world cup, and watch the boemelaars beat them. The proteas have no BMT.

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  39. toked says:

    yes, but where would we be without him?


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  40. Eugene says:

    I think Ryan Govender is a brainless poes

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  41. Anonymous says:

    i am proud u


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