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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 13:16 GMT
Smith handed SA captaincy
Graeme Smith has been named as South Africa's youngest ever captain after the sacking of Shaun Pollock.

Graeme Smith
Captaining your country is a responsibility of the highest order
Graeme Smith
Opening batsman Smith is aged just 22 years and 43 days, replacing Murray Bisset, who was only two months short of his 23rd birthday when he led South Africa in a Test match against England in 1899.

"We are looking at the 2007 World Cup - it is a new era," said chairman of selectors Omar Henry.

Smith will lead a new-look side on tours to Sharjah and Bangladesh next month with six players from the World Cup squad left out.

Allan Donald and Gary Kirsten have retired from one-day cricket, Lance Klusener has been dropped, Nicky Boje and Charl Langeveldt demoted to the South Africa A team, and Monde Zondeki was not considered after injuring his shoulder in a car accident.

Into their places come Neil McKenzie, Paul Adams, Alan Dawson, Jacques Rudolph and Charl Willoughby.
G Smith (capt), P Adams,
M Boucher, A Dawson,
B Dippenaar, H Gibbs, A Hall,
J Kallis, N McKenzie, M Ntini,
R Peterson, S Pollock, J Rudolph,
C Willoughby

Smith has leapt up the pecking order since impressing on his debut against a rampant Australian side that thrashed South Africa last year. winter.

His appointment marks a break with the Hansie Cronje era.

Cronje led the side with distinction before being sacked in April 2000 after admitting taking money from bookmakers. He was banned for life and later died in a plane crash.

"I never met Hansie Cronje. I never played with him or against him. He was a good leader, but in the end he tarnished the game.

"We are starting afresh. There are no issues involved," Smith commented.

Shaun Pollock
Pollock's three-year reign ended in disappointment

"Captaining your country is a responsibility of the highest order and I accept with great passion, excitement and humility."

Since taking on Australia, Smith has established himself as a first-choice Test opener for South Africa, with scores of 200 against Bangladesh and 151 against Pakistan.

He celebrated his 22nd birthday captaining a Western Province side against South Africa in a World Cup warm-up match.

And he proved the selectors wrong to leave him out of the original World Cup squad with a series of impressive performances when he replaced the injured Jonty Rhodes.

"Leadership has always been part of my cricket that I enjoy and thrive on," Smith added.

His CV may be short on quantity with just eight Test matches and 22 one-day internationals, but he will have the support of coach Eric Simons, who formerly worked with him for Western Province.

South Africa selectors chairman Omar Henry
"We need to start afresh"

Former SA captain Clive Rice
"They are making a huge mistake"

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