Graeme Smith highlights huge ambitions for Betway SA20

Former South African cricket legend Graeme Smith, also Betway’s newly appointed global cricket ambassador, has dubbed Dean Elgar’s departure from the Proteas as a ‘big loss.’ In his maiden Betway column, Graeme also expressed concerns about Australia’s new opener, Steve Smith, as Cricket Australia pins hopes on him to fill the void left by David Warner.

Dean Elgar, a stalwart known for his technical prowess, concluded his illustrious career with a fairytale finish against India last month. Debuting against Australia 12 years ago, Elgar evolved into a gritty left-handed batter, accumulating 5347 runs at an average of 37.92 and a strike rate of 47.78, boasting 14 centuries and 23 half-centuries.

During his captaincy from May 2021 to January this year, Elgar led South Africa to a commendable third place in the World Test Championship and a significant 2-1 home series win against India. Graeme Smith lauded Elgar, stating, “he’s always played with his heart on his sleeve and his dedication has never wavered.”

He further wrote, “He was part of our team that was hugely successful and then helped lead the rebuild through a couple of retirements. He epitomises a lot of what South African cricket stands for. Our batting in Test cricket is very hit-and-miss at the moment. If you look across the averages, the consistency hasn’t been there. He’s going to be a very big loss at the top of the order for the Proteas.”

In contrast, David Warner, another accomplished Test opener, garnered praise for his aggressive approach, amassing 8786 runs at a strike rate of 70.20 and an average of 44.60. Graeme recalling his days against David, wrote, “He comes with an immense amount of experience, travelling around the world and knowing what it requires to be successful playing in other people’s backyards, which is not easy.”

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He further praised David as ‘the guy that took the game on,’ writing, “He was the guy that took the game on and was able to apply pressure onto opposition attacks from the word go. He took a lot of the limelight and, when you lose a player like that, the pressure shifts to other people. How that impacts the team is always interesting to watch.”

Australia’s premier Test batter, Steve Smith, has amassed 9,514 runs across 105 Tests and is officially designated as David Warner’s replacement, overlooking Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft. Batting at number 3, Smith averages his best of 67.07, accumulating 1,744 runs. Although he expressed enthusiasm and readiness to open in Tests, Graeme, a seasoned veteran with 117 Tests under his belt, believes that opening the batting may ‘potentially expose him to too much.’

Quoting Graeme from his Betway column, “He’s an incredible player, so you would expect that he’d be able to adapt, but I worry that the new ball will potentially expose him to too much.

Usman Khawaja has had an incredible year, so with him still around there’s enough experience to blood another opener and give him an opportunity to build another partnership with someone new, without losing Smith’s runs in the middle order.”

Original Source: Betway

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