Graeme Smith does his things

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'I can't look down with this fractured spine'

Graeme Smith’s things are hitting the bulk of the runs in a fourth innings chase and winning Test series.

There were no miracles from Australia’s bowlers, because the bowlers who could perform them are gone. South Africa chased down 183 for the loss of one wicket, won the match, won the series and perhaps even won the right to be considered the best side in the world.

Graeme Smith is a hard man. Our hero, Neil Manthorp, describes a captain who takes fitness tests when injured and if he fails, tears up the results and plays anyway. Smith seems to play the majority of his cricket with a broken finger or rib. His team are made in his image.

They play to win and they do what’s necessary. They’ve got stroke players like AB de Villiers and fast bowlers like Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. They’ve also got Paul Harris who everyone says is shite, but who doesn’t give a toss and just gets on with the business of going for hardly any runs and letting the fast bowlers storm in.

They’ve also got Neil McKenzie, whose batting is so hypnotically unspectacular, it doesn’t just sedate the crowd, it impairs their motor skills as well. Graeme Smith wants these players in his side because he wants his side to win and he doesn’t much care how that happens.

The proof is in the texture and succulence of the biltong.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. This team is the best thing to have happened to cricket this year. We so desperately needed heroes who weren’t sneering bullies on the field, and whining prima donnas off it. We needed heroes who didn’t have to endlessly bat off questions about billions (people and dollars) instead of bouncers and off cutters. Finally, we needed heroes who don’t carry any baggage (metaphorically only).

    Smith & Co. take a bow.

  2. Does this signal the end of the era of crass buffoons? The red-necks of cricket –Hayden, Ponting and Symonds — lorded it over their opponents like school bullies. Sledging, cussing, insulting, spitting their way to victories over opponents who were actually superior, but who were too taken aback and appalled to react in kind. The swagger was inherited from the truly greats like Gilly, Warne and McGrath, but the content was missing. Exit the Kumble’s of the world, enter the Harbhajan’s, and Sehwag’s, who swing right back. And now the hard-asses from South Africa. The good news is that these are all great cricketers, and I hope they will never see the need to deliver that first gratuitous sucker-punch the way the Australians did (and somehow the Australians convinced everyone that that was good cricket just as the mavens of Wall Street convinced everyone that their insanity was good finance.) Well, the bubble seems to be bursting, and I have to say it is a pleasure to watch.

  3. If this does mean everyone likes Smith now I’d like to point out I liked him way before everyone else 🙂 Annoying the Aussies in his first game against them – that takes guts.

    Just found your blog btw – very entertaining. Keep it up 🙂

  4. McKenzie’s batting is something of a paradox – it’s like his favourite shot is not offering one. All opening batsmen should play like him.

  5. Some of us have always liked Graeme Smith.

    Though some of us are weirdly fond of Neil McKenzie as well, so our judgement may be impaired.

  6. Harbhajan is a turd alright. Yuvraj is a lesser excrement. But neither is in the same league as Hayden. However, my point is not to defend them — I am merely saying that they were able to respond to turdiness with sturdiness. Once the turdiness cancelled out, skill prevailed. Before Harbhajan et. al., the turdiness prevailed.

    Besides, e normous, you specifically picked out Yuvraj and Harbhajan as turds. They are the only two sikhs in the team. In doing do you have revealed your hatred for sikhs. This bigotry towards sikhs has been obvious to me all along from reading between the lines of your other posts.

    Just kidding.

  7. I too am a Smith fan – have even offered to fight Miss Field for his affections and as for Macca – he played for Durham….

    Neil Manthorp is writing for the Aus Herald newspaper O King at the mo – and very fab is his stuff indeed

  8. I still don’t like Graeme Smith, although he has certainly grown up since those petulent post match speeches in his early days and his homophobic attempts to sledge Michael Vaughan – remember those, folks?

    But I do like the changing world order of test cricket at last, which should make the battle for the top slots interesting indeed for the next few years.

    I expect India to win that battle in the end, though. Just a hunch.

    Now where did I put that bag of jellybeans? My country needs me.

  9. Surely the LMoG must still be Shiv – for earning a million dollars for doing very little in the Stanford match, for making Jerome Taylor hit a century, and for continued services to making the Windies less rubbish than they would otherwise be.

    Failing that, give it to Mendis, or Glen Chapple.

  10. Damn you King! I was hoping that we might find out today, so that whilst I’m laid up in bed with the flu, almost everyone else in the world is out enjoying themselves, I could console myself in the knowledge of who was LMOfG!

  11. You can enjoy yourself pondering. Half the fun’s in the ponderation. In fact, come tomorrow, you’ll realise that rather more than half the fun is in the ponderisationalism.

  12. Brilliant!

    If there’s one thing I love about you King, is that you’re consistenly underwhelming.

    I shall ponder how bad the whole thing is, until then!

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