The news just keeps getting worse for South African cricket supporters, with the Proteas confirming that captain Graeme Smith will be out of action until December with a tennis elbow problem that has plagued him for a while.
With South Africa 2-0 down in the 5 match ODI series against England, and following the humiliation of the 10 wicket loss on Tuesday, where they were bundled out for just 83, South Africa are itching for some good fortune, starting with the must win 3rd ODI on Friday.
Smiths tennis elbow problem first flared up during the IPL when he was playing for the Rajasthan Royals. He sustained a hamstring injury at the back end of the tournament which meant he was out of cricket for 5 weeks, until the Test Series in England. That break allowed time for both problems to be rested. Smith has been on pain killers for the duration of the tour, which have allowed him to play in all the matches thus far. Ironically for Smith and South Africa, it was the innings of 154 not out in the 3rd Test, which clinched the Series for South Africa, that did the harm to the elbow this time.
South Africa had hoped that they would have taken an early lead and perhaps wrapped up the ODI series by tomorrow, and then allowed Smith to have the final two matches off. As it happens they have gone 2-0 down and need to win the last 3 matches to win the series. The decision has been made to send Smith home and allow him to rehabilitate the elbow and hope he is ready by December for the tour of Australia, where he will be much needed.
Jacques Kallis steps in to captain the side in Smiths absence. Interestingly Kallis stepped down as vice captain after being left out of the T20 World Cup squad, follow outside interference in squad selection by Norman Arendse. Kallis has stated that it is an honour to captain his country and that his stepping down was a protest about the interference, and that is now behind him.
The captains job is never an easy one, but Kallis steps in with his side in real need of motivation after two very poor performances, and with his own batting for very poor. England have looked revitalised under a new captain, maybe the temporary change will do South Africa good. They need 3 wins in 3 games, starting tomorrow.
Pic from cricinfo.com