In the recent wake of Jacques Kallis' retirement from cricket, it appears Graeme Smith has decided to follow suit.

The South African skipper will bow out of the international game after the conclusion of the third test match against Australia.

"This has been the most difficult decision I have ever made. It's a decision I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April. I have a young family to consider," he said.

"I thank and honour the players who I have played with and those who have supported me and helped me to be the person and captain I am today.

"I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I bid my career a fond yet sad farewell."

The Proteas captain has been a major part of South African cricket for 11 years, scoring 27 test centuries in the process. The news will be a hammer blow for the country, especially after losing another South African great two months ago in the shape of Kallis.

Smith has been an uncompromising character, as well as a ruthless captain and opening batsmen. He wasn't always the crowd favourite, nor was he regarded as the friendliest character by many of his opposition. But he was a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the field.

The devastating left handed batsmen scored 9,257 test runs at an average of 48.72. He is placed second in South Africa's all time list of test run scorers, second only to Kallis.

Smith scored these runs as well as having another huge responsibility; being captain. He was named captain for his country at the age of just 22, where he was the fourth youngest test captain of all time. He also now holds the record for the most tests as captain, achieving a mammoth total of 109. A full 16 ahead of his nearest counterpart Allan Border and a record that is likely never to get broken.

This shows how Smith was not just good, but one of the greatest players of his generation. Smith and Kallis will go down as cricket legends in history, and the new era of South African cricket will have to try and achieve success without these cricketing giants at their disposal.

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