Perth Scorchers head coach Justin Langer has confirmed that former South Africa captain Graeme Smith will not be joining the Big Bash League (BBL) defending champions for this year's edition of the tournament.
The Scorchers had been looking to sign Smith following his retirement from international cricket in March. Smith's last series as captain ended in disappointment as his side were beaten 2-1 by Australia in a highly intense series. However, to make things worse, the Proteas were also dethroned as the top Test team in the world.
Despite the unfortunate end to his international career, Smith will still be remembered for becoming South Africa's youngest captain at the age of 22 and leading them through some tough times, before they reached the summit of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test team rankings after beating England 2-0 in August 2012.
Langer can't snare Smith
The Scorchers still have three spots to fill on their roster, one of them being an international player. With Smith having turned down their offer, they will now have to look for someone else.
"We were hoping to get Graeme Smith but unfortunately he's gone down another career path and decided not to keep playing," Langer told the Big Bash League's official website. "We're in the process of looking for another overseas player.
"He would've been a fantastic signing with his leadership and ability to, if possible, replace Simon Katich."
Huge void to fill for the Scorchers
Katich's retirement, along with Craig Simmons' decision to sign with the Adelaide Strikers, has left a big gaping hole in Perth's top order. Langer was hoping Michael Klinger would be able to fill one of the those spots, but that may not be possible now after he broke his arm while representing Gloucestershire in England's County season.
It was also recently announced that Klinger will undergo surgery and will be in a race against time to become fully fit prior to the start of Australia's domestic season.
Langer's other option of Shaun Marsh has also turned out to be a major flop since Marsh recently suffered a rare elbow injury, which is more commonly seen in baseball. As a result, Marsh will be in a bionic-style brace for the next month or so before his rehabilitation begins.
"We’re looking at different options now, whether we get a middle-order player, a finisher with the bat or a top-order player," Langer said. "A lot of that will come from how we go in the Champions League and what we’re looking for to complete our squad."