Biff and destiny

Some people say it is possible to make things happen through sheer weight of determination, others say it is destiny. In Graeme Smith’s case it is clearly a bit of both.

“I’m not daunted by my place in history, whatever it turns out to be. Records like youngest captain and highest score come up in pub quizzes, but I’d prefer to be judged on my record as a captain when I’m finished,” Smith says.

‘Biff’ has wanted to be national captain since he was 13 years old. Through a combination of sheer will power and a belief in his destiny, he got the job just a couple of months after turning 22.

Amazing. But there are other examples of how his determination has brought instant results. When Omar Henry informed Graeme that he had been omitted from the World Cup squad, the then 21-year-old narrowed his eyes and stared straight into the eyes of the national selector. “That’s a mistake,” Smith said in a cold voice, “and I’m going to show you why.”

A couple of days later, in his next innings, Smith scored 151 against Pakistan and had just three words for Henry: “I told you.”

“It was eery, awesome,” recalled Henry at Edgbaston after Smith’s 277. “He said he was going to prove a point and he did. Some people are just like that, they make things happen. He’s just very rare and special.”

There were 20 good reasons for Smith to do something special during the first Test, but chief amongst them was his desire to pay tribute to Jacques Kallis, something he felt passionately strong about. And yet again, he made something happen.

Maybe it’s a one in a million people, maybe even less. But it looks like Graeme Smith is a man of destiny. But he also wears a baseball cap back-to-front when he’s off duty, goes to movies and bars with mates who don’t know a thing about cricket and was watched by his mum and dad rather than a wife or girlfriend at Edgbaston.

When he’s not controlling the emotions of a sporting nation and inspiring us all to dreams of greater achievement, he’s just a kid with a life to live and fun to be had. For his sake and ours, let’s remember that.


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