South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has praised Graeme Smith on the eve of his 100th Test as Proteas captain, saying he is an inspiration to every one in the country, including him.
Mbalula said Smith's exceptional display of talent, sense of duty and patriotism places him in a league of his own, adding he e is an individual who gave it his all and who inspired even him to become better.
Smith, who turns 32 on Friday, would become the first person to captain a team in 100 Tests, when he leads South Africa onto the field against Pakistan at the Wanderers, Sport24 reports.
Mbalula said Smith had overcome many low moments in his career but never gave up and for that, he needed to be admired.
Mbalula hailed Smith's spirit of never surrendering when under pressure, adding every sportsman can learn from him.
The Minister added Smith would look back and remember the people who told him he was too young to be captain and that he would never make it but he overcame all his critics and matured into the man he was today.
Mbalula also suggested Smith represented what he called a paragon of human perfection, the paper reported.
The only other Test captain to have come close to Smith's record of 100 Tests at the helm was Allan Border, who captained Australia in 93 Tests at a stretch, which is a record that still stands and was highly unlikely to be broken anytime soon.
Smith's extraordinary achievements included amassing 8 624 runs at an average of 49.28 in his 107 Test matches, the paper concluded. (ANI)