"I remember sitting in my room that night after Viru and Sachin were smashing us everywhere" - Graeme Smith reminisces his time in India 

Graeme Smith 2011 World Cup
India and South Africa played a thrilling contest during the 2011 World Cup

Former South Africa captain and SA20 league commissioner Graeme Smith relived some of his fond memories of India, having toured the country on several occasions in the past both as a player and a broadcaster.

After being entrusted as the national side's captain at the raw age of 22, Smith led South Africa to great heights and ended his career as one of the greatest skippers that the sport has ever seen.

His prolific leadership record extended to India as well. He led the Proteas across four tours to India in the 2000s, facing only one series loss.

.@GraemeSmith49 aka '𝐁𝐢𝐟𝐟' is here for the #SA20 event 🇮🇳✈️On a scale of 1⃣-🔟, how excited are you for the @SA20_League? 💬🤞Stay tuned to #JioCinema & #Sports18 & watch the #SA20League LIVE from Jan 10 📺📲#SA20onJioCinema #SA20onSports18

Apart from bilateral tours, Smith led South Africa in multi-nation events held in India like the 2006 Champions Trophy as well as the 2011 ODI World Cup. He was also part of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) side that secured the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

Recalling the unparalleled experience of playing in India in terms of atmosphere and the frenzy induced by ardent fans even off the confines of the ground, Smith said in response to a Sportskeeda query during an event with Viacom18 Sports in Mumbai:

"Playing in front of the stands as a player over the years, some of the highlights, you sit back in your room at night and you can't believe it. I won't forget that 2011 game in the World Cup where our highlight was beating India at Nagpur and they went on to win the tournament."

Smith continued:

"I remember sitting in my room that night after Viru and Sachin were smashing us everywhere and you just could not get yourself to think, and the noise and the intensity that came from the Indian fans was something that we just never forget."

South Africa handed Team India their sole loss in their famous 2011 ODI World Cup winning campaign. The last-over finish in Nagpur saw Robin Peterson break Indian hearts with a handful of balls to spare.

Earlier in the contest, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar laid out a solid platform by stitching up a 142-run opening stand in 17.2 overs before Dale Steyn inflicted a batting collapse with a stunning five-wicket haul.

"I think we know that India is one of the strongest markets in cricket in the world" - Graeme Smith

SA20 sent shockwaves across the cricketing world after announcing the acquisition of their six franchises.

The six teams in SA20, Durban’s Super Giants, Jo’burg Super Kings, MI Cape Town, Paarl Royals, Pretoria Capitals, and Sunrisers Eastern Cape are owned by Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners.

Addressing the influence and grip that Indian cricket has on the sport at the moment. Smith said:

"I think we know that India is one of the strongest markets in cricket in the world. A lot of it relates to the people, the fanfare around the game, the love for cricket, the love for superstars that play the game, and the love for IPL and the Indian cricket is incredible to have experienced as a person."

The inaugural edition of SA20 is slated to take place from January 10 onwards with a contest between MI Cape Town and the Paarl Royals in Newlands.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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