Smuts reflects on century milestone

Jon Jon Smuts, captain of the Warriors, has won his 100th first class cap. Smuts, who has also represented the Proteas, has his sights set on winning the 4-Day cup.
POWER: Jon Jon Smuts, captain of the Warriors, has won his 100th first class cap. Smuts, who has also represented the Proteas, has his sights set on winning the 4-Day cup.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/ MICHAEL SHEEHAN

Warriors captain Jon Jon Smuts reached a special milestone this week when he took to the field on Monday in his 100th first class match, when his team took on the Lions in their CSA 4-Day Series match.

He later celebrated the occasion with a win as his side wrapped up the game in three days on Wednesday afternoon, although in nail biting fashion as it came by just three wickets.

After the match, Smuts admitted that it was a special moment and that he had thoroughly enjoyed the last few years playing for the team.

“Obviously it is a bit of an achievement. It is awesome to be playing cricket and to get to a hundred first class games, and hopefully there will be a few more still to come,” said Smuts.

“I think over the last few years for us at the Warriors, to really be in the mix for the trophy at the end of the season has been something extremely exciting for us. I didn’t really have too much of that at the start of my career.

“So for us to really be in the title race with two/three weeks left has really been exciting, and it’s been exciting cricket in those last few weeks as well. So that’s been really awesome and great to be a part of, and hopefully this season we will be there again, and who knows what can happen then.”

It has been an impressive career so far for Smuts, with the batting all-rounder having scored just over 13,000 runs across the three different formats, with 15 centuries and 76 half centuries to his name, while with the ball he has picked up 304 wickets in total.

“I would have liked to score a lot more runs, as any batsman would say, but I think it is the way I have played that I have been happy with. I have always looked to take the game forward through positive cricket, and it’s something I still try to do today,” said Smuts.

“Another big thing for me that I have really enjoyed doing over the last few years is my bowling. It has really come on in red ball cricket. It has really been exciting, and hopefully I can carry on doing it for the next couple of years.”

Smuts has also relished the burden that came with captaining the side over the past few years, since taking over the role from Simon Harmer.

However, he counts among his proudest moments representing the Proteas, which he has done eight times at T20 level over a year between January 2017 and 2018.

“I have really enjoyed being captain of this team. It’s always nice as a captain. You are always involved in the game, so it is really exciting, but I think the really exciting thing has also been able to lead such an awesome bunch of guys,” said Smuts.

“I think that is the pinnacle of anyone’s career, playing for their country. I have been extremely lucky to have played even those handful of games, so I am very blessed to have done that, and who knows what the future holds in terms of if I get a few more.

“At the end of the day, if I don’t manage to get another game for the Proteas I am still very lucky to have represented my country and very fortunate.”

Looking on to the rest of the current campaign, Smuts is eager to see his side lift the 4-Day trophy, which is something they have not managed to do before.

“First prize would be for us to win a trophy this season. We have come so close in 4-Day cricket the last two years,” said Smuts.

“Over the last five or six years we have been a hell of a white ball cricket team, but if we could just get that four day trophy it would mean something so special to this franchise and to this team.”

 rossr@dispatch.co.za


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