Shaun Pollock, who preceded Smith, lauded the 33-year-old for his tenacity in captaining South Africa for over a decade. (Agencies)
Smith took over the reins aged just 22 when Cricket South Africa fired Pollock after he refused to resign in the wake of the Proteas' first round defeat at the 2003 World Cup.
"Captaining South Africa for a long time is mentally tough," Pollock told 'Business Day' about the times when Smith was the brunt of public anger, including when he opted to go to Ireland rather than coming back with the team following their failure at the 2011 World Cup.
"It's our team when we're winning and Graeme's team when we're losing," Pollock said.
Smith had announced he would retire from international cricket after the third Test against Australia at Newlands, which the visitors eventually won by 245 runs yesterday.
Pollock said Smith was successful despite an unconventional style of batting.
"I've got two daughters' but if I had a boy, I would not want him to bat like Graeme Smith," Pollock said.
"Technically, he wasn't the best, but from a tenacity and character point of view his record sums him up. You don't always have to look pretty to be effective, and he was very effective."
Former opening batsman Jimmy Cook recalled how he had worked with then teenager Smith and gave up trying to change his technique.
Shaun Pollock, who preceded Smith, lauded the 33-year-old for his tenacity in captaining South Africa for over a decade.