sport

SA issue 18 new contracts

South Africa have begun planning for life without captain Graeme Smith after announcing that 18 players have been awarded central contracts.

Smith, who captained the Proteas in 110 Test matches, played his 117th and final Test in the 245-run defeat to Australia which ended on Wednesday.

His replacement as captain in the longest format has yet to be announced with one-day skipper AB de Villers the favourite to succeed him, and De Villiers is one of seven players to be handed a two-year central contract.

Senior players Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn have also been handed two-year terms with 10 other players handed one-year deals.

Amongst those is Dean Elgar, who takes Smith's place in the pool of centrally contracted players, and he is joined by Quinton de Kock, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Imran Tahir and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

"Dean is the obvious replacement and must be excited by the opportunity to emulate the greatness achieved by his recently retired national captain," said Cricket South Africa Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.

"He has all the attributes and qualifies as the next player eligible to be awarded a contract in terms of the new methodology we developed together with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA)."

"As mentioned before, the Board has also agreed to award multi-year contracts to our top players to secure and recognise their value."

Jacques Kallis, who has retired from the Test arena but continues to play in limited-overs games, has been awarded a 'special' one-year contract.