“He was my go-to bowler when the Proteas needed a major breakthrough. What made him so special was that he always produced the goods when it really counted," said the former South African skipper.

Smith captained South Africa in record 108 Test matches and Steyn played a number of Tests under his leadership.

Steyn is also the top wicket-taker for South Africa in Test matches.

He was a master both of conventional and reverse swing and, with his natural athleticism, he generated extreme pace as well.

"His role was critical in our Test series wins in England and Australia in 2008 and again in 2012 that enabled us to become the no. 1 ranked team in the world.

"We all have our favourite memories of him but two that stand out for me were his all-round performance at Melbourne in 2008 when he took 10 wickets in the match and scored 78 out of an 180-run partnership for the ninth wicket with JP Duminy that effectively clinched our first ever Test series victory in Australia and then his 10 wickets in the Test against India in 2010 in Nagpur that made him one of the few foreign fast bowlers to do this in a Test in India," added Smith.

“He was a fierce competitor but one who always remained within the confines of the spirit of the game. Above all, he was a top guy.”

Smith concluded: "I thank him not only for what he has done for South African cricket but for the global game and wish him happiness and success in his future endeavours."

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