SOUTH Africa have awarded 18 cricketers central contracts as they begin planning for life without retired captain Graeme Smith.

But Hampshire’s forthcoming overseas bowler, Kyle Abbott, is not one of them.

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 and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Former Hampshire spinner Imran Tahir is the 18th player.

Abbott played in South Africa’s Test loss this week, his second cap.