Biff: Team focused on CWC

2011-01-20 15:18
Graeme Smith (Gallo)
Port Elizabeth - Proteas' captain Graeme Smith says South Africa's cricketers will concentrate on their preparations for the Cricket World Cup and not become embroiled in the controversy over Cricket SA's (CSA) president.

"We’ve successfully stayed away from that sort of stuff," Smith said in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka has reportedly been asked to resign. He has received a letter from the CSA board inviting him to a meeting to discuss his position.

"It’s our job to really focus on the cricket and not get caught up in that," said Smith.

"The players themselves have enough to worry about with the pressures and responsibility of going to a world cup and that’s our primary focus at the moment," he said.

"We’ve got to trust that there are people above us who can handle that and do their jobs properly.

"Like they trust us to play cricket and to be successful, we’ve got to trust them.

"We’re hoping now that the world cup squad is out, the tension has lifted off the players and they can play their own game tomorrow [Friday]. They can play with a bit more freedom."

The Proteas play their fourth One Day International against India at St George's Park, in Port Elizabeth, on Friday.

Albie Morkel has been released from the squad to return to duty with his Titans franchise, as he missed the cut on Wednesday to travel with the team to the World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from February 19.

"We originally brought him into the squad to provide additional cover in the batting all-rounder position, but we have now decided that it is better for him to have regular match practice with the Titans, said coach Corrie van Zyl,

"He remains a standby player for the World Cup squad in the event of injury."

Knights' captain Morne van Wyk, who is part of the 15-man squad, has been drafted in for the remaining ODIs and has joined the team in Port Elizabeth.

"Morne obviously gives up options. He’s going to the world cup as the second keeper and there are options with that. We’ll look at things tomorrow and see if we can change things up a bit and give one or two opportunities to one or two guys," said Smith.

Constant drizzle on Thursday made life difficult for St George’s groundsman Adrian Carter, who said it had been difficult preparing the wicket in the wet conditions while having to keep putting the covers back on.

"It’s a good, flat batting wicket and the team batting first will need to score 260 to 280 runs on this ground to be competitive," he said.

"I'm just praying it doesn’t rain on Friday."

India lead the five-match series 2-1.

Read more on:    csa  |  graeme smith  |  mtutuzeli nyoka  |  proteas

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