By Elliot Mathye
SOUTH AFRICAN cricket team, the Proteas, will not let anything distract them at this very important moment.
This brave statement was made by the team captain, Graeme Smith ahead of their all important clash against their arch-rivals, Pakistan in the Twenty20 series.
Speaking in Sandton, North of Johannesburg before boarding the team bus to the airport, Smith said they will ignore the corruption claims that have dogged them since their appearance against England in August this year.
Smith was speaking in reference to the three Pakistani players who were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after being accused of bribery after they accepted money to bowl no-balls against England during the Lord’s Test early this year.
“As players, our duty is obviously to focus on what we are here for, and in this case is to play, hence it is important for us that we play the sport in the right spirit and trust the ICC and the anti-corruption unit to do their jobs,”.
Furthermore, added Smith: “The ICC is the main stakeholders of the game so it’s important they make the right decisions and lead the game forward. The series which starts on October 26 and consists of two Twenty20s and five ODIs is scheduled for Abu Dhabi.
Despite the series considered a home series for Pakistan, it is being played at a neutral venue due to security concerns after armed-men attacked the Sri Lankan team’s convoy in Lahore last year killing six police officials and a driver and wounding several team members. The Proteas will go into the series filled with confidence after a clean brush against Zimbabwe, in which they won both Twenty20s and three ODIs in a crucial fashion.
Pakistan has a poor record in one-day cricket against South Africa, having won only six of 23 matches in the last 10 years, but they have won two of the three Twenty20 games.
The Proteas’s squad of 15 will include Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel, who have suffered recent injuries but are slowly regaining their fitness. They are not expected to participate in the first game, but their fitness will be continuously assessed and it is hoped they will play an active part as the tour progresses.
Johan Botha will captain the Twenty20 side and Smith will captain the ODI team while AB de Villers will keep wicket.
The rest of the squad includes : Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Colin Ingram, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Johan Botha, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Juan Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe. – Sapa