WC 2003 - Smith confirmed as captain, Klusener axed

Published: Monday, March 17, 2003, 1:29 [IST]
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Cape Town: South African cricket made a clean break from the Hansie Cronje era on Sunday when Graeme Smith was appointed as the country's cricket captain."I never met Hansie Cronje," the 22-year-old said of the disgraced former captain who was sacked in 2000 for taking money from a bookmaker."I never played with him or against him. He was a good leader but in the end he tarnished the game. We are starting afresh, there are no issues involved."Smith was appointed captain in place of Shaun Pollock who was sacked on Saturday following South Africa's first round exit from the World Cup. The Westerm Province opener will lead a new-look 14-man squad to two Limited Overs tri-series in Sharjah and Bangladesh next month.Six of the World Cup squad were left out, including Gary Kirsten, 35, who announced his retirement from One-day International cricket although he remained available for Test matches.Also retired is fast bowler Allan Donald. Dropped were all-rounder Lance Klusener, left-arm spin bowler Nicky Boje and pace bowlers Charl Langeveldt and Monde Zondeki.Taking their place in the side were left-arm spinner Paul Adams, batsmen Jacques Rudolph and Neil McKenzie, left-arm pace bowler Charl Willoughby and swing bowler Alan Dawson.Boje and Langeveldt were, however, included in a South Africa A squad which will tour Australia in April. But Klusener was not selected and Zondeki was not considered after he suffered a shoulder injury in a car accident on Saturday."We are looking at the 2007 World Cup. It is a new era," said chairman of selectors Omar Henry. "Smith is a young cricketer who is strong in his mind." Smith said he had spoken to Pollock twice within the previous 24 hours."I had a good chat with him on Saturday night and he gave me his support and said he would back me on the field." He added he had been contacted by all the senior players in the side who had also offered their support."Captaining your country is a responsibility of the highest order and I accept with great passion, excitement and humility," he said. Smith, who has played in eight Tests and 22 One-day Internationals, said he had captained teams throughout his schoolboy career.He has also captained Western Province and South Africa A. "Leadership has always been part of my cricket that I enjoy and thrive on. I hope it will affect me in a good way," he said.South Africa plays against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Sharjah Cup from April 1-10, before travelling to Bangladesh for another tri-series against India and the hosts.South Africa will also play two Test matches in Bangladesh before a scheduled tour of England. South African squad for Sharjah and Bangladesh: Graeme Smith (captain), Paul Adams, Mark Boucher, Alan Dawson, Boeta Dippenaar, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Shaun Pollock, Jacques Rudolph and Charl Willoughby.South Africa A squad for Australia: Gerald Dros (captain), Ahmed Amla, Adam Bacher, Nicky Boje, Quinton Friend, Charl Langeveldt, Albie Morkel, Andre Nel, Justin Ontong, Dewald Pretorius, Ashwell Prince, Roger Telemachus, Thami Tsolekile, Martin van Jaarsveld, Morne van Wyk.Copyright AFP 2001

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