Proteas fancies chances in Champions Trophy

Published: Saturday, October 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:South African captain Graeme Smith said that his team was one of the favourites to lift the Champions Trophy and that his players were raring to go.

"We are ranked second in the world and there is no shying away from the fact that we are one of the top teams," Smith told reporters here on Friday.

"We have generally done well in India and our team is confident of a good show. But we cannot take other teams for granted," said Smith, who has just recovered from an ankle injury.

"Australia are the top side no doubt, but in one-day cricket a lot depends on how a team plays on a particular day," said Smith, whose side takes on New Zealand in their first match in Mumbai on October 16.

Smith, who scored 90 at Johannesburg in his team's world-record chase of 438-9 for a series win against Australia earlier this year, said his team had prepared well for the tournament.

"We had a 10-day training camp and all our players know their roles well," said Smith, who took over as captain from Shaun Pollock after the last World Cup in South Africa three years ago.

"The break that I had because of an injury seems to have done me good and I am fresh as ever," added the 25-year-old who has scored 3,389 runs in 91 one-dayers.

Coach Micky Arthur welcomed Smith's return to the side.

"It is fantastic to have Smith back in the side," said Arthur. "We have marked this tournament as a big one and intend to keep the momentum going in the days to follow," he said.

Arthur said the team was a settled one and capable of entertaining fans.

"We have tried out various combinations in the past few years and will only try to rotate the players on the odd occasion," said Arthur.

"What we can promise is an exciting brand of cricket with our fielding very much an asset and capable of leading us to success," he said.

A Jacques Kallis-led South Africa thrashed Zimbabwe 3-0 in a one-day series last month after pulling out of a tri-series in Colombo over security fears.


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