Friday, February 11, 2011

Smith targets CWC title before bowing out as SA ODI captain.

Graeme Smith hopes to bow out as South Africa's oneday captain by winning the World Cup for the first time. The Proteas have never won the tournament and have gained a reputation for choking at the crucial moment, but Smith said his team is confident ahead of the start of the Feb 19-April 2 event in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"It will be an exciting and tense tournament and we need to peak at the right time if we have to go all the way," Smith said Thursday. "We have come here with lot of confidence and good preparation and hope to play to potential. The youngsters in the team are excited about the opportunity to play in such a big event. And, as captain I would love to win the cup and leave it at that."

Smith, who became South Africa captain at the age of 22, will give up the one-day captaincy after the tournament. "I am proud of the achievements and hopefully we can win the trophy here," he said. "As captain it is important to trust the guys and hope they play well."

The 2011 World Cup is also likely to be Jacques Kallis' last chance to win the tournament, but the 35-year-old allrounder is still recovering from a right side injury. "We will manage him as per the needs," Smith said. "He's (Kallis) is a huge asset if he's fit."

South Africa had a strenuous net session on Thursday ahead of a warmup game against Zimbabwe on Feb 12 at the M A Chidambaram stadium. The Proteas then play Australia on Feb 15 before beginning its World Cup campaign against West Indies in New Delhi on Feb. 24.

Smith has three specialist spinners in a squad selected with the sub-continent conditions in mind. "I guess we have all the bases covered on the bowling front," he said. "India is India. To play a World Cup in the most passionate area is a dream come true for any cricketer and each player would give his best."

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