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05 June 2023

South Africa, India fine-tune Cup preparations

By Reuters

South Africa and India lock horns in a five-match one-day series starting on Wednesday which should help finalise their World Cup squads.

Captains Graeme Smith and Mahendra Singh Dhoni plan to use the series to assess the fringe players who may ne needed during the tournament in Asia which starts next month.

"World Cup squad selection is just around the corner," Smith told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Every player would love to go to a World Cup so there hs that added pressure on individuals to perform. From my perspective it is about finding the right combinations within the squad that are going to work," he added.

Dhoni said he wanted young players to get their chance.

"We want some of our younger players to play in this series so that we can see how best to utilise them," he said. "We will have the World Cup in mind when making our selections but in general we will pick our best available side."

India's hopes of following up their 1-1 test series draw against the Proteas have been hit by injuries with opening batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir forced out of the squad.

India suffered a further blow when seamer Praveen Kumar was been forced to return home with an elbow injury and his place in the squad has been taken by Ishant Sharma.

Co-hosts India has been installed as World Cup favourites and Dhoni said it was vital that senior players such as Gambhir, Sehwag and Kumar were given the chance to recover.

"It would have been good to feature the main XI during the series against South Africa but we don't want to risk aggravating injuries," he said.

"A number of our players are carrying niggles and they are too important to risk before a World Cup."

Smith said the conditions in South Africa would be markedly different to the spin-friendly conditions teams are likely to face during the World Cup.

"As much as we would love to have the confidence of performing here and being successful, it is not necessarily going to define how well we are going to do in the World Cup," Smith said.

"Our mindset will be crucial in terms of playing good cricket, getting the confidence up and players getting good performances under their belt," he added.


South Africa - Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Francois du Plessis, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

India - Ravichandran Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar Murali Vijay.