July 27, 2003

Klusener offers olive branch to Smith

Wisden CricInfo staff

Despite threatening to sue the United Cricket Board of South Africa for unfair dismissal, Lance Klusener has attempted to build bridges with South Africa's captain Graeme Smith, by offering his services if Jacques Kallis chooses not to rejoin the current tour of England.

Klusener, 31, was dropped from South Africa's squad after the World Cup, and was branded "disruptive" by Smith in a breakfast interview. His threat of legal action is based on his loss of earnings, as Klusener has claimed he turned down offers of work with English counties after being assured he would be included in the Test squad.

But now, with South Africa waiting for Kallis to decide whether he wants to continue playing so soon after the death of his father, Klusener has offered himself up as a potential replacement. "I would like the captain to know that if he has a problem on this tour I am available to step into the breach if wanted," Klusener told the Mail on Sunday, "with my boots already packed.

"I care passionately about South African cricket and the team," added Klusener, a veteran of 48 Tests and 154 one-day internationals. "I will admit that I am reserved and unwilling to stand up and address a room full of people. There is no dark side to my character I need to hide."

"I'd like nothing better than to be given the chance to share a beer with Graeme [Smith] and discuss the future. What is so sad is that he has made statements about me without even knowing me properly. But I bear no grudges and I would like to explain to him how I think we could still work together for the team's benefit."

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