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September 5, 2006
Micky Arthur, South Africa's coach, has said his team were not taking the three limited-overs matches against Zimbabwe lightly and that match practice was crucial ahead of the Champions Trophy. "I expect Zimbabwe to be very competitive but we are going to focus on our own performance," Arthur said. "One could use these fixtures as practice matches but we would rather ensure that our combinations and match-plans are in place for India."
The South African team will also play against two domestic teams, the Lions and the Titans, according a report on the SuperSport website. "We are going to play these two matches according to international one-day rules," Arthur said. "They are part of the training camp in Pretoria before we leave for India."
South Africa pulled out of the tri-series in Sri Lanka, and had scheduled matches against Zimbabwe in order to give them some time on the field ahead of the Champions Trophy. "One can practise in the nets as much as you want to but it's not the same as out in the middle. I want the lads to train with consequences," said Arthur. "If you play the ball down someone's throat in the nets, you continue batting. If you do so in a match situation, you have to go take a shower. I want the players to train under pressure."
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, are fresh from a 3-2 series win over Bangladesh. Even so they are extremely unlikely to stretch a top-notch team like South Africa.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.