South Africa player contracts February 7, 2006

Selectors retain faith in Smith

Cricinfo staff

Nicky Boje misses out in the list of contracted players © Getty Images

Graeme Smith, despite a poor run of form in Australia, has been retained as captain. Cricket South Africa today announced its list of 14 national contracted players for 2006-07.

Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's CEO, said, "Cricket South Africa has the fullest confidence in Graeme Smith as captain of the Proteas. Everyone knows that he is going through a tough batting period. But this has happened to the best batsmen, including Adam Gilchrist recently. It is only a matter of time before Graeme is back to his best. We have seen that Graeme has outstanding leadership qualities, and we believe he has the talent and determination to come out of this batting slump. Cricket South Africa had no hesitation in confirming our confidence in him as captain and opening batsman."

Nicky Boje is the only omission from the list of contracted players of the previous season. Haroon Lorgat, convenor of the national selection panel, said, "We are sticking to our plans of developing a high-performing and consistent squad of national contracted players. Nicky has been omitted, and no other spinner has been contracted as we would like to see what develops in this area over the next few months. In any event, at this point Nicky is not available for the ICC Champions Trophy in India later this year. The scarcity of top class spinners remains a concern, and our high-performance programme has this as one of its main priorities. Johan Botha shows a lot of promise, but he has yet to establish himself at international level."

Lorgat also stressed that the selection of players for the World Cup in 2007 will be based purely on merit and that being contracted doesn't guarantee an automatic selection in the squad.

Contracted players Graeme Smith (capt), Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Boeta Dippenaar, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Rudolph.