World Cup 2007 March 15, 2007

Ntini likely to miss South Africa's first game

Cricinfo staff

Graeme Smith hinted that Makhaya Ntini would play South Africa's second game against Scotland © Getty Images

Makhaya Ntini, the South African fast bowler, is likely to miss their first match of the World Cup against Netherlands at Basseterre on Friday. He has remained in South Africa to be present for the birth of his second child while the rest of the squad traveled to the West Indies.

Ntini was scheduled to arrive in St Kitts on Wednesday but Graeme Smith, the South African captain, said that he would be given time to acclimatise and get used to the conditions.

"With Makhaya arriving late we'll give him some time to find his feet," Smith told Reuters. "We wanted him to sort out his family business first, we don't want him worrying about his wife and daughter. We wanted his mind fully focused and we feel he will have enough time to prepare before the game against Scotland [on Tuesday]."

Smith said that South Africa would play their strongest XIs against Netherlands and Scotland. "We've played superb cricket for the past year-and-a-half in the one-day format of the game, and we know that if we perform to our ability we have the players, the team and the passion to perform well here. Hopefully in the games against the Netherlands and Scotland the guys can spend some time in the middle. We'll definitely be putting out our first XI for those games."