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May 21, 2010
Graeme Smith looks to continue South Africa's winning form from the Twenty20s going into the ODI series against West Indies, which begins on Saturday, and put behind the disappointing World Twenty20 campaign.
"This ODI series is very important for us and, as we showed during the two T20s, we wanted to win and play with our usual intensity," Smith said ahead of the five-match ODI series. "We want to get back on the road to success again, and we have a lot of work to do following a poor campaign in the Twenty20 World Cup, so this is an important tour for us."
South Africa have had a hectic schedule in the recent past, with tough tours of England and India leading up to the IPL, where several of their players featured promimently, leaving little time for the team to come together ahead of the World Twenty20. Smith looks forward to an all-out effort from his side ahead of a well-deserved break. "We have a long break following this tour, and so we want to leave everything out on the field here in the Caribbean," he said.
South Africa are hampered by injuries to Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt, but Smith won't be too concerned, given the bench-strength of his side. David Miller who debuted in the second Twenty20, scored a crucial 33 to set up victory and Smith had good things to say about him.
"It was great for us to see a guy come into the side, and play so well under pressure. It was a breath of fresh air to see him walk to the crease, and hit his sixth ball for six, and play his natural game. It's a credit to him, and he's still got a long way to go," Smith said.
West Indies, in contrast, are at the other end of the confidence spectrum. Their captain Chris Gayle has voiced his concerns over the batsmen's form and mindset following two unsuccessful chases of sub-par totals in the Twenty20 series. The hosts will also be mindful of South Africa's dominance of them in the ODI format - it has been four years since West Indies last defeated South Africa, and the visitors have been on the winning side in each of the last six encounters.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper