x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Nets blow for Smith

The South Africa cricket squad were due to have a nets session at Southgate but officials at the ground had no record of their arrangements.

South Africa were involved in a mix-up over training facilities on Sunday. They were due to have a net session at Southgate but arrived at the ground to discover officials had no record of their arrangements. They had to return to Lord's and train there instead, but the captain Graeme Smith praised his squad's professional approach in their reaction to the setback. "Something that we've been really good about is responsibility and professionalism during this period and even today, when we had not so great training facilities, the guys have still applied themselves and have been professional," said Smith.

"It was a bit of an interesting first day and there are a few things to address in the technical briefing later." Smith backed South Africa's challenge, saying the current crop of players were "the strongest" he had worked with. The Proteas failed to go beyond the second stage in the inaugural staging on their home soil in 2007. "We have an exciting squad with pace, swing and spin in the bowling department and plenty of depth to our batting," Smith said. "In terms of talent, flair and confidence, this is the strongest team that I have captained.

"We are very well balanced both in terms of youth and experience." * PA