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28 October 201011:59

SA, Pakistan hone World Cup preparations

Graeme Smith is hoping to build well for ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

SA, Pakistan hone World Cup preparations - Cricket News

South African captain Graeme Smith during a training session.

South Africa and Pakistan gear up for ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with a five-match One-Day International series starting in Abu Dhabi from Friday, as captains Graeme Smith and Shahid Afridi urged their teams to keep focus. South Africa are in top form after thumping a hapless Zimbabwe 3-0 in a One-Day International series at home and beat Pakistan in both the Twenty20 International matches comfortably in a prelude to the ODI series.

Smith, who handed Twenty20 captaincy to Johan Botha last month to prolong his career, said development of the side is key ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starting February.

"It will be the first taste of the sub-continent conditions before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," Smith said of the series here. "South Africa is keen on the development of the side before the ICC Cricket World Cup and are excited to be here."

South Africa, one of the top teams not to have won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, will also play two Tests in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in a series shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to security fears in Pakistan.

Afridi admitted that Pakistan team will miss the three suspended players, but he remained optimistic of his team in the ODI series.

"We batted poorly in both the games, but we are a good one-day side and if we play to our potential we can beat South Africa," said Afridi, whose team also lost both the Twenty20 matches and five-match One-day series in England.

Afridi said his players were focused and will not let the team down. "What happened on the England tour is now past and this is a new series and a new challenge for which we are fully focused," said Afridi.

South Africa still sweat on the fitness of fast bowler Dale Steyn and all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who both missed the Twenty20 series due to injuries.

Teams (from):

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (capt), Imran Farhat, Shahzaib Hasan, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Fawad Alam, Abdul Razzaq, Zulqarnain Haider, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Wahab Riaz, Tanveer Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman

South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Johan Botha, Jean-Paul Duminy, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe